THE Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), a youth advocacy group representing more than 800 young people in the Caribbean and Latin America, has tabled its expectations of the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), now in its second week in Paris.
Nickson Barry, who heads the Grenada chapter and is the Deputy Chair of CYEN’s outlined the regional group’s position during an OECS-organised side event held in the Caribbean Pavilion at the Paris climate summit:”We are calling on our governments to create an enabling structure of governance that will allow young people and youth organisations to be involved and engaged in climate dialogues and action at the national level through government agencies; the regional level through our regional mechanisms, such as, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs); and the international level through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other related processes.
From the COP we want a legally binging agreement. We are tired with the going around and the discussions. Yes, it is important but we want to see some real action coming out from these meetings. And to do that, we are going to hold our leaders definitely accountable because we are the ones who will be directly affected by climate change. 1.5, the Caribbean youth are definitely behind this 100 percent I must say; 1.5 or below.”
CYEN defines young people as anyone within the 15-29 age group and views youth as an important and critical development resource. Barry told his peers there are many ways young people can get involved in the climate change fight.
CYEN is encouraging the region’s youth to take responsibility for their surroundings, engage in recycling, conserve energy and water, avoid unnecessary clearing of land, help with data collection and research, become climate advocates, monitor development to ensure they comply with local laws, be trained and updated on policy and other climate programming and join the discussion on climate change.