Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, adding her signature to the Santo Domingo Caribbean Youth Declaration on Climate Change, during a recent press conference at her Ministry.

Young people in Barbados, who have made an effort to preserve the natural environment, will be awarded for their efforts this Friday, October 23, at United Nations House, by the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN).

The inaugural awards ceremony will be held under the patronage of Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, on Caribbean Climate Change Day of Action. The day was created to generate awareness of the responsibility of high levels of greenhouse gases for accelerated climate change.

While speaking at her Constitution Road office last Friday, the Youth Minister commended the members of CYEN and pledged her Ministry’s support to its work. She also expressed commitment to other youth agencies interested in developing projects and programmes that would educate persons, particularly young people, about the environment and that would be impactful.

"Environmental issues, especially climate change, are going to impact us, especially as small island developing states.?? So, it is important that we understand that and that we not wait for the rest of the world to do something for us.??

It is good to see young people are proactive and have decided that this is an issue that is affecting them and will affect their future.?? It’s about youth taking a stand for a positive cause," Minister Byer Suckoo underlined.

In her remarks, Renee Boyce-Drakes, Regional Chairperson of CYEN, explained that the awards will be held on the day of action to recognise young people’s "green" activities. "Whether it is recycling, advocacy, [or] e-waste management, we are recognising young people because we know that the sustainability of the environment is important and the earlier you learn to appreciate what you have to take care of, the longer it will last," the young activist maintained.??

The Youth Minister outlined three key issues in which young people should "take up the mantle" of advocacy. "Those issues are: climate change, because it impacts not just [on] the world, but specifically the small island developing states; HIV and AIDS, because we have seen how it can decimate a population and an economy at the same time; and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, because it is the sphere in which many of our young people will operate and they need to understand what it means for them and how they can make it work to their benefit," she stressed.

Dr. Byer Suckoo and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports, Irvine Best, also added their signatures to the Santo Domingo Caribbean Youth Declaration on Climate Change, a document that was agreed upon by the delegates who attended the Caribbean Youth Environment Networks’ Youth Exchange, held in the Dominican Republic on August 11, 2009.??

The declaration calls upon Caribbean Governments to: create an enabling environment for climate change education, support and reduce the levels of carbon dioxide by 2015, continue negotiations with other countries to address the effect of climate change in a more direct way, mobilise private sector support for initiatives, engage the youth sector in dialogue, and maintain the commitment to Millennium Development Goal 7(ensure environmental sustainability).

CYEN was established in 1992 and is a regional non-profit, non-governmental, charitable organisation dedicated to positively influence policies affecting youth and the environment.??

One Thousand events have been registered in 52 countries to commemorate International Day of Climate Action. It was conceptualised by, an international grassroots campaign to mobilise a global climate movement.?? In the Caribbean, young people across 17 countries will be hosting events to mark the Caribbean Climate Change Day of Action.

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