Important youth congress under way in St Kitts

REC teams up with Caribbean Youth Environmental Network on Rio Principle 10 talks

November 2, 2016

The 12th Caribbean Youth Environmental Network (CYEN) Biennial Congress and Caribbean Youth Environmental Summit kicked off on Monday, October 31, at the Department of Agriculture Conference Room in Basseterre, Saint Kitts. The aims of the week-long summit are to raise levels of awareness about sustainable lifestyles and Rio Principle 10, and to reach a regional agreement on how to improve environmental standards in Latin America and the Caribbean. Saint Kitts and Nevis is the newest signatory to the Principle 10 Regional Agreement.

During her opening address, Tsvetelina Filipova, REC senior expert, described how “the REC has  joined forces with CYEN to organise several sessions on Principle 10 for this summit, and we will be conducting a youth training and a public officers training, and will also hold a town hall meeting in an effort to make people more aware of Principle 10 and their role in effectively implementing this process in the Caribbean.”  

“The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals offer a chance of prosperity to the people of this planet -- and, more importantly, they are closely linked to Principle 10, which seeks to promote access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental issues", added David Barrio, environmental affairs officer at UN ECLAC. "Sustainable development will only be possible if it has people and participation at its core.”

Also addressing the gathering was Garrette Clark from UN Environment, who will lead the week’s session on sustainable lifestyles in support of the global 2030 development agenda. Meanwhile, Jamilla Sealy, regional chair of CYEN, encouraged fellow members to play a more active role in accomplishing their goals. Sealy described how important it is for members to become acquainted with their constituencies and to ensure that more young people become aware of CYEN and its work. She also urged members to get to know their government representatives.

The keynote address was delivered by June Hughes, senior environmental officer at the Ministry of Agriculture. She congratulated CYEN for its active role in the recent achievement of the Paris Agreement, while special mention was made of the CYEN Saint Lucia Chapter’s "1.5 to Stay Alive" campaign. She also noted that Saint Kitts was one of the first 15 countries to ratify the Paris Agreement.

Close to 50 people from across the region attended the event's opening ceremony. The summit is sponsored by the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis; the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea; the REC; UN ECLAC; UN Environment; and the Ripple Institute.

TAGS: Latin Ameria | Caribbean | Public participation | Youth | Civil society | SDGs