We all can make a difference’- Region 9 Youth

Region 9 youth gear up for climate challenge, petition for dedicated space at annual multi-stakeholder’s forum

11 March 2024
Participants at the Youth Climate Change Forum in Lethem pose with certificate of participation at the end of the three-day workshop
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/CStoll
Participants at the Youth Climate Change Forum in Lethem pose with certificate of participation at the end of the three-day workshop
Blocks
Luana Allicock of Surama Village
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/CStoll
Luana Allicock of Surama Village, Participant at the Youth Climate Change Forum in Lethem

The three-day Youth Climate Forum in Lethem, Region Nine concluded on March 7 with participants highlighting the impact of climate change on their communities, requesting support from decision-makers to take climate action and petitioning the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) for a dedicated space for young people at the annual regional multi-stakeholder’s forum.

The final day of the event saw participants engaging with representatives of various government ministries in a roundtable discussion. It also included a plenary session on the current and future plans of government and the envisioned roles for youth within the region.

The representatives from the Office of the President, Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Human Services among other agencies were responsive to the youths’ concerns and made promises to support where they could.

The participants, comprising young people from across the vast region, and organizers have deemed the forum successful, while noting it will further pave the way for youth participation at the policy level within the region.

Participant, Luana Allicock of Surama Village said, “It was a really great opportunity for youths to meet together to share their experience and the problems we face. If we can have this twice a year it will allow us to discuss the challenges we are facing and see how what we can do, and see the progresses made.”

Allicock explained that climate change and climate action is especially important to her since the impacts of climate change has affected her family’s livelihood. “Our farms have been affected; the wells, creeks and ponds dry up and we are starting to face the shortage of water,” she highlighted.

Also feeling the brunt of water shortage is 17-year-old, Andre of Nappi Village who said with the necessary support he believes youth can make a difference in Region Nine.

“In this moment, climate change is very severe in my village. All the wells are drying up. My family has a reservoir and the animals - and wild animals are coming to the reservoir for water. The wildfires also affect our farming and us selling the products. The little produce is mainly for us to consume. So, this forum is good and I think we all can make a difference,” Andre explained.

Recognizing the challenges of limited dedicated space for youth participation and youth voices in key decision-making forums at sub-national and national levels and the continuing need to ensure that children and young people have the capacities and opportunities to influence climate policies and programmes, the South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) with support from UNICEF Guyana hosted the Young Climate Change Leaders Programme.

Participants sign drafted letter to the Regional Democratic Council
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/CStoll
Participants sign drafted letter to the Regional Democratic Council

President of the SRCS, Leroy Ignacio said given the positive responses from youth and partners, there will be a follow-up event for young people in the region. “The youths are the future and climate change affect the future. Some of the information shared is very new to some of them, so they will need support through follow-ups. We will not leave them on their own and expect them to make the difference and change. There has to be a continuity to make it happen,” Ignacio emphasized.

Over 60 youth from across Region Nine participated in the forum.

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Crystal Tamika Stoll
Communications Officer
UNICEF Guyana and Suriname
Tel: 592-703-9769

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