Castries, Saint Lucia, Sunday, October 3, 2021:– One week later, organizers and participants in the recent first Virtual Caribbean Youth Parliament on Climate Justice are still brimming with confidence and hope that a wide-ranging and virtually all-encompassing resolution they adopted will encourage, if not influence positive action on their recommendations.
Hosted by the Caribbean Climate Justice Project (CCJP) in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (CRYC), the September 23 online event opened with statements by the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary General for Climate Action Selwin Hart and internationally-acclaimed oceanographer Fabien Cousteau.
Saint Lucia-born Caribbean and International reggae artist Taj Weekes, accompanied by Sidney Mills of Third World and Rupert McKenzie of Talking Dreads, also performed during the opening ceremony.
The young parliamentarians — representing Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago — spoke in strong support of their resolution, especially from the perspectives of “youth, health, education, human rights, agriculture and tourism, vulnerable populations, biodiversity, community empowerment, trade and investment, and foreign policy.”
An official press release issued following the regional event said
“The parliament debated a 13-point resolution on Climate Justice for Citizens of the Caribbean.”
Among several other points, the press release said the resolution called on the international community to observe and act on several key and urgent issues.
It called for “States with the greatest responsibility for anthropogenic climate change to provide the required financial and technological resources to countries in the global South, to help them respond to the myriad impacts of Climate Change” and “Embark on an urgent and sustained global effort to close the Mitigation Ambition Gap and place the world on a pathway that will limit the average global temperature increase to 1.5oC.”
It called on governments to “Implement a Global Carbon Tax on all major emitters of Greenhouse Gases, with the proceeds to be paid into a fund to address loss and damage in developing countries” and made a special appeal for them to also “Provide support for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in its drive to recapitalize the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).”
The youth parliamentarians also want governments and main global actors to “Ensure that the outcomes of COP 26 result in the full and effective operationalization of the Paris Agreement.”
According to the press release, the Caribbean parliamentarians also strongly advocated “for the inclusion of youth representatives in all national and regional meetings and committees on Climate Change and Climate Resilience in CARICOM Member States and in all Member-State delegations to the Conference of the Parties (COPs) under the UNFCCC”.
The gathering ended with a closing ceremony that was addressed by Dr. Colin Young, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center and Rueanna Haynes, an international climate law and governance specialist.
Saint Lucia’s Kendel Hippolyte, an acclaimed poet, playwright and climate activist and Anya Edwin, the vice chair of the CRYC (and representing Saint Lucia’s National Youth Council) and Dr. James Fletcher, the founder of the Caribbean Climate Justice Project, also addressed the closing – and supported the calls for youth inclusion in discussions leading to decisions on the region’s future.
The release said the parliament was live-streamed by UWI TV and the Jamaica News Network and was made possible through the generous support of sponsors: The Open Society Foundation, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Rocky Mountain Institute, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIP), Massy Stores (SLU), SOLORICON, Jade Mountain-Anse Chastanet and MINDS Consulting.