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For the life of SIDS

Focus on small island sustainability on World Environment Day

In celebration of World Environment Day 2014, which will be marked tomorrow, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) is encouraging the public to focus on the importance of sustainable development in small island developing states (SIDS) and their special vulnerabilities, whether it be their small size, small economies of scale, climate change effects, growing populations or limited resources. 

Islanders need to be aware of these challenges and work to live sustainably. On Monday, to draw attention to this burning issue, the CYEN –– along with the Future Centre Trust, Youth Development Programme, Junior Achievement, 4-H, United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Fund/Small Grant Programme –– supported by the Ministry of Environment and Drainage and Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries, launched a tree-planting initiative with the theme For The Life Of SIDS: Plant A Tree.

Director of UNEP’s Division of Communications and Public Information Naysan Sahba planting the five finger tree with the help of UN Resident Coordinator Stephen O’ Malley.

Director of UNEP’s Division of Communications and Public Information Naysan Sahba planting the five finger tree with the help of UN Resident Coordinator Stephen O’ Malley.

This is in recognition of the International Year Of SIDS, as designated by the United Nations.

It is also significant that fruit trees which are being planted indicate the importance of food security, sustainable land management, climate change and biodiversity to achieving sustainable development.

The trees were planted at two schools in the island for the launch, but 22 schools islandwide will be part of the initiative.

“This is a year-long programme where the growth of the trees will be monitored and managed by students of the schools. We hope that this initiative will be copied in all schools eventually,” CYEN stated.

The SIDS discussions began in 1994 when the First Global Conference On Sustainable Development Of Small Island Developing States was held in Barbados. The CYEN was the lead organization representing the voices of Caribbean youth at the conference. It was also the organizer of youth events at the conference.

CYEN said 20 years had since passed and the organization had still been advocating for Caribbean youth to realize their place within the discussions and that they could take charge of sustainable development for their future.

So far this year, CYEN has been disseminating information on the importance of sustainable development in SIDS. In Barbados, this was mainly done through Agrofest where the booths were SIDS-themed. On Global Youth Service Day, a national youth consultation on SIDS and the Post-2015 Development Agenda occurred.

On Earth Day, CYEN launched the Caribbean We Want video which showed the view of Caribbean youth on priorities for sustainable development.


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