|Top News > local|
‘Youth can shape decisions on climate’
THE importance of hearing the voices of young people in order to shape decisions to combat disaster risk and climate change has been underscored.
UN Resident Coordinator Michelle Gyles-McDonnough made the observation during a recently held ceremony to recognise International Day for Disaster Reduction.
According to the UN official, “The 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction finds that over 66 million children are affected annually by disasters and that children are amongst the most vulnerable and most severely affected.”
“That is why it is important that the voices of young people are heard in shaping decisions to combat disaster risk and climate change and that you adopt behavioural practices to reduce your own vulnerability from an early age, as well as that of your family and community.”
“There is no question that the youth are critical to realising social change, whether we are addressing communicable or non-communicable diseases; citizen security or disaster risk reduction,” she said.
The UN resident coordinator said that the UN System is fortunate to have developed a relationship with the Arthur Smith Primary and Garrison Secondary and revealed plans to expand this involvement to other schools in Barbados and the other nine countries and territories served in the OECS.
Gyles-McDonnough alluded to the 2011 Global Assessment Report which shows the proportion of the population living in flood-prone river basins has increased by 114 percent over the last 30 years, and those living on cyclone-exposed coastlines have increased by 192 percent.
“In light of this, one of the simplest disaster risk reduction measures we can possibly take is to empower young people and to ensure they are actively involved in disaster risk reduction and part of making their cities and communities resilient,” she said. (JH)