CYEN doing good work

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) must be commended for the work it has been doing to date, to position youth in the Caribbean to take positive action on issues related to the environment and sustainable development.

CYEN is a regional organisation whose membership comprises individual youth, as well as youth groups. The registered non-profit and non-governmental charitable body has members and affiliates in 15 Caribbean territories. The Network has been actively involved in advocacy, as well as environmental education and public awareness programmes and CYEN frequently represents the position of Caribbean youth at regional and international meetings. It is undoubtedly the largest youth environment network in the Caribbean.

I recently met Jamilla Sealy, Regional Chairperson of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) and Project Co-ordinator for CYEN in Barbados and I can tell that she is one that is passionate about her work. In particular, I was curious to learn about a project which is garnering public interest, but which needs to be emphasised a bit more.

Apparently, CYEN has embarked on an environmental project, which will see the organisation getting assistance from the Barbadian public, in mapping “unregulated dump sites” across Barbados, to enable an island-wide clean-up.

In terms of the Unregulated Garbage Disposal Site Project, Sealy explained that is not only a study, but it’s linked to a campaign which deals with “Let’s Do It! World”, a global civic-led anti-waste movement, which propels persons to clean up their environment. It appears that Barbadians have been eager to point out a number of illegal dump sites on a designated map of Barbados, so that the environmentalists involved in the project can better identify them and plan for their clean-up project, which will come on stream later this year, in September to be exact.

Sealy further explained that this is all in keeping with efforts around the globe to adhere to Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Since the adoption of this Declaration at the Earth Summit in 1992, its elements (access to information, public participation and access to justice) have progressively gained momentum and have increasingly been implemented globally. Many countries, including Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, have enacted legislation on the matter, although in many cases not adequately covering all three elements of Principle 10. Sealy, however, lamented that “Right now, Barbados has not signed on as yet or has not enforced it”, unlike other countries in the region who have. As such, she noted that CYEN will be embarking on an educational campaign to raise more awareness about this matter, as Earth Day approaches on April 22.

Now the work of CYEN and this young lady Jamilla Sealy, who by the way was recently named as one of the recipients of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, should not be overlooked. It is amazing to see young people so enthusiastic about cleaning up the environment and making efforts to sustain it, whilst on the other hand, big able adults as we Bajans would say, are the ones messing it up and putting it in a vulnerable state. So kudos to Jamilla and CYEN. Keep up the good work!

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