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Decisionmakers on Wednesday were encouraged to involve youths and children in climate policy formation and action at the opening of a three-day Advocacy and Youth Forum, at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.
The three-day forum is being held by the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) in collaboration with UNICEF Guyana in observation of International Youth Day 2023.
This year’s International Youth Day will be observed on August 12 under the theme, “Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.”
Delivering remarks at the opening ceremony was Area Representative of UNICEF, Nicolas Pron, who indicated that the forum seeks to train over 150 young people from across Guyana in the thematic areas and in advocacy.
Pron explained that the forum comes at a pivotal time when UNICEF Guyana is preparing for a few international conferences like Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 in Dubai and the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Antigua, among others, to seek solutions for the future of young people in the face of the ever-increasing impacts of climate change.
He noted that while children and young people are faced with many disasters, humanitarian crises and the ever-growing impacts of climate change, there are interventions that can be considered to reduce such impacts. “Children and young people are not only victims [of climate change], but also the most important actors for sustainable change,” Pron said.
He further encouraged decision makers in Guyana to include children and youth in the processes for designing and implementing climate policy and action and consider including young representatives in the national delegations to these conferences,” the Area Representative said.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, Newell Dennison who was also at the event, lauded the three-day initiative and encouraged youths to work together for the common good of youths and children in Guyana.
He said, “Regardless of what you do or wherever your interest lies, as youths, you must have a common language that you can use to moderate your exchanges on these important issues of the rights of children in our communities.”
Several youths at the event expressed their excitement to present and participate in the three-day event.
This year’s Advocacy and Youth forum will cover discussions on a range of topics including Climate Change, Entrepreneurship and Youth, Life Skills, Mental Health and Youth and Immunization. It will conclude today with a panel discussion and mini exhibition by the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in collaboration with the UN Guyana Volunteers.
Also in attendance at the event were British High Commissioner to Guyana, H.E Jane Miller, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Mark Berman, Mexican Ambassador, Mauricio Vizcaíno Crespo, Chairperson of the RCC, Aleema Nasir, Member of Parliament, Amanza Walton-Desir, Miss India Guyana, Child rights Advocates, among others.