Caribbean Youth in Action

The UWI is equipping and educating youth to make active contributions in all spheres, including policy making.

Preparing Caribbean youth to become climate literate and to advocate for climate justice is a key part of our advocacy work.

As the next generation of leaders and decision-makers, they have the power to help reshape the current narrative, adopt daily practices that recognize their personal role in mitigating climate change, and set future direction for sustainable development.

Youth action on the SDGs in the Caribbean

The SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign

With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),The UWI’s Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures (formerly Office of Development) launched the SDG Youth Advocacy Campaign in 2017.

The online launch featured Caribbean youth activists, including Michael Joseph from Barbados – Project Coordinator of The UWI Youth Development Project (UWI-YDP), Malene Joseph of Trinidad and Tobago – representing the Global Shapers Community, Port of Spain Hub, and Leanna Kalicharan from Guyana – representing the Youth Arm of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Caribbean Chapter.

Bringing the SDGs more into focus for UWI students and for Caribbean young people, this project aims to encourage young people to take ownership of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals from now.

Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow Ambassador Corp

Within the University itself, The UWI Vice-Chancellor’s STAT (Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow) Ambassador Corp is uniquely positioned to take its messages to the wider regional student body of almost 50,000 youth, multiplied when one considers their networks.  Similarly, the myriad web options to influence and challenge political and other debates, can empower student to advocate for progressive climate actions.

STAT activities have included:

  • The Eye of the Storm: The Implications of the Paris Agreement/Climate Change and the “Right to Life” for Caribbean Youth – a climate change forum (2018). Held simultaneously at The UWI’s Cave Hill, Mona and St Augustine campuses and streamed live on UWItv, it exposed viewers to the evidence and relevance of climate action, and what must be done to change patterns.
  • Ecopreneurship and Climate Action – a virtual forum (2019).
  • Climate Action and the other SDGs: Synergies for Caribbean Survival – a discussion between The UWI’s youth advocates and regional climate scientists (2020).
  • Attending the Sixth Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) held at Columbia University, New York (2019). Students made presentations under the theme: Climate Change and the SDGs in the Caribbean: Youth-Led Virtual Forums Advocate for Unified Regional Action.

What our young people have to say

“It is our time to become truly well equipped to educate others such that we can make active contributions in all spheres including policy making. We wish this Climate Change forum to involve Caribbean youth as we at UWI STAT act as catalysts to set the direction for sustainable development in the Caribbean. We must evolve rather than dissolve under the threats of Climate Change.”

Ms Darcelle Modeste
St. Augustine Corps

“This forum gives us an opportunity to make our contribution to the creation of the awareness of climate change because it affects us all.”

Mr Howard Brown
Open Campus Corps

“Rising sea levels will not only lead to the disappearance of coastal lands, but, also can result in sea water entering aquifers / fresh water sources making it likely that drinking water will become scarce, this will also dramatically affect irrigation for farming. As youth of the Caribbean, and leaders of tomorrow it is our duty to not only discuss but advocate for greater awareness and work towards solutions, mitigation and methods of adaptation.”

Ms. Asha-Gaye Cowell
Mona Corps

“From the student perspective, we are committed to seeing our university strive and committed to put our university in a position to shine. A regional conversation does just this and we hope that all UWI students will link up with us to become Climate Change Advocates.”

Ms Sheriece Viechweg
Cave Hill Corps

Tracy-Ann Hyman

Research Assistant with the Climate Studies Group

Tracy-Ann Hyman was a participant in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). A year-round leadership development programme, it provides a space for students to collaborate and learn from a network of alumni and leaders from business, government, academia, and civil society. Students develop their own Commitments to Action — new, specific, and measurable projects to address pressing challenges in their communities.

“While pursuing my Master’s Degree in Sustainability Science, I realised that my approach to challenges was not to dwell in the problem identification phase, but to automatically shift into solutions mode. I thrive in finding solutions to problems.

The Caribbean region is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, and when Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas in 2019, I made a promise that this level of casualty should not occur in my region when the technology exists to help.

With more extreme weather events expected due to the mounting effects of climate change, along with increasing rates of urbanization and aging infrastructure, flooding presents a major challenge for the region. Planning for emergencies like flooding, however, is subject to several challenges within the Caribbean, including issues with vulnerability assessments, outdated maps, and a reactive approach to planning and development.

My Commitment to Action is focused on creating Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to develop community early warning systems that will save lives and safeguard property from hazards. My team and I are developing a Flood Planning and Impact Tool (FPIT) that aids disaster planners in making faster, smarter, and better decisions so that Caribbean nations can prepare and plan for worst-case scenarios.”