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CYEN delegation returns to state after TUNZA conference in Indonesia

CYEN delegation returns to state after TUNZA conference in Indonesia

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A four-member delegation representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines, comprising Xonese Walcott and Jocinda Campbell from the Bethel High School Environmental Club, and Petronella King and Christopher Grant,{{more}} members of Caribbean Youth Environment Network, returned to the state on Monday, October 3, after travelling to Indonesia to attend the TUNZA International Children and Youth conference.

CYEN St. Vincent and the Grenadines Chapter was a part of a larger group of 14 CYEN Regional representatives and had the largest delegation within the CYEN group.

The conference was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with the government of the Republic of Indonesia, and was held from September 27 to October 1.

The conference saw participants from over 100 countries worldwide from age 10 to 25, under the slogan: ‘Reshaping our future through a green economy and sustainable lifestyle.’ The aim of the conference was to discuss the role and input into the upcoming United Nations conference on sustainable “Rio +20”; the conference also reviewed the contributions of the youth to the international year of the forest and showed how they can adopt environmentally friendly lifestyles. The outcome of the conference was the “Bandung Declaration”, which was the youth position for the Rio+20 meeting on sustainable development, emerging impactful young leaders and their negotiation skills toward environmental diplomacy. Members of the Vincentian delegation played an integral role in the creation of this declaration, as their suggestions for adjustments to the original declaration were accepted by the United Nations Delegation.

The Vincentian delegation actively participated in various workshops on the environment: Engaging Youths in Low Carbon Development; Environmental Rights of a child; Taking charge, how to take action for the environment; Climate Change for Children; Save our Forests, Change your Lifestyles; Disaster Recovery and Youth Leadership for Sustainable Community Planning and Creating Practical Environmental community projects.

They shared similar sentiments about the conference, and remarked that attending the conference had been a very fulfilling experience. The students indicated that they had learnt a lot and are ready to be agents of change at their school, the Bethel High School, the community, and, by extension, St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Grant expressed his gratitude at being given the opportunity to attend such a life-changing experience. He said it was particularly special for him, as he had a chance to perform his environmental song, entitled: “Take a stand”, an original composition, on the closing night of the conference to the world-wide audience, including the President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other dignitaries. He performed the song for the first time in March 2011, when he placed third in the Projects Promotion Environment Song competition.

According to Yoland London, National Coordinator of CYEN-SVG, the members of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network are happy that they were able to contribute to the participation of the delegation and will continue to ensure that their members are exposed to opportunities that will aid in their personal development, the development of their schools, community and the nation on a whole. London extended congratulations to the members of the delegation on their selection and participation in the Conference.

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