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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Environmental concerns and food security are two new issues which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Youth Ambassadors (CYAs) have identified as growing risks to the Regional youth population, and plan to play a more active role in these areas.

The new focus areas were selected during the April 21 – 23 meeting in Barbados. In support of the interest expressed in climate change, a briefing was delivered on the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme which tackles a number of environmental challenges. Food security strategies will be reviewed later. CYAs will also continue their efforts in HIV/AIDS and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) related fields.

The Dean of the CYA programme described the meeting as “successful.”

“I am pleased with the high level of participation we had as well as the repertoire of knowledge in this group of dedicated individuals who have been appointed as representatives of the youth in the Region. Everyone made worthwhile contributions and should be commended,” Donna Greene of Barbados remarked.

The Dean’s sentiment was endorsed by others, some of who said that the Induction and Orientation workshop was historic especially in the return of CYAs from Haiti after four years.

The Youth Ambassador Corps also held elections to select members of the management team. John Darville of The Bahamas was elected unopposed as Alternate Dean, while Kamesha Turner of Jamaica assumed the uncontested post of Vice Dean of Administration. Majority votes saw Ian Richards of St. Kitts and Nevis elected as Vice Dean of Public Relations and Communication and Ferranto Dongor of Suriname now holds the post of Vice Dean of Projects.

Dean Greene added that the success of the meeting was also linked to the outcomes. She stated that members of the Corps has signed a Resolution, which called for more resources for the programme to further enhance the capacity of CYAs and ensure the continuing achievements of the body on the national and regional level.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognized the success of the CYAP on the final day of the workshop. UNDP Representative Dr. Rosina Wiltshire told the CYAs that “the outcomes of the meeting are in line with high priority areas … that the UNDP Governance Programme has identified, as key, to the sustainable development of Caribbean Small Island Developing States.”

Ms. Wiltshire noted that UNDP Barbados had proposed to its development partners, the allocation of funds to replicate a Youth and Governance Training initiative to support the continuing education and development of CARICOM Youth Ambassadors.

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