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Specialized sessions strengthen CARICOM Youth Ambassadors’ understanding of climate impacts on health

CARICOM Youth Ambassadors from five (5) Member States, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago, will soon begin local projects focused on addressing the health effects of climate change, increasing awareness and education on the issues and providing Caribbean young people with hands-on experience on climate and health justice. During the CARICOM-Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Climate Change and Health (CCH) Orientation and Training, these participants benefitted from specialised training that will help them effectively implement their projects.

CARICOM Youth leaders during the CCH Orientation and Training

CARICOM Youth leaders during the CCH Orientation and Training

The training was held at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, from 23-26 April; the sessions on the health effects of climate change were facilitated by Dr Chandra Degia, Environmental Scientist and Adrianus Vlugman, Former Senior Advisor Water supply, Sanitation and Environmental Health at PAHO/WHO. The activity helped to improve participants’ understanding of the environmental harms and mental health effects caused by climate change. Dr Degia and Mr Vlugman cross-referenced issues such as population growth and density, ecosystem disruption, and declining infrastructure conditions to explain how climate change adversely affects all aspects of human health outcomes. Matai Zamuël, Suriname’s CYA, remarked that

“The workshop showed us young people how we fit into advocating for more comprehensive policy, which is what the Region needs at the moment.”

Matai Zamuël, Suriname’s CYA
Adrianus Vlugman engaged with participants during the session

The presenters also drew parallels between climate impacts on global climate and health issues and how these problems are experienced in the Caribbean. Jozel Neckles, CYA for Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, said that learning about the global perspective allowed her to “tie these issues back to our Region”. This, she said, was integral to closing the regional information gap.

“Most of the time, it’s hard to get information and data on the Caribbean context when it relates to climate change, so it has been very informative and interesting to get some concrete data on climate change and its effect on the Caribbean.”

Jozel Neckles, CYA for Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique

This content is provided under the CARICOM Secretariat’s Climate Change and Health Programme (CCHP) in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with support from the European Union (EU).

The CCHP’s mission is to increase education on how climate change affects health and spread awareness on prevention and adaptation measures to reduce greenhouse gasses.

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