Thu | May 23, 2019

Earth Today | Youth exposed to environment policy

Published:Thursday | March 14, 2019 | 12:10 AM
Young people were among the participants at last year’s national biodiversity conference.

THE GOVERNMENT is pressing ahead with efforts to give young people a say in environmental policy while keeping them up to date on current and emergent issues.

This is courtesy of the Youth Environment and Advocacy Programme (YEAP), which has visited its seventh school in two years and reached more than 900 students.

“The YEAP is really to bring together high-school students to discuss environmental issues of national importance,” said Gillian Guthrie, senior director for the Environmental Risk Management Division.

The most recent session was held at Dinthill Technical High, where biodiversity was the topic of choice – informed by the National Conference on Biodiversity, staged last October and looking at the importance of biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and well-being.

The conference, which attracted a host of stakeholders – including students, private sector and public sector interests, as well as representatives from academia – also saw the launch of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC) e-publication dubbed ‘Preservation Jamaica’s Diversity - Success Stories’.

“It was a full day and a good conference, where we had an exchange of views and the sharing of opinions. We have decided to have this kind of conference every two years,” said Guthrie.

The next session of the YEAP – launched by minister without portfolio in the MEGJC in 2016 – is set for the eastern region in June. The focus then will be on disaster risk reduction and the expectation is that more than 100 students will participate.

Among the schools to have benefited from the YEAP so far are Mount Alvernia High, Holy Childhood, St Elizabeth Technical High, Buff Bay High, St Catherine High, and the Manning’s School.

Financing for the YEAP is provided by the MEGJC.