Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): The Saint Kitts and Nevis Country Pavilion at COP28 hosted a Youth Spotlight on Sustainability, setting a new standard for youth engagement in global sustainability dialogues. This round table was viewed by officials as a declaration emphasizing the essential and critical role of young voices in forging a sustainable future.
The discussion served as a melting pot of perspectives, ambitions, and actions, reflecting COP28’s ethos. Youth delegates from various countries, alongside other invited young individuals and visitors, engaged in robust dialogues around key points such as the impact of sustainability on mental health, redefining industry and entrepreneurship, and amplifying youth partnerships in policy-making.
The agreement among participants was clear: sustainability is a dynamic and changing concept that requires a major shift in thinking and a comprehensive revamp of current systems and methods. The detailed discussion of various topics underlined the deep interconnection between mental health, education, entrepreneurship, and policy-making in the realm of sustainability.
Several critical questions emerged such as ‘Is it possible to fully commit to sustainability without its incorporation into our educational systems? Can we legitimately claim sustainability if we overlook the importance of mental health and well-being? What does sustainability signify if it doesn’t empower young entrepreneurs to navigate the ever-changing socioeconomic environment? And crucially, how can we achieve true sustainability without actively involving young people in the decision-making process?
The unanimous decision among the young representatives from St. Kitts and Nevis was that sustainability needs to be a comprehensive effort. Individuals like Denaula Laplace, Kezzia Daniel, Jazee Connor, Tricia King, Ryan Phillip, Connor Greaux, and Kerese Elliott showed a strong commitment to actively contribute to sustainable development, going beyond just symbolic involvement. Their innovative and actionable ideas, backed by a firm resolve, position them as key players in driving the Federation towards a sustainable future.
This initiative was made possible thanks to the support of partner agencies including Girls Care JA, Global Fund for Women, UN COP Presidency, and the Republic of China (Taiwan), who sponsored these young visionaries. Their investment in youth is an investment in a sustainable future, a testament to the power of collaborative effort.
The Youth Spotlight on Sustainability at COP28 signifies a crucial point in St. Kitts and Nevis’ path to sustainability. It emphasizes that the youth are not only the future but also the current driving force behind sustainable change.
COP28 is being held in the United Arab Emirates and will conclude on December 12, 2023.