SIDS YOUTH GLOBAL ACTION DAY - 24TH JULY 2014
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To commemorate the SIDS Youth Global Action Day I thought I would write a post about small island developing states and what the youth in my country are doing to create awareness among ourselves about small island developing states and the role we are deciding to play in achieving sustainable development.
Youth from small island developing states, including the Seychelles have been taking action throughout this month in preparation for the UN SIDS conference in Samoa 2014. Young people have been eager to get involved in speaking out on behalf of small island developing nations. In the Seychelles, the youth-led NGO named SIDS Youth AIMS Hub, commonly known by its members as SYAH, began its work to establish the Seychelles sub-committee of the greater regional NGO.
What are small island developing states?
There is no fixed definition for SIDS but they are generally characterized by their size, level of development and the fact that they are surrounded by water. SIDS are often located in remote areas of the world with limited resources and facing challenges of climate change.
Why are they so important?
SIDS is producing 1% of the carbon emissions in the world but yet will be the ones who feel the effect of it the most. The state of the Earth threatens our existence that is our home and our way of life. Can we see ourselves as environment refugees in the years to come as we fled to other countries for salvation and knowing we will never see our home again as it is now an underwater haven?
What is our stand?
GDP cannot be the only measure of progress for SIDS
Youth in SIDS should be part of the decision making process. In the Seychelles, the Northern Region Youth Committee organised an event based on the theme:
“What can I as a youth do to promote sustainable development?”
This included talks by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation which protects our UNESCO heritage sites (SIF). Issues that emerged are the importance of young people being aware of their national heritage, the population capacity of the Seychelles versus mass tourism and the role of young people as a conscientious consumer. The stark description of a chicken killed in Brazil and preserved and flown to the Seychelles a few days before its expiration date so it can be sold cheaper than the local produce definitely left a lasting impression.
The day was followed by the first stop on the Sustainability tour by the SIDS Youth AIMS Hub. This included information on what are SIDS, its history and the preparation for Samoa Conference in 2014. The group envisioning activity created a relaxed atmosphere where youth could picture the sustainable world of the future and they returned to the 12th July 2014 with the message:
“STOP! Stop destroying our environment and live together with nature not against it.”
This was followed by emphasizing the importance of young people having a voice in the community. In the Seychelles 48% of the population is under the age of 30 and therefore decisions should be taken with us. This includes any long-term strategy visions and youth policy. So young people were encouraged to participate in contributing to the post-2015 agenda and write to their local papers. The young people agree they want a voice in the community. The most relevant issues chosen on the day included good governance, economic equality and LGBT rights.
Youth. Education. Sustainability. WE CAN.
For those who are interested in finding out more:
Tomorrow, Thursday, 24 July at 3:30pm EDT / 7:30pm GMT / 11:30pm
What role do young people play in the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS)? Find out during the Google+Hangout 'Samoa 2014: Empowering Youth for Sustainable Islands' which will allow young people from islands across the globe to discuss the challenges of these islands with the Under-Secretary-General of the UN / SIDS 2014 Conference Secretary-General, Mr. Wu Hongbo.
Two of our Shapers Karuna Rana and Krishnee Appadoo will be participating as panelists in the Hangout!
More details on how to follow the hangout on http://bit.ly/islandhangout