UNEP in partnership with Samsung Engineering will launch ‘The 11thEco-generation Environmental Essay Competition,’ inviting youth all over the world to raise awareness on the theme of the World Environment Day – Beat Plastic Pollution. Deadline for Submission is 2 September 2018. Find out more information here.
The Frontiers 2017 report presents six emerging issues of environmental concern with global implications. The report highlights emerging challenges for decision makers from government, business and civil society and provides them with the knowledge and options to act quickly. Download the report here.
UNEP’s Report, Towards a pollution-free planet, describes the pollution challenge, explores what is already being done to address pollution, and proposes 50 focused and actionable interventions to address pollution in all its forms. The report is a call to action towards a pollution-free planet. Download the report here.
When you live in a small island country in the Caribbean with a population less than the size of a village in some countries, you sometimes wonder what impact you can have in the world. However, the size of our countries should not deter us from speaking out or undertaking endeavours that benefit us and our country. Though we may differ geographically, several of our environmental challenges are similar.
In Saint Lucia the issues related to climate change are always at the forefront priorities, especially when the Atlantic hurricane season draws closer. Additionally, we have adopted comprehensive measures to help us deal with pollution. One may think that climate change and pollution are not directly linked, however we often see how bad environmental practices (like pollution, plastic pollution in particular) can exacerbate climate change impacts during heavy rainfall.
Over the years, my efforts to bring to the fore the above-mentioned issues have led to my participation in many initiatives. In 2013 the Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Saint Lucia (CYEN), for which I serve as national coordinator, held a summer camp for marginalised children that allowed them to build stronger connections with the environment. Since then, every year we participate in the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). In the lead up to COP21 we undertook the ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ Climate Justice Campaign, building awareness by targeting climate change impacts and international climate negotiations. Two years ago, I also started a microbusiness called 7Ks which focuses on upcycling and promoting sustainable lifestyles. As part of a team of young women, we started a social enterprise named Jua Kali Ltd, undertaking the country’s first-ever resource recovery pilot project that was extended to schools in 2017.
Snaliah Mahal is a native of St Lucia, with an MSc in Climate Change and International Development from the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) and a B.A. in International Relations from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (Mexico City). Snaliah interned at the United Nations Information Centre (Mexico) where she deepened her knowledge of the UN system and gained an appreciation for climate change and environmental issues. Her past work also involved teaching French, Spanish, Social Studies and Visual Arts at the secondary school level.
In Grenada, youth and fishermen from two local communities play a critical role in the restoration of coral reefs. These ‘Community Coral Gardeners’ form part of an innovative ecosystem-based adaptation strategy that was designed and tested to determine the viability of active restoration efforts and stronger management for national reef recovery.
Grenada’s coral reef restoration programme was launched in 2015 amid growing recognition of the significant contributions made by well-functioning coral reefs to coastal protection. Since then, it has also helped strengthen an awareness and deeper understanding of the intrinsic link between coral reefs and the national economy at the institutional and community levels. This has been impactful particularly in relation to how different sectors support and maintain two other key sectors – tourism and fisheries. These sectors account for a significant proportion of jobs in the country and provide subsistence for the indigenous population.
Coral reefs, like other coastal and marine ecosystems, are therefore invaluable to the economic and socio-cultural wellbeing of many tropical Small Island Developing States like Grenada. The quality of these ecosystem services, though, is dependent on the condition of the ecosystems themselves.
Healthy ecosystems have high levels of biological diversity and a corresponding mix of ecosystem services, built off the relationships and interactions among the organisms and their environments. In addition, robust ecosystems are better able to adapt to- and cope with- changing conditions. Unfortunately, with increasing pressures due to climate change and exacerbated by anthropogenic factors like overfishing and plastic pollution, these ecosystems are becoming severely degraded or destroyed, putting both human lives and livelihoods at risk.
Local efforts to restore the biodiversity of coastal and marine resources, as seen with the reef restoration programme and other initiatives, illustrate that countries like Grenada understand the urgency and necessity of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem health towards environmental sustainability.
Kerricia Hobson is a native of Grenada, she is currently managing an innovative pilot coastal ecosystem-based adaptation project. She has been integral in the design and implementation of a coral reef restoration programme that encourages multi-stakeholder partnerships for ecosystems management. Kerricia is also the national coordinator of the Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network.