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HomeNewsLocal NewsSKN represented at 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy Cohort

SKN represented at 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy Cohort

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Island Innovation has unveiled its 2024 cohort for the Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy (CCJLA), featuring 48 young leaders from across the region. The announcement follows a competitive selection process that drew hundreds of applicants. The cohort includes representatives from every CARICOM nation and several other territories, highlighting widespread interest in climate justice across the Caribbean.

Vanel Bailey and Mia Alexander will represent St. Kitts and Nevis in this year’s cohort. The CCJLA is supported by the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a major private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights.

The Caribbean faces significant climate challenges, including rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and ecological degradation. Starting in June, the CCJLA program aims to enhance participants’ understanding of environmental sustainability, climate resilience, and international policies affecting the region. Over the five-month course, participants will hear from various expert speakers.

Five participants will be selected to attend COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and all expenses will be covered. The remaining participants will join Island Innovation’s annual COP virtual pavilion, which will cover the two-week event and the latest island-related developments.

Reflecting on their experiences, Yemi Knight, a 2023 CCJLA member from Barbados who attended COP28 in Dubai, stated, “Attending COP28 was an eye-opening experience. The gathering of nearly 40,000 people from diverse backgrounds with a shared purpose was powerful. Staying focused on my values and aspirations while navigating the event allowed me to gain valuable insights and connections. It reinforced that despite global challenges, collective action and shared determination can lead to progress.”

Muskaan Khemani, a 2023 CCJLA member from Curaçao, added, “[The Academy] connected me with people from across the Caribbean, making me feel less isolated. My experiences, struggles, desires, and work were shared by others, giving me a sense of belonging. At COP28, I was able to establish working relationships with ministerial representatives, leading to a pilot project mapping Land Surface Temperature at the neighbourhood level across the island. Along with Oriana Wouters (2023 CCJLA member from Aruba), we are also working on a retrospective study of their islands to assist in the ratification of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.”

James Ellsmoor, CEO of Island Innovation, commented, “The interest we have received from the region’s young people in the 2024 Academy has been extraordinary. Our first cohort in 2023 highlighted the determination of Caribbean youth to build an equitable future and the support from public and private organisations across the region. Sustainable solutions for effective climate action start with collaboration – the Academy serves as a catalyst for this. I look forward to seeing the 2024 cohort in action in the coming months.”

Through the 2024 Caribbean Climate Justice Leaders Academy, Island Innovation aims to empower young leaders to address the Caribbean’s critical climate challenges. The program focuses on education, collaboration, and action to contribute to a sustainable and just future for their communities.

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