Back to search



The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), in collaboration with the United Nations to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), organized a panel discussion that took place on Saturday 29th of May, from 10:00 to 12:00 (GMT -4). The event aimed to bring together youths from across the entire  Caribbean and panelists from five different islands in the region to discuss the topic “Covid-19, Land and the Future”. The main objective was to raise awareness among Caribbean youth about the importance of sustainable land use in relation to different vital aspects, crucial for the future of the region, as well as to inspire their youth action regarding the same.



                                                                          A few pictures of the team from the planning meetings.






The Caribbean Youth Environment Network

logo new

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), is a non-profit, non-governmental network organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of Caribbean young people by facilitating their personal development, and full involvement in all matters pertaining to the environment and sustainable development. CYEN and the UNCCD Capacity Development and Innovation Office worked hand-in-hand in the planning, organization, and holding of this event. For more about CYEN see:


The panelists were all Caribbean nationals and came from different countries of the region. The keynote address was delivered by Honourable Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana, who really set an excellent foundation for the rest of the exercise.


Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana, Mr. Hugh Todd made a keynote address for the panel discussion. 

Prof. Richard A. Byron-Cox Ph.D. He is the Head of the Capacity Development & Innovation Office at the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat. 

Ms. Jhannel Tomlinson. She is a youth climate activist and member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), Jamaica. She is co-founder of Young People for Action on Climate Change (YPACC), Jamaica. 

Ms. Maria Beckles. She is a member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) Barbados, and part of the organization’s Biodiversity working group.

Mr. Chetwynd Osborne. He is a lecturer at the University of Guyana, currently pursuing Ph.D. studies in Environmental and Life Sciences at Trent University. He is also a technical advisor to the Partnership Initiative on Sustainable Land Management (PISLM). 

A person standing in front of a rock on a beach

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Mr. Davidson Baptiste is from Sandy Bay, a village of the Carib settlement on the Northern part of St. Vincent. Due to the recent volcanic eruption on that island, this area of the island is presently deemed  “The Red Zone.” Mr. Baptiste is a farmer, community worker, and a God-fearing man who is very committed, responsible, influential in his community. He spoke on the effects of the La Soufrière volcanic eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Story of La Soufrière of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

In April 2021 the La Soufrière volcano in Saint Vincent (the largest of the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ archipelago) erupted, displacing more than 20% of the nation’s population, and destroying a very significant part of that country’s agriculture and forest. This eruption came on the heels of other serious challenges this nation must face, including the covid-19 pandemic.

A presentation was made by Mr. Davidson as a panelist, in which he highlighted some of the consequences of this eruption for people, land, and the environment in general.    

                                                       Homes, crops, forests, and lands covered in volcanic ash! 


The webinar was attended by more than 575 participants from the Caribbean and the rest of the world. As part of the promotion of the event, several pieces of multimedia content were created and widely distributed through social and traditional media channels. More than 30,000 people in the Caribbean were reached through UNCCD CBM and CYEN's social media platforms. Professor Richard A. Byron-Cox and Mr. Elijah James conducted an interview with ABS TV media where they shared with viewers and 100K social media followers the major issues covered by the panel discussion.

There was participation from the entire Caribbean and further afield.




This exercise was done in partnership with many organizations.


The organizers of this event insisted from the beginning that there must be positive and concrete results from the same. Among the concrete results from the exercise were: 

  • The special internship for SIDS and LDCS: the CDIO has designed a special distant internship programme, specifically geared at supporting institutional capacity building in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This programme aims at enabling young professionals to make a greater and better contribution to the implementation of the UNCCD in their countries. Are you interested? See details here 



  • A  similar exercise for the SIDS of the Pacific will be held in the future. This exercise to be done in 2022 shall deal with similar topics as was covered in the Caribbean exercise.  CYEN and youth organizations in the Pacific SIDS shall be invited to participate in this event. Our hope is to foster cooperation in the area of capacity building for youths in the Pacific SIDS as pertains to SLM, protection of the environment, and sustainable development as a whole.



  • Seedlings for St Vincent and the Grenadines

As part of this project, the UNCCD and CYEN will support reforestation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to replant forest destroyed by the volcanic eruption, through the provision of seeds. 


The CYEN and the UNCCD/CDIO have agreed to continue their cooperation in support of capacity building for youths of the Caribbean, working on land and general environmental issues.




P.O. Box 915, Cheapside
Bridgetown, Barbados, BB11000

Facebook, YouTube

Email: executivecoordinator [at]


Capacity Development and Innovation office,

UNCCD, P.O. Box 260129
D-53153 Bonn, Germany

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube 

Email: cbm [at]

These events are organized, managed and coordinated by Professor Richard A. Byron-Cox Ph.D. Head of the Capacity Development and Innovation Office. He assures that the CDIO is happy to work with all stakeholders to further awareness to facilitate the implementation of the Convention, and to support the professional development of young professionals and young people in general across the globe.