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Youth from across the Caribbean unify on demands for climate justice.

PHILIPSBURG:---  120 climate and community leaders from across the Caribbean region have collaborated to co-create and collaborate on demands for action, equity, and justice.
Young people from more than 25 Caribbean nations gathered from March 28th to 31st at the Climate Justice Camp Caribbean held in Sint Maarten to build knowledge and networks, share stories and skills and align on strategies and demands to unify the climate justice movement across the region's islands and territories.
During the camp, participants developed and followed four tracks focused on the energy sector and transition, adaptation and resilience, gender and climate justice, and marine conservation. They discussed solutions-based frameworks and established cross-border networks that will begin working together to tackle the unique challenges faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This includes collaborating on policy, nature-based solutions, and community engagement strategies, as well as alignment in the lead-up to SIDS4, the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States taking place in May in St John’s, Antigua and
Barbuda.

Communities in the Caribbean are facing unprecedented social, health, and economic challenges as the climate crisis worsens threats of heat waves, extreme weather, and permanent water inundation. The region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its geographical location, low-lying coastal areas, and dependence on natural resources for livelihoods. Some of the most intense impacts include sea level rise, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, changes in rainfall patterns, loss of biodiversity, health impacts, loss of tourism revenue, food insecurity, and migration and displacement.

While many initiatives across the Caribbean tackle social and environmental injustices, resources, distances, and funding, pose a hurdle for regional alignment and
collaboration. The Climate Justice Camp initiative was brought to the Caribbean by young community leaders to overcome this. Christine Samwaroo, an intersectional and climate feminist based in Guyana and Founder and Managing Director of gender and environmental justice organization The
Breadfruit Collective, one of the camp partners, said: “The Climate Justice Camp Caribbean has been everything we had hoped for and much more. It's an honor to witness all the fantastic initiatives in the Caribbean centered on both people and the planet.

These past days showed that we needed this space to share our struggles and find joy in each other, and I know this is just the beginning. People have used the space to plan, coordinate, and collaborate. The camp has left a lasting impact, and it will continue to be a beautiful memory as we renew our call and fight for climate justice, knowing that our struggles are connected, and so is our joy.”

Riddhi Samtani, the local movement builder from Sint Maarten and one of the camp's organizers, said: “The Climate Justice Camp Caribbean has sparked an unparalleled sense of solidarity among movement builders and activists in our region. It's been amazing to witness people, many new to such events, embracing the crucial need to unify in the Caribbean. Seeing these interactions unfold in the heart of my community, Sint Maarten adds an extra layer of significance to the work. The energy is palpable - you can feel the passion for every workshop, knowledge exchange, storytelling opportunity, and collaboration. We're not simply facing the climate crisis; we're rewriting the narrative of our collective futures for our islands. I walk away hopeful. I have come to believe that community truly is resistance and is the very heartbeat of change.”

Mikaela Loach, author and climate justice organizer supporting the development of the camp, said: “The Climate Justice Camp Caribbean has been a dream that I almost didn’t allow myself to believe was possible, made real before my eyes. Sharing this physical space with 120 fellow climate organizers across the region has been invaluable. We have laughed, shared knowledge and strategies, cried, danced, and held together. This is the world I want to live in - one where no one gets left behind, everyone gets to live in dignity, and joy is present throughout. I’ve never been more proud to be from the Caribbean than I have been this week.” 

Agustin Maggio from Argentina, Program Leader of Roots and lead organizer of the global Climate Justice Camp platform said: “Building community is not only something we all seek, but it is an essential component in driving the collective action required for radical system change. The bonds and alliances forged in these spaces empower communities to grow, deepening the roots of long-lasting collaboration and solidarity. The Climate Justice Camp is about recognizing that we can create real change despite differences when we come together as a community and share our knowledge, resources, and stories.”
First held in 2022, the Climate Justice Camp is a global annual event centered on the intersection between climate and social justice to provide a space and platform for youth living in the world’s most climate-impacted areas. Over the past two years, it has brought together over 1,000 young participants from more than 100 countries across the Global South, leading to new climate initiatives worldwide. The Climate Justice Camp Caribbean is the first regional edition of this event and resulted from a collaboration between 25 regional and international partners.

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