Barbadian youth advocate joins GCA Youth Advisory Panel Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

A young Barbadian is one of 12 leaders from across the globe to be appointed to the Youth Advisory Panel to the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). 

Beating over 700 applicants from 108 countries, youth advocate Ashley Lashley is the sole representative from the Caribbean on the panel. 

The 24-year-old, who is the founder and director of the Ashley Lashley Foundation, will serve on the panel for a year and advise the CEO of GCA, Professor Dr Patrick Verkooijen, on how to take forward the climate adaptation agenda. 

Speaking to Loop News, Lashley expressed that she was excited and honoured to further champion for climate adaptation in small island developing states (SIDS). 

“I will do my best to continue championing the adaptation efforts of organisations and governments across the Caribbean region which are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and advocate for financing, the empowerment of young people on environment and climate issues, and gender responses to adaptation,” said the youth leader. 

Lashley underscored that the Caribbean was vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and contended that more work must be done to ensure region’s readiness before a natural disaster hits. 

“Small island nations need to adapt better and continue to build capacity before a disaster occurs. So, organising workshops, training sessions and the like are necessary,” she indicated.

“We need to do a serious implementation audit of efforts that governments are taking to really address the impacts of the climate crisis and different environmental sectors because we often hear that there are so many environmental policies being discussed or being implemented but I think the major question we really need to ask is what level of implementation are our governments at and our private sector as well to really ensure environmental sustainability,” she emphasised. 

To get more young Barbadians on board and engaged in this climate fight, Lashley believes that there needs to be educational campaigns and sessions to empower youth and “encourage action in their communities”. 

As she readies for her one-year tenure on the Youth Advisory Panel, Lashley also wants to encourage climate innovation and entrepreneurship. She told Loop that young people can lead climate adaptation by developing technologies, solutions and practices that will address the needs of SIDS. 

“It is important that in championing the adaptation cause, that collaboration and partnership be at the forefront in order for us to really be able to continue to build and be a resilient nation,” said the 24-year-old.