“Climate change is the fight of our lives – and young people have been on the frontlines leading the charge for climate justice. The unrelenting conviction of young people is central to keeping climate goals within reach, kicking the world’s addiction to fossil fuels, and delivering climate justice.”António Guterres – Secretary-General of the United Nations
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on 16 March 2023, announced the second cohort of his Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. This group of seven young climate leaders from across the globe bring a wide diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and areas of climate expertise to assist in collaborating with global youth climate movements to bring young people’s perspectives and solutions to the Secretary-General and major climate decision-making meetings.
Jevanic Henry, 26, a climate activist and development professional from the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia, is one of the young leaders appointed to this esteemed group with a view to ensure the youth voice remains at the heart of climate action at all levels.
Speaking on his appointment, Jevanic highlights that “Coming from a small island developing state, the climate crisis is now a daily reality which negatively impacts our lives and livelihoods. With our survival now dependent on a global community which is unified in urgently advancing the climate agenda, the power of young people is crucial in being a catalyst to drive this much needed accelerated action.”
“The climate crisis is now a daily reality which negatively impacts our lives and livelihoods. With our survival now dependent on a global community which is unified in urgently advancing the climate agenda, the power of young people is crucial in being a catalyst to drive this much needed accelerated action.”
He further adds that he hopes through this role he can be an avenue through which the voices of those often unheard, yet most impacted, can be channelled to influence policy at the highest levels.
In 2021, Jevanic was selected as a United Nations Foundation Next Generation Fellow, tasked by the Secretary-General with implementing a process that allowed young people to help shape the future. The Fellows consulted with and collated the proposals of hundreds of young people from around the world into the Our Future Agenda report.
Many of these ideas went on to be included in the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda report – which looks ahead to the next 25 years and represents his vision on the future of global cooperation.
Jevanic, who was nominated by the United Nations Foundation and supported by the Unlock the Future Coalition partner Restless Development, is no stranger to the multilateral space having been involved in multiple youth-led global projects and initiatives. In 2020, he served on Restless Development’s first ever Youth Power Panel, comprising 12 young leaders from across the world championing youth-led action towards attainment of the global goals.
Jevanic continues to place a strong emphasis on supporting youth-led organisations particularly in the Caribbean in building capacity towards accessing climate finance and supporting national resilience efforts.
Having served as the Climate Change Special Envoy for the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), a regional organisation working towards environmental protection and wider sustainable development, he continually credits this entity for nurturing this desire towards advancing the climate agenda.
He adds, “The out of season Christmas eve trough of 2013 which caused significant damage to my small 238 sq mi island, was an eye opener to me that life as we knew it in our paradise, was set to no longer be the same. In wanting to be part of the solution, it was through CYEN which provided this initial platform for me to learn, grow, and practically utilise the power of young people in influencing climate policy and action.”
Executive Coordinator of CYEN, Reginald Burke says ”CYEN has always operated with the strategic understanding that young citizens from the Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean are central to the region’s future climate resilience.
“CYEN believes that these bright young minds living on the frontline of the global climate crisis can, because of their life experience, become world leaders of excellence in the climate change field. Jevanic epitomises just such excellence. CYEN is proud to have contributed to the efforts and innovative interventions of this solutions-oriented youth leader.”
Jevanic is currently Saint Lucia’s first Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Fellow assigned to the Permanent Mission of Saint Lucia to the United Nations in New York, learning and supporting in climate, oceans and sustainable development related international negotiations.