On May 6, 2015, the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project and partners launched the Youth Climate Change Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The launch initiated a call for youth to lead the charge in defining a climate action framework for schools. The climate action framework will be defined and agreed on by students at the Youth Climate Change Conference (YCCC) scheduled for September 25.

At the YCCC launch, Ja REEACH unveiled the 2015 conference theme “Our Changing Climate: Trusting Youths to Act for a Better Tomorrow.” The winning theme was selected through an online competition hosted on youthjamaica.com.

This year’s conference, first held last year under the theme “One Climate. One Future. Empowering Youths for Action,” hosted more than 800 attendees students, corporate partners, and representatives from Government of Jamaica agencies.

The Ja REEACH project is a three-year initiative implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Through a range of interventions, Ja REEACH works with government, civil society groups, and farmers in Jamaica to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans mitigate and recover from the impacts of climate change.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Ja REEACH acknowledges teachers working with students in the Youth Empowerment for Climate Action Program.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Jamaica’s Minister of Education Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites addresses the audience at the Youth Climate Change Conference launch.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Jeanette Vail, USAID’s deputy mission director, delivers greeting on behalf of the funding agency.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Michele Small-Bartley, senior director of youth and adolescents for the Ministry of Youth and Culture, greets participants at the conference launch.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

A section of the audience listens attentively to the presenter at the YCCC 2015 launch.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Students from Thompson Town High School pause for some lens time.

Jamaica - Ja REEACH

Matthew Williams of Munro College, which won the debate competition at YCCC 2014, gives a testimonial of last year’s youth conference experience.