For the third year in a row after its launch in 2017, Peace Boat has invited youth from small islands on the frontline of the climate crisis to travel onboard its ship to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and ocean degradation. The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Programme has begun on May 24 in Malta. Young leaders from the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean who are active on issues related to climate change and ocean degradation are traveling from Valletta to New York City (United States) with stops and activities in Granada (Spain), Tangiers (Morocco) and Ponta Delgada (Portugal). The programme will conclude in New York City where Peace Boat’s vessel will dock in Manhattan during World Oceans Day and activities will be organized in collaboration with United Nations partners as part of the official UN programme for that day. The programme will take place onboard Peace Boat’s 101st Global Voyage as part of Peace Boat’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its partnership with the United Nations SDG Action Campaign.
The young participants are Eparama Qerewaqa (Fiji), Tapua Pasuna (Tuvalu), Elsei Tellei (Palau), Nathaniel Soon (Singapore), Nathalia Lawen (Seychelles), Jevanic Henry (Saint Lucia), Khadija Stewart (Trinidad and Tobago) and Ashneil Jeffers (Montserrat). They will engage in capacity building and bring their message to citizens and government representatives through the voyage. During their time onboard, the youth will be joined by guest educators including Laura Hildebrandt, Policy Specialist & MY World Manager for the SDG Action Campaign; Brandon Levy, Programme Director of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA); and Jeremy Gilley, founder of the non-profit organisation Peace One Day.
Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme, was first held in 2017, launched at the United Nations Ocean Conference and recognised by the COP23 Presidency Secretariat as an Endorsed Event of COP23. A second edition was held in 2018 which concluded at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the United Nations. The programme highlights the stories and experiences of young people at the forefront of injustices brought about by climate change and ocean degradation, amplifying their voices calling for action. Press conferences, public events and meetings with government representatives will be organized in the different countries that the youth leaders will visit with Peace Boat. After the voyage, participants will use the experience and knowledge gained to contribute to their communities and internationally, engaging with young people to continue raising awareness.
Valleta (Malta) – May 24
Peace Boat will dock in Malta on May 24 where the group of youth will board the ship. The Peace Boat delegation has been invited to the Palace of Valetta to meet with the President and Head of State, H.E. Mr George Vella. The youth will then visit the University of Malta to meet students and professors for an interactive session covering various aspects of climate and ocean governance best practice. They will focus on ocean and climate literacy, marine litter, climate ocean nexus, awareness building among children and the youth. After the activities at the university campus, they will visit some parts of Malta’s capital, a country which organized the Our Ocean Conference in 2017 before students visit Peace Boat’s ship.
Granada (Spain) - May 27
After docking in Motril, the group will travel to Granada to take part in a public event at the Hospital Real organised by Comunidad Universitaria y Asociaciones Solidarias de Granada where the youth will share how the climate crisis is impacting their island communities. The group will also meet with representatives of the Asociación Española de Educación Ambiental (AEEA) to learn how climate change is affecting the south of Spain.
Tangier (Morocco) - May 28
The young leaders will take part in a series of activities co-organized by Atlas for Development, SDG Youth Morocco who were the winners of the 2018 SDG Action Awards and 2063 Academy with support from the Moroccan government which hosted the UN Climate Negotiations (COP22) in 2016. The group will visit the old city of Tangier with youth from SDG Youth Morocco and meet with youth and civil society representatives working on environmental issues and the climate crisis. The highlight of the day will be a High-Level Panel on Climate Change and the SDGs held onboard Peace Boat’s vessel with representatives from the Moroccan government, civil society, and diplomatic Ambassadors as well as youth leaders from Morocco together with the youth from the islands.
Ponta Delgada (Portugal) – May 31
The group will be welcomed by professors, researchers and students of the University of Azores specializing in marine biology, marine botany and ecology. Meeting onboard Peace Boat’s ship, there will be an opportunity for the youth to exchange experiences and discuss with local students the impact of climate change on the Azores islands and their own islands. After the event, accompanied by the professors and researchers, the group will visit different locations on Ponta Delgada, impacted by the environmental crisis and look at local solutions.
New York (United States) – June 7, 8, 9
Peace Boat will hold a number of events onboard the ship together with partners from the United Nations and civil society working to protect our ocean. This will include the World Oceans Day reception on the evening of June 7 and a special youth-focused day of activities on June 8. This day will provide a venue for civil society to highlight local initiatives on the SDGs, including but not limited to Goals 5, 13 and 14, and mobilize youth for an interactive dialogue on why the ocean matters and how to make a difference for our ocean. Each part of the programme will highlight and encourage youth engagement in raising awareness of the benefits derived from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to interact with oceans with the overarching theme of “Gender and Oceans." It will include presentations, film screenings, educational and cultural workshops, exhibitions and more. The three days of activities in New York will conclude with a beach clean-up on Coney Island with local youth volunteers.
During their time onboard, the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors will take part in closed sessions to share their experiences from the various islands with the other members of the group including ongoing issues related to climate change and ocean degradation, as well as local, national and regional solutions. Guest educators joining the programme will run several sessions focused on their own areas of expertise. Public events for the youth to share their knowledge with the Peace Boat participants will be organized focusing not only on the issues related to the programme but also giving an opportunity to share culture and traditions with those onboard.