LAC Youth propose a country's carbon credits for vaccines as an innovative solution

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A man is preparing a COVID-19 vaccine A man is preparing a COVID-19 vaccine

Now when it seems the worst of the pandemic is behind, it is fundamental to start thinking about the recovery process from this colossal social, sanitary, and economic crisis. And youth is key for the success of this endeavor.

Extreme poverty and hunger continue to be issues that need the attention of the international community; and the pandemic has been a factor of suffering for many countries leading to a health and economic crisis  that has added to political instability and social effervescence in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. In many states, citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the inability of governments and institutions to address structural problems and inequalities, not just the health problems brought about by COVID-19. 

To promote the creation of solutions and empower the youth to explore innovative ideas to tackle development challenges, the World Bank Group (WBG) selected young leaders from around the globe to discuss Resilient Recovery  for People and Planet during its Youth Summit 2021 (YS).

The participants were divided into groups based on their regions of interest and had to choose between solving one of the three case challenges developed by the YS Committee. These case challenges were based on ongoing projects of the WBG and reflected some of the key challenges to address a resilient recovery: Digital Inclusion, Sustainable Development and business and COVID Vaccination campaigns.

The last case appealed to us given the similarities to the reality of LAC countries during the pandemic. If we explore Our World in Data, we can see that some of the countries in our region are behind the mean in the vaccination process; being the most critical cases Haiti, Nicaragua, and Jamaica, that represents a real challenge for the governments but also an urgent matter to attend for their citizens.



According to the Resilient Recovery Solutions Case Challenge presented in the Youth Summit 2021, we developed a COVID vaccination campaign being a Special Advisor to the Minister of Health in Vaccinum; the country in question was characterized by a weak health infrastructure, lack of cold storage capacity, lack of funding, mis, and disinformation. As result, the country was falling in numbers to inoculate its population and needed and urgent and innovative approach to solve this complex problem. 

In this regard,  we took into consideration the Social Determinants of Health Theory which are the social, health and economic conditions that shape people’s daily lives. By being aware of the positive correlation between health and economic development, our proposal was based on the premise of vaccination as the first step to promote recovery and improve development levels in the ongoing pandemic scenario.


Lack of financial resources and cold-storage capacity

To address the lack of financial resources and cold-storage capacity, we suggested extending the country's carbon credits for vaccines. LAC countries can reduce the greenhouse gases emission (GHG), providing opportunities to pay for vaccines with clear benefits by reducing emissions. 

Under these circumstances, following the main points stated below, we aligned the carbon market potential of the region with the objective to guarantee vaccination access as an axe to implement our short-term solution:

  1. Verify the amount of carbon credits the country had available, and the number of vaccines needed.
  2. Price the carbon credits that could be exchanged.
  3. Negotiate with countries that could be interested in the trade – mainly developed countries, high producers of carbon and that either were producers or had a large storage of vaccines left - for that we considered that the diplomatic corpus of the country was experienced and/or had support from consultants’ firms or international organizations such as the World Bank.
  4. Close the deal and start the vaccination campaign as soon as the product arrive.


Fake news about vaccine and preventive measures

Our Vaccinum nation -in the case- was hard hit by the pandemic, many families lost their loved ones, their lifestyles and their trust in government’s ability to protect them; so, in order to address the problem of misinformation about inoculation, we proposed a national communication campaign focusing on three axes: vaccination as a pathway to economic development, vaccination to guarantee the safety of the loved ones, and vaccination as a way to foster sustainable development.

The short-term objective of this strategy was to disseminate public information, to fight fake news, create awareness about the role vaccines play in the post-pandemic economic and social development (i.e., reactivation of tourism, return to work and face-to-face classes) and, finally, to encourage vaccination regardless of the producer-laboratory. The long-term objective was to maintain an open communication channel between government and communities on health issues, even after the inoculation phase concluded, believing that it could improve the community well-being indicators.    

The main points to take into consideration to implement this communication campaign were:

  • The government had to evaluate the best approaches to address each community – to do that, it was fundamental to make the community leaders solution agents, part of the decision-making process – since they are an important source of communication, especially in vulnerable communities – and count on social assistants and health professionals to intensify awareness on health issues.
  • To make the campaign inclusive, reaching people with disabilities, the population without internet access, elderly, traditional communities living in remote areas, and other minority groups. In this regard, the government should drive a campaign with multiple communication tools, using local radios, sound cars, communities, social-media influencers, videos with subtitles, among other solutions.
  • All the campaigns need to be evidenced based and use accessible language to all population targets, taking into account different ranges of age and socio-cultural background, which translates as simplifying academic terms to an accessible vocabulary to all citizens.

Sharing ideas with likeminded fellows and exploring solutions in a high-level and inspirational environment such as the World Bank YS, boosted our awareness as young leaders with unparalleled duty and possibilities to commit to the transformation of a new way to comprehend our reality.

We hope that our experience and ideas can inspire our readers and other young people not to be afraid to come up with innovative approaches and can influence WBG, governments and civil society to make us part of the solution.




Flora Oliveira Fonseca

Specialist in sustainable governance and management

Pilar Avendaño Antunez

Specialist in socio-environmental entrepreneurship

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