Tunza International Youth Conference 2005,
October 12-16, 2005

The Tunza International Youth Conference 2005 organised by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Bayer AG and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India from 12-18 October 2005 brought together 140 youth from 67 countries at Bangalore, India to discuss and work towards achieving MDGs.

The conference themes, in tune with "Tunza-which means to nurture or treat with care and affection" aimed at enabling youth understand the three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), MDG 1- Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, MDG-3 Promote gender equality and empower women and MDG-7 Ensure environmental sustainability, define their role and help develop partnerships at national, international and regional levels to help achieve the three MDGs in focus. Youth and HIV/ AIDS and Youth and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) were also focus of discussions.

October 12 saw the Tunza Youth Advisory Council (TYAC) members conduct the ice breaker session and discuss regional issues at their respective regional groups. October 13th was the Grand Inaugural of the Second Tunza International Youth Conference, followed by plenary sessions on the importance of MDGs and its linkages. Major highlights were launch of a web- based module on MDGs developed as part of the Open and Distance Learning, supported by Commonwealth of Learning and a Tunza exhibition set up by participants and relevant organizations.

The International Internship Programme for youth was launched during the plenary session on October 14. A MOU between the UNEP Asia Pacific Office and CEE, SAYEN Secretariat was signed to work together for developing a Sub-regional Sustainable Development Strategy- Youth Version. Later, participants divided themselves into 11 workshops, which aimed at bringing out specific projects that youth worldwide could implement. This day also included field visits related to the three MDGs in focus organizations Concern for Working Children (CWC), Mahila Samakhya and Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT). The day ended with a dinner hosted by His Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, Shri T. N. Chaturvedi, at the Rajbhavan.

Workshop discussions continued on the second day and highlights of the day were the presentation of model action plans by participants on 15 October, at the plenary sessions.

October 16, the last day, of the conference, saw each participant pledging himself towards working for MDG 1, 3 and 7 and enhancing networking for cooperation and partnerships. All this was conducted over the popular Punjabi drum music played by two youth from the CWC. The Minister for Minorities and Youth Services, Government of Karnataka, Shri Jabbar Khan Honnali addressed the gathering emphasizing the need for further youth involvement in policy and decision-making. The conference ended with the election of the new TYAC for 2005-07 and their pledge to work together for sustainable development.