Contact Us  |  About CEE
 


 Recommendations from the Workshops
16. Youth and Education for Sustainable Development
South Asia Youth Environment Network (SAYEN)
UNEP BAYER
Workshop Partners

Youth and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) workshop jointly organized by CEE, SAYEN, UNEP-Bayer (Partners for Youth and the Environment), was one of the 20 thematic workshops, organized at the International Conference on Education for a Sustainable Future (ESF). The Conference was jointly organized by CEE in partnership with Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India along with UNESCO and UNEP during 18-20 January 2005 at Ahmedabad , India . This was an occasion to mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) and to share CEE's twenty years experience in EE and ESD.

Out of around 800 delegates participated at the conference; over 75 delegates including individual youth, school and college teachers and representatives from NGOs participated at the Youth and ESD workshop. The delegates at the Youth workshop included individual youth and youth representatives, institutes, youth groups/clubs from South Asia; South West Asia, North-East Asia, Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and America.

The workshop was formally started with an introduction note from Mr. Gopal Kumar Jain (facilitator of the workshop) followed by the lighting of lamp by the invited guests and dignitaries.

The main discussing points for this workshop were:

  1. Orienting participants to role of youth in Sustainable Development
  2. Sharing of approaches and initiatives related to the Sustainable Development
  3. Developing recommendations on role of youth in ESD and recommendations on the draft implementation strategy of UN DESD.

DESD : A Youth Perspective

The initial discussion started with an interactive exercise in which each of the individual participants were required to describe in brief regarding the participants' perspective of DESD and their role in sustainable development.

The dignitaries in the panel were:

Mr. Benjamin Roche, University of New South Wales , Australia

Ms Usha Srinivasan, Development Alternatives, New Delhi , India

Ms Suchita Shende, Madhyam, NGO based in Pune , India

Mr. Gopal Kumar Jain, Facilitator, CEE, Ahmedabad , India .

Some of the key points discussed were as follows:

  • Youth are the main stakeholders, policy makers and a major resource group playing an important role in taking up responsibilities, revolutionizing the other stakeholders, acting as a catalyst for bringing about change.
  • These future leaders have immense potential to mobilize the masses, be adaptable and a link between the two generations.

Approaches to involve a youth in Sustainable Development

Sustainable living Project engaging youth, the gateways of future

Speaker: Prof. Benjamin Roche, The University of South Wales- Australia

The aim of the Sustainable Living Project is to establish a partnership between the various stakeholders and the youth, to provide the resource and skills for environment problem solving and capacity building.

The issues involved in this project are to reduce consumption, eliminate waste, protect eco systems, think about life-cycles and promote equity, with the focus on “education for sustainability and not about sustainability”. Considering the school as a focal point/ cultural hub for interrelation with the community, they advocate sustainable living through partnerships.

Their programs include ‘Sustainable living challenge' for schools, ‘Eco- Innovate' for young people, and ‘knowledge networks' for teachers.

Clean India : Networking many of schools and organizations for sustainable livelihoods.

Speaker: Ms. Usha Srinivasan, Development Alternatives – New Delhi

Project Strategy is to empower the students and youth to mobilize the communities and improve environmental actions through the linked steps of assessment, awareness, action and advocacy. For this, t hey work with different stakeholders towards training, monitoring and validation, networking and implementation of action. Issues addressed through the projects were air, water, waste, energy, trees, herbal treasure, food adulteration, eco festivals, etc

Experiences: Sustainable living among local youth

Speaker: Ms. Suchita Shende, Madhyam - Pune

This organization aims to use media for communication and interaction to create global message platform on sustainable development, consumption and behaviour pattern to create alternative Environment vision. Objectives of this organization are to take up issues of sustainability and create responsiveness on issues like air safeguard, water protection and organic cultivation of food. 

Water Conservation for Energy Conservation documenting best practices

Speaker: Mr. Vikram Sethi, CEE – Ahmedabad

A SARI (South Asia Regional Initiative) for Energy, project focussed on involving youth in documenting Case Studies. This project helps youth to understand the steps of documentation, tools required and methodology to be adopted. The focus of documentation is also to develop inter-linkages between various issues of environment and empowering the youth for decision making.

Conclusion: Various organizations are conducting some or other activities related to youth and Sustainable Development. Major focus in these activities is education which plays an important role in Sustainable Development. Also, emphasis should be on issues like empowering youth, capacity building, having multi disciplinary approach, providing sensitiveness to gender, applying a participatory approach and learning from the peers.

  Youth and DESD

Youth hood begins with questioning. Meaningful question came out regarding the role of youth in writing, catering, designing and developing DESD and the draft implementation strategy.

The youth group vehemently demanded active involvement of them in all the future programmes. In the overall assessment of the ESD draft policy and strategies the suggestions made by the youths came out of their wisdom.

Participants were divided into two working groups each focussing on the following:

Draft Implementation Strategy for DESD

  1. Role of youth in overcoming challenges related to Sustainable Development. For discussions, the challenges were further categorized as socio-economic and environmental challenges related to sustainable development.

  Group 1

 Review of UN DESD Draft Implementation Scheme : Discussion Summary

The first demand was to incorporate sufficiently the spiritual dimension of sustainable development in the implementing strategy. Also opinions emerged out of discussions regarding the role of religious institutions as the best formal agencies for implementing ESD strategies.

While implementing the draft policy it is needed to give more focus on the individual as a unit and also the family as the next unit. The approach should be more of mutual learning rather than imposing of ideas, experiences and thoughts. The key to sustainable future is sustainable ruralization and urban transformation instead of sustainable urbanization and rural transformation. For attaining these objectives we should promote youth in the area of ecopreneurship (career connected with sustainable development) , education and development.

With regard to the research and innovation specified in the draft, the nature of research should be holistic, inter-disciplinary and/or multi-disciplinary so that all dimensions of sustainable development could be touched upon.

The adverse impact of tourism while using this as a tool for attaining sustainable development objectives should also be counted. Also while releasing budget allocations for ESD at local and national levels a monitoring agency consisting of the youth should be there.

Another important aspect is regarding vagueness of the concept of sustainable consumption. Can we have an international standard for sustainable consumption when it changes with place and time?

The discussion ended with a pledge by the members to dedicate themselves in catering DESD as a Key Stakeholders to move forward with greater energy and collaborative spirit.  

DESD draft : Questions Raised

Three major questions were raised-

1. How does you relate to youth?

The draft is not explicit in this regard. It must include basic unit of individual and family and group through special diagram & inclusion in appropriate tables of the draft. Also the draft has a educationalist point of view rather it should talk about mutual learning process. Also there has been a mention of “ESD champions” which should be replaced with “ESD contributors” to foster feeling of collaboration.

2. About the mechanism?

(i) Making education mechanism more appropriate for youth by giving priority to youth career and incorporating activity based experiential learning in education system.

(ii)To make sustainable careers as integral part in order to catch the pulse of youth by linking their career priorities and inquiries with plans for sustainable development.

3. Monitoring mechanism?

Adopt cradle-to-cradle approach by defining basics and regularly redefining need, education. Sustainable development and future scenario development activity as core monitoring tools should be redefined, reviewed and redeveloped continually by youth participation at all levels and occasions of ESD monitoring system.

Group 2

Role of youth for a sustainable future

The discussion started with an activity on participants identifying challenges for Sustainable Development. Broadly challenges identified include functional illiteracy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), population explosion, political instability, degradation of ethics and values and degradation of environment – natural resources, water waste management etc.

Depending upon the interest of the group and the number of participants, the group was further divided into two parts

  1. Environment related
  2. Others - Socio-Economic Issues

Group A

 Issues related to environment: Role of youth in problem identification, attempt solving them and recommend possible solutions.

Discussion started with

  •  Problem identification

Each member in a group of 15 participants were asked to identify one of the most pressing environmental issue as per their perception. All the problems were clubbed into four main groups as under:

  • Solid waste management
  • Water monitoring: quality and quantity
  • Deforestation and biodiversity
  • Miscellaneous problems

Each member discussed the above issues by taking reference from the live issues existing in their country.

  • Solid waste management included discussion on issues like plastics, e-waste, segregation of waste and its recycling.
  • Water monitoring included discussion on issues like involvement of youth in water monitoring, benefits of hydro-electric power plant.
  • Biodiversity included discussion on conservation of species and educating the rural masses.
  • Involving youth in conflict resolution, disaster mitigation, etc.

  •  Recommendation

After the discussion on each of the topics, certain recommendations were made as follows:

  • Nature club as a platform involving school authorities
  • Sustaining interest of youth
  • Reuse or minimization of waste
  • Youth forum for sustainable development at manufacturing level
  • Involvement of all stakeholders towards solving the issues considering it from all perspectives.
  • Development of information database
  • Youth to perform a responsible role in the society by acting as trainers, as activists and pressure groups, thereby bridging the gap between the two generations.
  • Suggesting alternative solutions through consultation with community and networking with other organizations for sustainable development.
  • Learning from local solutions and best practices
  • Long term planning
  • Empowering existing youth organizations
  • Alternatives for pesticide package
  • Creating plastic free zone
  • Inter-country youth networking providing a platform for sharing traditional knowledge
  • Involvement of rural youth for conflict resolution
  • Youth and disaster preparedness
  • Advocacy for eco-tax

Group B

Discussion Summary

Functional Illiteracy: People being educated but not learned.

Poverty: Inequitable distribution of resources, inability to fulfill basic necessary needs.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Peer helping and no discrimination against them.

Population explosion:

Political instability: Involvement and active participation in politics, to take responsibilities and empowering the youth.

Degradation of ethics and values: Moral values and realization of choosing right options.

Role of youth:- To fill the gap between education and action, discussion of few of the case studies such as SLATE in Srilanka, URMUL in Rajasthan (India), District level committee for literacy in Chattisgarh (India),” Clean Environment-My Birth right” in Assam (India) also took place in the presentation. To alleviate poverty, certain points were discussed as awareness about priorities, self employment, and protest against wrong policies. Youth also play an important role in elimination of diseases through media involvement and abolishing discrimination. Youth camps for providing awareness and gender equity are some of the other core areas.

“Thinking is capital, enterprise is the way and hard work is the solution”, words of Honourable President of India, Shri A P J Abdul Kalam.

Share by participant during Youth and ESD Workshop

Various youth organizations that were identified by the participants from their respective countries are as follows:

  • SAYEN ( South Asia Youth Environment Network)
  • THAIYEN ( Thailand Youth Environment), Thailand
  • CLEAN-India (Community led Environment Network), India
  • Youth Environment Watch Group, Pakistan
  • NAYEN ( North Asia Youth Environment Network)
  • National Youth Services Council , Sri Lanka
  • Afghan Youth Organisation, Afghanistan
  • Youth Conservation Corps , Afghanistan
  • YMBA (Young Mens' Buddhists Association), Sri Lanka
  • YMCA (Young Mens' Christian Association), Sri Lanka
  • RSPN (Royal Society for Protection of Nature), Bhutan
  • Friends for Bhagmati Youth Council , Nepal
  • WWF, World Wide Fund for Nature

The Sectoral Recommendations

  1. Education mechanism needs to be more appropriate in order to give priority to the youth and incorporation of activity based experimental learnings in the education system
  2. Linking of the career priorities and inquiries of the youth with plans for the sustainable development.
  3. Adoption of cradle-to-cradle approach by defining basics and regularly redefining need and education. Sustainable development and future scenario development activity as core monitoring tools should be redefined, reviewed and redeveloped continually by youth participation at all levels and occasions of ESD monitoring system.

Recommandations on UN DESD Draft

  1. Religious institutions as the best formal agencies for implementing ESD strategies.
  2. Focus mainly on the individual as a unit and the family as the next unit. Mutual learning approach would enhance the implementation strategies.
  3. Promotion of youth in the area of ecopreneurship (career connected with sustainable development) , education and development.
  4. Holistic, inter-disciplinary and/or multi-disciplinary nature of research can touch all the dimensions of sustainable development.
  5. There should be international standard for sustainable consumption when it changes with place and time.

Significant Points / Recommendations from workshop

Biggest challenges to achieve Sustainable Development include functional illiteracy, poverty, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), population explosion, consumption habits, political instability, degradation of ethics and values also there are many environmental challenges too such as solid waste management, water monitoring in terms of quality and quantity, deforestation and biodiversity. In short to balance compass of sustainable development it is necessary to balance four of its sides-nature, well being, society, economics.

Recommendations to provide solutions:  

  • Youth to perform a responsible role in the society by acting as trainers, as activists and pressure groups, thereby bridging the gap between the two generations. Youth to fill the gap between education and action.
  • Nature club as a platform involving school authorities
  • Sustaining interest of youth
  • Youth forum for sustainable development at manufacturing level
  • Involvement of all stakeholders towards solving the issues considering it from all perspectives.
  • Development of information database
  • Suggesting alternative solutions through consultation with community and networking with other organizations for sustainable development.
  • Learning from local solutions and best practices
  • Long term planning
  • Empowering existing youth organizations
  • Creating plastic free zone
  • Inter-country youth networking providing a platform for sharing traditional knowledge
  • Involvement of rural youth for conflict resolution
  • Youth and disaster preparedness
  • Advocacy for eco-tax

Sustainable Development can not be achieved by just urging others. We will have to set examples ourselves.

“Practice before we preach”

 

  Click here to view the concept paper that formed the basis for the workshop discussions...

 
This conference has been undertaken with part financial support of the
Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA)