- Lead-organizer: European Students' Forum (AEGEE)
- 11:30 - 13:00
- Date: 18 Jun 2012
- Room: T-4
Beyond Rio+20: A Global Youth Movement for Sustainable Development
Organizing partnersAEGEE (lead organizer)
Road to Rio+20
Major Group for Children & Youth ? UN CSD
Global Shapers - World Economic Forum
Green Young Economy
IntroductionWe are at a turning point in which it is not only necessary to tackle global challenges, but also to address the disconnect between generations in order to produce new and greener ideas, attitudes, habits and a sense of responsibility and accountability linked to our daily actions. Today?s youth can and shall lead this shift by collaborating with previous generations.
Current leaders and youth representatives have come together to make young people?s voice, interests, needs, actions, and visions a key part of Rio+20. Such cooperation efforts must continue after the UN summit. The event will therefore discuss future scenarios both in terms of priorities for the movement (SDGs, education?) and form (through the Major Groups or an independent alliance?). Feedback will be sought from other stakeholders, whose partnership will be fundamental in making a long-term youth movement flourish for a sustainable future.
Detailed programme1. CONTEXT
Rio+20 has provided an opportunity for the confluence of several youth movements, organizations, campaigns, networks and leaders. There is still evident fragmentation among them ? climate groups focused on climate issues, social justice groups focused on social justice issues, etc. ? but we have witnessed in the past few months an attempt to, if not collaborate, at least get together on a common platform and share information in the lead up to the UN summit. The Major Group for Children & Youth as the official entry point to the UN process for young people, has been interacting with groupings of youth working on Rio+20: the Road to Rio+20 coalition, the Brazilian-centred social youth movement, plus various regional or thematic alliances.
The danger, after Rio, is in missing the opportunity of integrating the three pillars of sustainable development, and going back to our respective corners when the summit is over. The danger is that the current movements will continue separately, and not in coordination with each other.
More inter-generational connection is also necessary as sustainable development requires the effort of all. A lack of such connectivity bears the danger that we are increasing the current inter-generational divide. This divide is not sustainable in a world in which more than half of the population is under the age of 30. It is not sustainable in a world in which young people concentrate in developing counties, while developed countries are featured by aging. This divide is not sustainable in a world in which children and youth are the most vulnerable due to a number of problems (e.g. under nutrition, unemployment).Youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the biggest stakeholder at Rio+20. Youth are complementary collaborators for the current leaders.
Rio+20 calls for a global youth movement for sustainable development to take on two main roles in the summit?s follow up: one of a watchdog, monitoring other stakeholders? efforts in keeping their promises and upholding their commitment; and a proactive role focused on implementation of the sustainable development principles/plans reaffirmed and renewed at the UN summit.
If Rio+20 is just the start of a process focused on bringing our planet and its people onto a more sustainable path, if global cooperation is key to that approach, and if young people?s role is fundamental in making that happen: How can young people work together to address sustainable development issues beyond Rio+20? How can the current leaders intertwine their efforts with those of youth?
Discussion would revolve around the key priorities for the global youth movement for sustainable development. Which should be the focus for a joint effort?
Among the alternatives:
- making the green economy happen through youth-led entrepreneurial efforts
- developing the SDGs and integrating youth in the post-MDGs agenda
- focusing on education (formal, informal, non-formal) and peer-to-peer communication
The form of such cooperation will also be touched on. An online platform? An independent alliance? A strengthened Major Group for Children & Youth? Or other alternatives for working together beyond Rio+20?
The side event will be structured as a public debate. Experts, youth leaders and other stakeholders will present specific options for moving forward. The audience will be involved in a Q&A at first, and then asked to vote informally on which scenario among those presented has been more convincing. The event will end with a chance for participants to network with each other.
Speakers/panelists represent different areas and include youth leaders as well as current leaders such as David Nabarro (UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition) and Janez Potočnik (European Commissioner for the Environment). Audience members will be complemented with other stakeholders whose partnership will be fundamental in making the youth movement flourish.
4. VIRTUAL PARTICIPATION
In order to better prepare for the side event, and interact with those who?re not able to join us at RioCentro, there will be three parallel efforts:
- the day of the side event will be recognized as a ?Youth Movement Strategy Day? by all youth-focused stakeholders, who would be carrying out internal consultations in their organizations and networks, and report back afterwards;
- the global conversation would be joined by people on Twitter (hashtag: #beyondrio);
- a photo-video booth outside of RioCentro and in the People?s Summit area would be available, for people to watch what is happening at the side event and interact (through video and Twitter); this booth will ?pick-up? the pulse of voices normally excluded from these kind of UN conversations.