Side Event at ECOSOC Youth Forum Highlights Youth-Led Sustainability Initiatives

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  • 2023•05•12     Online

    On 26 April 2023, UNU-IAS organised an online side event of the 2023 ECOSOC Youth Forum on the theme “From Ideas to Action: RCE Youth Projects on Multistakeholder Partnerships”. Highlighting youth commitment to environmental sustainability, the event discussed best practices from across the global network of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCEs).

    In opening remarks, Jyuri Michino (Programme Assistant, UNU-IAS) introduced the Global RCE Network, which aims to contribute to sustainable development through education and learning. Among other goals, RCEs focus on SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals), promoting collaborative efforts through their multi-stakeholder networks in local communities.

    Evance Ouya (RCE North Rift, Kenya) discussed the role of youth in Africa in achieving the SDGs. RCE South Rift has been promoting climate action through partnerships with local administrators, school children, communities, and NGOs, while RCE North Rift has organised conferences, walks, and games. Mr Ouya emphasised that by adopting innovative approaches such as community forest associations, youth can play a vital part in reducing poverty and achieving other global goals. Oriana Silva (RCE North Texas, USA) introduced Sustainable Age — Student Journal, a project promoting sustainability through academic writing. The project started locally at Dallas College but expanded to include students and professors from universities across the USA. Representing the youth team from Europe, Aukje Sina Zijlstra (RCE Fryslân, the Netherlands) discussed collaboration between the RCEs and their focus on connecting students with society and nature. By providing opportunities for learning and problem-solving, the team aims to empower youth to become agents of change.

    A Q&A session emphasised collaboration and amplifying youth voices for sustainability efforts. RCE representatives called for financial support, mentorship, training, and other resources to support youth-led initiatives. They urged involvement of young people in fundraising activities. As the global RCE network continues to champion the voices of youth, their collective efforts are creating a lasting impact and paving the way for a more sustainable world.