As Youth Projects Coordinator for the Earth Charter International, I had the opportunity to attend the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Youth Conference “Youth Saves the Planet,” which took place from 14 to 16 May 2018 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. The conference brought together 70 ESD Youth Leaders who attended the training workshops organized under the PN4 flagship project, ESD journalists and reporters, and some Okayama Youth as mentors from over 60 countries. GAP Key Partners of Partner Network 4 (Youth Priority Action Area) and 14 facilitators from a range of countries also took part.
ESD Youth Leaders discussed about the scaling up of capacity-building activities as a follow-up of the “Education for Sustainable Development Leadership Training” flagship project, networking among the youth leaders as well as with Global Action Programme (GAP) partners, communication strategy to raising awareness of ESD and the future direction of ESD. The “ESD Leadership Training” is a project of the GAP on ESD with the support of Japan and curriculum made by the ECI.
During the conference, the youth had opportunities to attend different talks and sessions on various topics such as facilitation, mentorship, communication, video reporting, and writing. The journalists had assignments to produce stories about their experience at the conference to increase visibility of ESD through various communication outlets.
On the last day, we focused on how to build and maintain a network mechanism for this new ESD Youth Network. We used a World Café style activity around a google document, which was created by participant Femke Lootens with the help from facilitators. The result of this session was:
- The selection of “focal points” for each region to help organize the governance & network, and to unite around their vision to “build and develop a global network of ESD leaders who drive positive change to inspire and empower local communities to further sustainable development.”
- A slack has been set up as one form of a community wide communication channel, in addition to smaller break out Facebook and WhatsApp groups.
To close the conference, discussions and recommendations were given for the Future of ESD draft position paper, which will lay out a post-GAP vision and future action plan for promoting ESD globally and locally. The ESD leaders are currently organizing themselves into clearer roles and action areas to develop the network mechanism further. They left the conference eager to work together and to build visibility on ESD and their current projects towards building a more sustainable world.
Written by: ECI Youth Coordinator, Christine Lacayo
For media created during the conference: