UNEP's Tunza Youth Conference; a life changing experience

Gambian  Earth Charter Youth Group coordinator and e-GLO 2 participant Ebrima Dem was funded by UNEP to attend UNEP’s TUNZA International Children and Youth Conference. Read his report from the event and leave your comments!

Thank you Ebrima for this!
International Youth Facilitator


Tunza Children and Youth Conference; a life changing experience

“This year, I got an opportunity to be part of an energetic, enthusiastic and environmentally conscious group of young people in UNEP’s Tunza International Children and Youth Conference. This conference was held in the city of Daejeon, Republic of Korea and carried out a theme: ‘Climate Change: Our Challenge’. This event was held August 17-23, 2009 provided me an unique opportunity to represent the voices of young people from the Gambia, meet and make friends with counterparts from all over the world, learn about their activities and exchange ideas on best practices on the crucial roles young people can play in saving the environment.

I attended the conference on behalf of Global Unification- the Gambia: an Earth Charter Youth Group in the Gambia (ECYG), with the support of the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP). Global Unification (GU) is a youth-led research and development association with special focus on youth-led development and environmental sustainability. Thus, my invitation to this important gathering by UNEP was in recognition of our work in the Gambia.

The conference characterized workshops, plenary sessions and open discussions which were very educative and interesting. I learnt a lot regarding my chosen career path of youth work and environmental protection. And seeing the way young people were actively engaging environmental experts, policy makers and their unflinching concern about the future boost my morale as a youth leader. It gave me a greater sense of self confidence that we are really a force to be recon with in the global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change impact.

At the conference, I was overwhelmed for meeting Jaana Laitinen, the Earth Charter Youth Facilitator. After a year or so of email correspondences and her support, meeting her for the first time was really amazing and joyful. We had a fruitful discussion and I also got the chance to ask her a lot of questions regarding her work, this time not via internet but one-on-one! Frankly, her untiring efforts, courage and support for youth development really inspired me.”

                                  Jaana Laitinen, Fatoumatta Bah and Ebrima Dem met in South Korea

Read the Tunza final Youth Statement here.

The Earth Charter was presented in this conference both in the organization fair and in the workshop on Youth Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics.