24 August 2007 More than 180 young people from 85 countries will meet in Germany next week in a United Nations-sponsored conference to discuss the ways in which technology can be used to promote environmental protection.
“Our hope is that on the basis of discussions at this Conference, 180 young people will return to their communities and nations and become beacons of activities and also motivators for many others to play a part in addressing environmental challenges” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said today.
“Technology in service of the environment” is the theme of the third Tunza International Youth Conference, organized by UNEP in Leverkusen, Germany, from 26 to 30 August. The participants, aged 15 to 24, are all involved in environmental activities in their respective countries.
Meeting at the headquarters of Bayer, the health care giant which is the largest sponsor of UNEP’s children and youth activities, the youngsters will discuss climate change, clean development and renewable energy, participating in workshops and field trips to experience first-hand how technology and environment can go hand-in-hand.
The Tunza Conference, which derives its name from a Kiswahili word meaning “to treat with care and affection” or “to nurture,” will reinforce the links between a growing network of young people working with UNEP on various environmental issues.
At the end of the Conference the participants will elect a new Tunza Youth Advisory Council, with two advisors for each of the six UNEP regions - Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia - and two advisors representing indigenous youth organizations.
The Council’s main objective is to represent youth in international environmental fora and to make their voices heard. The Council also advises UNEP on better ways of engaging young people in its work..
“We are looking forward to welcoming young environmental protection activists from all over the world to Bayer,” Bayer Board of Management Chairman Werner Wenning said. “This Conference is a further milestone of our partnership with UNEP.”
The Tunza Programme, endorsed in 2003, is a comprehensive six-year strategy to promote the participation of children and youth in every part of the world in environmental activities. It focuses on four thematic areas: awareness building, capacity building, information exchange, and facilitating the involvement of young people in environmental decision making