Youth to showcase their solutions to environmental challenges at UN conference

The TUNZA International Youth Conference opens at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UNEP

11 February 2013 – Some 250 youth delegates from over 100 countries will examine ways in which young people can directly tackle today’s most pressing environmental issues at a United Nations conference that kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya.

Organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the 2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference on the Environment will give young people the chance to hold discussion with health and environment experts on sustainable development, green entrepreneurship, water and reduction of food waste, among other topics.

“Through the TUNZA Conference, young people can deliver a clear message that, paradoxically, while time is running out, actions already underway across the globe hold the promise of delivering an inclusive green economy, green jobs and a sustainable century if accelerated and scaled-up,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner told youth delegates at the opening ceremony.

During the opening of the week-long conference, a new youth-edited publication, “TUNZA Acting for a Better World: GEO-5 for Youth,” was also launched. The publication spotlights innovative sustainable development projects by young people around the world ranging from a green community radio station in Cameroon to a project in Nicaragua that turns waste into durable building materials.

“GEO-5 for Youth shows that young people are trailblazers when it comes to new, creative solutions to the world’s most critical environmental challenges,” said Mr. Steiner. “In order to follow this example, and to ensure a fair share of the world’s resources for all, governments, industry and others must also commit to firm actions that can place the world on a more sustainable path.”

The publication also incorporates key findings from the UNEP Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5) report to equip young readers with the latest science-based information on the current state of the global environment, including climate change, air quality, biodiversity, land use and other areas.

“This book is not just about the environment or its problems – it is also about acting for change together,” said the GEO-5 for Youth’s editorial team, made up of three young environmentalists. “Its aim is to show that there is hope, and that successes are happening every day. We all have a responsibility to implement sustainable solutions that will protect our future and that of coming generations. We can no longer wait for someone else to fix things for us.”

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