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AfricaCO2e @COP22 - Morocco

posted Nov 13, 2016, 3:20 PM by Sven AERTS   [ updated Nov 14, 2016, 8:27 AM ]
AfricaCO2e, it's youth section and its Leadership Development Institute & Academy has been giving courses, workshops and has been coaching several youth organisations @COP22 - Morocco.  Here is the main tangible that came out of them:


Objective:  COP22 wil only be a success if gvt leaders decide to reserve a % of the climate funds to youth and youth led climate actions every year for the next decades.

Adults often have vested interests in the fossil economy, many even in fossil companies. The other adults are struggling to make a living / survive.  Change by adults is therefore SLOW.  Too slow:
  1. http://400.350.org/
  2. http://svenaerts228.blogspot.be/2010/02/please-add-column.html

Youth as Vectors of Change, non-formall education and the importance of Youth organisations

Youth on the other hand are in an age and/or situation where they have nothing to lose, they are open to interesting knowledge, they are eager to learn, to participate to be concrete and engage in sensible actions that help them in their future projects.  

Formal education is education where an adult is a teacher and in a class room situation.  Many schools include courses on environmental awareness / world orientation that aim directly at helping youngsters understand the world, get their priorities right, find their place in the world.  They learn about pollution and what they can do: put waste in the dustbin, don't throw it in nature because you would be surprised on how long it stays in there, etc.  
Non-formal education is education youth gets by participating in youth organisations: often the best teacher for a youngster is another youngster who is a little bit older or with relevant skills the other kid wants to acquire.  In non-fomal education situations, youth can put in practice, the theory, what they've learned and experiment, become better at it and if experiments go wrong they don't have too devastating impacts on the youngster at hand and they can recuperate.  In most cases the group corrects excessive or non-acceptable behavior.  And some adolescents just listen much better to peers than to their adults. :)  Other youth are very complementary to parents and at achieving results.  Youth can also risk things that adults can't: maybe there is a potential loss of face when presenting too risky or too unacceptable things.  Youngsters may get away with such things.

That is why - at the end of World War II - it was decided that all adult organisations create an independent youth entity: sports, nature, arts, ... .  And make all these youth organisations make their members travel across countries and borders, so they can get to meet their peers from other regions who share the same interest.  That way, they would make friends all over the regions and the world and in case of the outbreak of a conflict, it was hoped that these youngsters - who turn into young adults and adults after only a couple of years - would have made networks that are strong enough to act as a counter force against the negative - belligerent forces of the conflict.  I have witnessed this myself at the time of the Cold War between the West and the USSR.

Youth Environment Europe - Members map


I was active in the federation of all Youth Environmental organisations in Europe: www.YEEnet.eu .  We had members both in the West and the USSR.  We organised many international trainingscourses with both young nature lovers / environmentally active youth from both Western and USSR regions.  Many became friends and they had a counter balance to all the "war talk".  This helped to topple e.g. the Berlin Wall and fill in the blanks after the collapse: the number of trainingscourses increased, knowledge was transferred, etc.

The budgets for these camps, trainingscourses and conferences came from the national budgets for youth in the ministries of youth and education.

It is a pitty that many of the formal structures - created in the last months and years of World War II did not survive because it left many youngsters without any support.  E.g. during WWII it became clear to humanity, we didn't know much about our planet, not even our own civilization.  There was no list with places NOT to bomb.  Therefore www.unesco.org was created.  One of the things they were set out to do is to make a list of all those NOT to bomb places: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/ - the World Heritage List.  Another entity was created by UNESCO to inventorise what and how many plants and animals lived where: the International Union for the Conservation, Protection and Study of Nature - the IUCN and their IUCN Red List of Threatened Species www.iucnredlist.org . 

They created a youth section: the IYF - International Youth Federation (for the Conservation, Protection and Study of Nature ). Youth Environment Europe -  www.YEEnet.eu - was the European branch.  The branched for Asia, Africa, Australia & Oceania, North and South America collapsed after dispute and because of not enough experience at the adult organisations on how to deal with "impolite youngsters".  Now, adults know better, the world knows about non-formal education, the strengths and weaknesses and how to deal with e.g. impolite behavior better.  (More: https://sites.google.com/site/yeeseniors/the-history-of-youth-environmental-organizations-from-world-war-ii-till-now).

Unfortunately these international youth branches have not been re-created yet, nor has the funding been put in place.  The world needs stable youth organisations, where - through non-formal education, young people can improve themselves in a region nearby, where they can improve and formulate what they want and also how much money they need for it.

A common mistake: 99% of youngsters don't want to be the president of a youth organisation, so we have to cherish those who do like this

Let me illustrate this.  Most youngsters want to play sports, play music, go into nature.  They don't want to be in charge of the organisation because they you have to spend time drafting budgets, filling out forms, going to international meetings, etc.   The more you get into that, the less you will actually play sports, play music, go into nature.  
Youth - as defined by the United Nations - is the age group of 15 to 25.  Before that you're classified as youngsters and kids and the age of 20 to 35 is defined as young adults.   It is only as youngsters get involved in youth organisations, and see what older youngsters are doing there, and capable of seeing, meeting, talking to those in charge of the formal organisation that youngsters start deciding if that is something they actually would like taking over and doing themselves or rather stick to the results of the organisation and play sports, play music, go into nature.  These youth organisations are the breeding grounds for happiness, but also for sports talents and also future managers of cabinets of ministers, public institutions, companies or ministers and CEO's.  In Youth organisations, Youngsters are given a place and budget to find out what they want to do in the next couple of 5-10 years, maybe even find a life long vocation, experiment, make mistakes, improve, excel.

Adults must give youngsters a yearly budget for the next decades to establish stable youth organisation, so that youngsters can fulfill their role of vectors of change in society to the fullest


If I may apply it to Climate Change and Nature Conservation.  I often see slogans "Youth, it is our Future".  So then, where is Youth's money?  Climate Change, an Adults Problem, Youth has to solve it? Without the proper structures, space like offices, workshops and playgrounds, without budget? Let's be real.

Youth will experience the negative impacts.  The quick changes in societies' behavior? Adults can't turn the ship fast enough.  It is all hands on deck: adults can's solve this one, they need youth as vectors of fast change in society.  Let me give you an example: how many parents have learned how to use a smart phone or - that you can put apps - or that there is a calendar and an address book in a smart phone?  Play grounds are true laboratories where youngsters exchange info.  One has found out this, another something else, you see them swarm around those who discovered something of interest and in a minimum of time, all kids who are interested have the info and then the magic happens: they take that knowledge and skills back home and share it with their parents and other members of the family.  That is how fast change happens thanks to youngsters and youth.  In a matter of weeks, months, they share relevant knowledge with their parents and family and thus bring about change, not only in their families but - as you add-up all these families - they bring about change in society.  So youth, non-formal education, youth organisations are worthy of a budget, offices/playgrounds/ workshops, where they can do their thing as it brings about the required changes to society in a quick and efficient way.

How to get the message out that - in order to have quick changes e.g. to solve the climate change issue - governments/adult organisations should give youngsters a yearly budget for the next decades to establish stable youth organisation, so that youngsters can fulfill their role of vectors of change in society to the fullest

Develop a tangible, make your wish visual so the press can take pictures of your claim.  "A picture says more than a 1000 words."  That's why we've developed a document that youth leaders can wave with / can show the press to support their claim.  Here is the document: 

COP22 Annual budget for Climate Actions by Youth per country - Country List


And here is how it is used in the media / here in twitter:


If you think we are concrete and efficient and for more info or hiring us as coaches: contact us. :)
Sincerely, Sven AERTS - 20161109.
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