The history of Youth Environmental Organizations, from World War II till now.

During World War II, 1944 - as leaders from all over the planet gathered in a systematic way - actually for the first time in humanities'history - humanity realized that we were not going to survive a World War III that was probably going to be fought with nuclear missiles.  The United Nations was set-up and leaders there started to gather strategies how to never have another World War / War again, ever.
The role of youth as a means to embed peace into society and to never have a World War III was officialized by ordering the UNESCO to kick-start youth entities in a number of adult organisations.  Example: the sports organisations were asked to set-up a league for youth sports.
UNESCO's IUCN started-up its youth organisation: the International Youth Federation for the Conservation, Protection and Study of Nature.
The idea was to let youth with similar interests participate in exchanges, get to know each other, organize things they care about together, make friends, fall in love - why not, and that way - in case a tension would arise somewhere - this network, embedded in society, would hopefully mobilize enough forces to calm down the situation again with youth - now young adults or adults - would call their friends and see what the heck is going on and resist the war-mongering fractions and come with a positive memories and actions.

If you are interested, you can read and help working out this article on the wikipedia:

More specifically on 'The history of Youth Environmental Organizations, from World War II till now"
  1. YEE=Youth Environment Europe (1) 
    1. is the European Branch of and has been created in 1983 by the
  2. IYF= "International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature" (2) renamed to 
    1. International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (IYF) (3), and has been created in 1956 under the auspices of the
  3. IUCN =International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources since called the World Conservation Union (4) (5), which has been created in 1948 by the 
  4. UNESCO= United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, (6) which was established on 16th of November 1945 as result of the second World War.

1. As per

2. cf. interview with Marc Pallemaerts-Belgium/Created YEE) and Myriam Dumortier. 

3. As per

Note: there are two organisations in the world that use the IYF abbreviation... the USA based IYF; they just use the same abbreviation (as per email contact with president of IYF-USA)

4. cf. interview Sven AERTS (YEE member) with Marc Pallemaerts-Belgium/Created YEE)

5. cf.

6. cf.


I (skype SvenAERTS) was just reading
That's not how I remember it.
It would be more correct if IYF and YEE were mentioned.
EYFA - the European Youth Forest Action came out of YEE members mainly from Scandinavia and Germany who suffered a lot from acid rain.
One of the Actions was the bike tour as was mentioned, and setting up a camp "Ecotopia" where we experimented with all kind of self-sufficient living techniques, like solar collectors, water filters, solar showers, ... . And where we also thought about how to incorporate the value of natures and environmental factors into the economy - hence the ECO and ECO Rates and Convertor-Calculator.
As the acid rain problem was solved, I never understood why those people didn't come back under YEE and IYF where we also suffered from a lack of staff / youth who wanted to take up responsibility.
IYF has e.g. collapsed because of all this dispersion. And environmentally active youngsters still suffer from that until today. The Green Economy is a fact, there's a lot of green multi-millionaires, some former YEE members have e.g. made it to ministers in their countries and are rich. I just can't understand why these people don't support the movements where they came from financially. And likewise I don't understand why YEE members don't fundraise with Green Economy companies.

For your consideration:

- IUCN was created in 1948, IYF in 1956, the WWF was created in ... look at their differences in popularity, isn't that astonishing ?

I have found only lower mentioned 2 sites with a reference to IYF... I fear that IYF is dead !


International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (IYF)

c/o Youth and Environment Europe, listed below. Founded 1956 under the auspices of IUCN. A federation of regional, national, and local self-governing youth organizations concerned with the study and conservation of the environment. Supports the work and coordinates the activities of member organizations; promotes the development of a voluntary youth movement for conservation throughout the world; acts as a world forum of young environmentalists.  

(as per


International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (IYF) 


Self-governing in this context means that these organisations are administered and all their activities organised and carried out exclusively by young people under 30 years of age. The Federation organizes and encourages all that might increase the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of nature and the awareness of environmental problems among young people throughout the world. This is in order to promote the commitment of youth to the principles of environmental conservation and to stimulate young people's voluntary action for the protection and enhancement of the environment, natural and man-made alike, and for the rational use of the Earth's resources.


IYF was founded in 1956 in Salzburg, Austria under the name "International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature" under the sponsorship of IUCN at the joint initiative of the then existing conservation youth associations in Western Europe and of IUCN.

In the first 15 years of its existence, IYF's activities were mainly restricted to north-west and east Europe, although contacts with young environmentalists in south Europe and in other continents existed. IYF started to broaden its geographical scope in the 1970's. The Federation played an important role in the preparations and setting up of a world youth forum during the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, in 1972. This was preceded by the International Youth Conference "Youth and Environmental Action," Canada, 1971, which was co-organised by IYF.

In 1975 the real expansion commenced, with Training Courses for Youth Leaders in India and Hong Kong. Also in East Africa a regional office was set up for some time, to organise the Youth Leader Training Course in Kenya in 1979.

In the second half of the 1970's and early 1980's, youth environmental activities at the international level grew rapidly in Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the socialist countries. As a result, IYF was losing rapidly its predominantly European character. There was a strong need for regional programmes and regional governing structures.

IYF has developed into a network of youth conservation organisations in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, which encompass 130 affiliated organisations in 54 countries. Most member organisations were established independently from IYF and joined the Federation after a few years of existence; others, more recently, were set up with active IYF support. However, all are entirely autonomous and have their own specific character, varying from broad national organisations consisting of many local branches to university-based student groups.

I interviewed Marc Pallemaerts (cf. picture) who created YEE.  Note: Dhr Marc PALLEMAERTS heeft nog archieven.  Note by Sven AERTS : Marc PALLEMAERTS has passed away 

4th September 1960 to 2nd May 2014 at the age of only 53. ;(

More: - Institute for European Environmental Policy

I interviewed Myriam Dumortier in 2014 11 28 when I she came to me after my intervention at a EuropAid lunchtime conference on Biodiversity - BEST, when I asked the lecturers what their strategy was on involving youth and thus advised them to take up contact at get YEE involved.  Myriam was also at that lunchtime conference and gave me a bit of time and her contact details.  She told me she actually travelled to IYF meetings in Latin America and Asia, a.o. with a stack of very beautiful drawings and illustrations for Taraxacum - the magazine of the IYF -  International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (you can easily find mentions of Taraxacum IYF on google), made by a member in Latin America and brought them to an IYF meeting in Asia to hand them over to the Taraxacum team.  She confirms that an Indian member had demanded and got the responsibility to be the president of IYF, but then apparently didn't live up to the responsibilities as per what Adelheid BYTTEBIER told me as I interviewed her.  Myriam and me agree that IUCN made a terrible mistake not to cherish the IYF more and instead break all ties with it as it killed Youth Environment Organisations from kickstarting anywhere but Europe and up to now there is no overarching organisation where all Environment Youth Organisations worldwide meet, coordinate actions, support each other, .. there are not even any funds for it anymore.  IUCN is still suffering from amnesia = not enough youth environmental bred young adults flowing into the organisation - and alzheimer = the average age of IUCN is growing and growing.  I don't know of any organisation that doesn't have an alumni organisation or wastes it's network like that.


IYF sees the natural environment in the context of the total environment, social as well as natural. Therefore IYF does not divorce the study and conservation of nature from social and political awareness and action. As environmental problems recognise no frontiers, we act together.

Important aspects of the environmental crises are:

* senseless drain on human and natural resources in wasteful technology, such as military armament; 

* the unequal distribution of wealth between industrialised and less-developed countries and between different sectors of the community within each country; 

* economic systems governed solely by the profit motive and aimed at growth through induced over-consumption of natural resources; 

* the alienation of man from the natural environment; 

* overpopulation; 

* increasing centralisation of society and economy preventing people from determining their own way of life and participating in environmental decision-making; 

* pollution; 

* the degradation of ecosystems; 

* scarcity of natural resources.

IYF resolves to promote, in the context of a long-term perspective, the conservation and proper disposition of the world's resources, and the creation of better living conditions in harmony with the environment. In particular, IYF will work to involve young people, especially those in our member organisations, in environmental acitivities and to bring them in contact with nature; to create public awareness and knowledge of environmental problems.


Most of IYF's activities are those carried out at the national and local level by its member organisations. These activities range from nature studies outings and camps about practical conservation work in endangered habitats to public awareness actions on wider environmental issues such as pollution, energy, waste of natural resources, etc. The main aim and most direct result of such activities is out-of-school environmental education of youth.

The primary task of IYF at the international level is to support and promote those voluntary national and local youth activities in the field of conservation. IYF's international activities fall into four main areas:

a. supporting the work of the member organisations by promoting the widest possible exchange of information, ideas and experience among them, through publications, exchange of camp participants, and international meetings on topics of common concern; 

b. Coordinating the activities of the member organisations by promoting direct cooperation between individual member groups on topics of mutual interest, and by organising joint action and campaigns on environmental issues of international importance; 

c. Promoting the development of the voluntary youth movement for conservation throughout the world, and in particular the establishment of youth environmental organisations in countries where they do not yet exist, by providing information, moral and material support to active individual young conservationists and by organising youth leader training courses in environmental education; 

d. Acting as a world forum of young environmentalists and representing the youth movement for conservation vis-a-vis international organisations, in particular other environmental organisations and other international youth NGO's.

IYF World Secretariat

Suresh. N

World Secretary,T.C.36/626, Trivandrum - 8

Pin 695 008 - Kerala


Fax: 91-471-446859 (Attn. IYF)

Source: International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation

as per


16. The observer for the International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (IYF) said that his organization had assisted UNEP in activities to observe International Youth Year. Those activities were not matched by an appropriate level of concern for youth in the speeches of the members of the Governing Council at its current session. It should be recognized that youth organizations made a remarkable contribution in stimulating public concern for the environment and in eco-restoration programes. as was demonstrated by UNEP-sponsored IYF activities. Youth claimed the right to be heard when decisions were made on matters that concerned the future. He urged the Council to give the UNEP secretariat a mandate to catalyse youth activities around the world as part of a broad NGO programme. When the programme of the proposed 1992 United Nations conference on environment and development was formulated, a youth forum should be included, similar to that held as part of the preparations for the Stockholm Conference. The outcome of discussions for a convention on biodiversity should not, he warned, be the creation of an instrument to legitimize gene robbery by some privileged nations. He expressed the view that inadequate political will was being shown to protect the most vital ecosystem of the planet - the tropical forests - and commented on the irony that some countries in the low-income group would experience an unduly high share of the world-wide sufferings that climate change might cause. 

as per


Reconnecting CEC and YEE, Youth and Environment Europe 

16 August 2012 | News story

The IUCN CEC Regional Vice-Chair for Europe, Katalin Czippán, represented the Commission at the annual meeting of YEE in Oucmanice, Czech Republic.


cf  Interview with Myriam Dumortier. I have to follow up: 

"Myriam wordt door EC als gesprekspartner

EEB=Europen Environmental Bureau

Ken je Synergie? Gestart uit de KUL of RUG?

voorzitter van IYF 1956 enkel in Europa, vanaf medio 70 ook India en Latijns Amerika, Afrika,Azië begin jaren 80 was er ook vanuit Afrika en LA om ook regionale federaties op te richten, '80-'81 statuten goedgekeurd-'83 regionalisatie doorgevoerd / for environmental studies & conservations"

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