Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) dispatched two young people to represent Qatar at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, being hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20-22 June.
Khalid Al Hamar and Abdulaziz Al Fehani are travelling to South America to support ROTA in communicating the GCC Youth Statement on Sustainable Development which emerged from a 350-strong youth-led debate at the EMPOWER Youth Conference 2012 back in April.
In a region where economies are dominated by energy output, the EMPOWER GCC Youth Statement suggests developing a policy to ensure that 10% of Gulf region energy comes from renewable / sustainable sources by 2020; 20% by 2030; 50% by 2050. These challenging targets can be achieved, EMPOWER delegates believe, with the support of research and development by the GCC Scientific Excellence in Sustainability research network.
Recognising the problems associated with an economy based on a single, hydrocarbon export, the statement calls upon governments, the private sector and educational establishments to develop policies which transform economies into ones built upon diversified industries, agriculture, fisheries, as well as job-creating / income-generating activities that conserve resources for future generations.
“All GCC youth recognise that the teachings of the Prophet and the Holy Qura’n call on us to revere, conserve and treasure the precious environment of our planet, and secure the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This is also a central pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030,” says the GCC Youth Statement on Sustainable Development.
Qatari and GCC youth delegates attending ROTA’s EMPOWER 2012 Youth Conference identified schools and educational institutions as key venues in which to raise awareness of the issues under discussion at Rio+20, calling upon regional governments, Ministers of Education and Culture and media organisations, university and school principals and teachers to introduce a Green Energy syllabus in all schools.
“We want everyone at Rio+20 to know about The GCC Sustainable Development statement and how the young people of the Middle East, whose country’s economies rely on extracting the planet’s natural resources, are educating and informing their governments about their responsibility to conserve the environment,” says ROTA delegate to Rio+20, Khalid Al Hamar.
“Thanks to ROTA, Rio+20 will be a fantastic opportunity to meet youth from all over the world as they focus attention on important global issues including the ‘green economy’, the institutional framework for sustainable development, and securing renewable political commitment for sustainable development.”
In addition to addressing the main conference, Khalid and Abdulaziz will promote the GCC Youth Statement on Sustainable Development through involvement in the People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice, the Third Preparatory Committee and The United Nations Conference of Youth to the Rio+20, known as the “Youth Blast”.
During their visit to the World Youth Congress, both ROTA representatives will participate in a series of themed ‘action days’ organized by the government of Brazil. In all, nine ‘action days’ focused on youth solutions for some of the world’s most pressing sustainable development issues including Food and nutrition security, Sustainable Development and the eradication of poverty, Sustainable Development as the answer to economic and financial crises, The economics of sustainable development, Sustainable Cities, Unemployment and migration, Sustainable energy for all, Water, and Oceans.
“The EMPOWER Youth Statement for Sustainable Development outlines a comprehensive and inclusive Green Transition Plan on behalf of the peoples and nations of the Gulf Region,” says ROTA Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai. “Rio+20 is where decisions on the future of our planet will be made and ROTA ishonored to present the wishes of GCC youth to world leaders as they renew their political commitments for sustainable development.”
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