Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) delegates have returned from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in South America where they represented the youth of Qatar and the GCC at the 6th World Youth Congress (WYC), a forerunner to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Organised by Peace Child International, the 6th WYC brought together 350 of the world’s most dynamic young activists in the field of sustainable development from 100 different countries.
Topics on the inspirational WYC Programme included sustainable development, the task of youth in the development process, climate change, leadership, communications, dialogue with others, suggested solutions towards sustainable development, creating more jobs for youth, and the responsibility of youth towards the environment.
Several speeches urged all WYC youth delegates to unleash their potential, initiate change in their communities and raise the environmental awareness in their countries. As well as participating in the many workshops, round tables and networking events throughout the 10-day congress, WYC organisers prepared a tourism programme to introduce participants to the landmarks of Rio De Janeiro.
“The WYC was a fantastic opportunity to engage with youth leaders to ensure the voice of GCC youth was heard, understood and respected on the global stage. The GCC Youth Statement which emerged from the ROTA EMPOWER Annual Youth Conference in April was widely welcomed,” says ROTA’s Qatar Youth and Community Development Manager, Abdullah Albakri.
ROTA representatives also teamed up in their ‘clans’ to join forces with Rio De Janeiro communities to undertake large-scale action projects with community members in partnership with local organisations and municipalities.
Living in a region where economies are dominated by energy output, the GCC Youth Statement recommends governments develop laws to ensure that 10% of Gulf region energy comes from renewable / sustainable sources by 2020; 20% by 2030; 50% by 2050.
“The congress offered a unique opportunity for ROTA to meet and work alongside young people who are really doing things and going places. We left Rio even more committed to achieve sustainability than when we arrived and we hope to build on the new network of friends we made in Brazil,” added Abdullah Albakri.
WYC roundtable discussions tackled many of the sustainability issues raised during the recent EMPOWER Annual Youth Conference such as Green Schools, 20 Solutions for a Sustainable Future and Youth Leadership and Green Economy in Fostering Sustainable Development.
Offering delegates numerous learning and networking options, the WYC programme included also included diverse workshops to meet everyone’s needs including What is the role of faith and spirituality in sustainable development?, How much development and prosperity is enough for a human family of 9 billion people?, and Eco-feminism: The intersection between ecology and feminism.
”Youth Conference is considered one of the most important global gatherings and witnesses a high level of participation from around the world. The conference focuses on topics of critical interest to youth, raising youth awareness, encouraging and inspiring young people to take the initiative and lead their communities for better and instilling in them the concept of citizenship,” says ROTA Executive Director Mr. Essa Al Mannai.
“Such gatherings allow youth to convey their opinions and visions to the international organizations of the world and contribute towards rapprochement between the youth of the world on one hand and allow the youth themselves to understand and accept each other and respect everyone on the other hand.”
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