KATHMANDU, Sept 29: An opportunity for the youth to emerge as leaders in the direction of green economy, the five-day Asia Pacific Graduates´ Youth Forum on Green Economy concluded on September 29, 2012, in Kathmandu.
Organized by The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), the Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Asia Pacific Mountain Network (APMN) of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the forum facilitated 40 young people from different countries of the Asia-Pacific region to engage in capacity building, knowledge sharing and interactive sessions on the topic of green economy.
“This forum is a regional response to the Rio +20 conference and also links Rio with the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nationals Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” informed Tek Jung Mahat, Project Manager at ICIMOD. Four participants will be chosen to represent the region, with a declaration which has come out of this seminar, at the COP 18 being held in Doha in November 2012, he further added.
Gregory Edward Pierce, senior researcher with CCB, believes that ideas like green economy and sustainable development are often thought of as models. “The people in-charge, have a structural mindset and they often forget that there are real people being affected by environmental issues. But people who are currently in the age group of 17 to 28 have entered the earth with a changed mindset. They are breaking from the tradition that got us in this mess,” said Pierce.
The 40 participants have been chosen out of 1,000 applicants and come from diverse backgrounds which are all cross-cutting with the issue of green economy.
Participants of the Asia Pacific Graduates´ Youth Forum on Green Economy held in Kathmandu from September 25 to 29, visit the ICIMod Godavari Knowledge Park in Lalitpur. (Photo courtesy: Rizza Mendiola)
Sagar Aryal, Global Youth Board President for Plant for the Planet, was among one of the participants. A committed environmental activist, he strongly believes that the youth should be a part of the decision-making process. “If given the opportunity for advocacy and involvement, the youth have a major role in solving the pressing problems of our times,” shared Aryal who through this forum is better informed about green practices and has also increased his network with likeminded youth from other countries.
Another participant from India, Rozita Singh is a waste-management enthusiast who has an academic background in journalism and waste-management. “It’s amazing how the forum has managed to bring together a diverse group of people. Through this, I got to know another waste-management enthusiast based in Nepal and together we are now talking about replicating a compositing procedure I use back home, here in Nepal,” said Singh, pointing out the probabilities of collaboration that the forum has brought about. She also shared that she gained a lot of understanding about the subject from experts who were a part of the conference.
Along with lecture sessions on topics including low carbon growth status in Asia-Pacific region, straw-bale construction in Nepal and green entrepreneurship, participants were also exposed to the green economic, technological and livelihood options which are in practice in Nepal.
“Through this seminar, we’ve tried to not just give out knowledge but also focus on interacting with them. As organizers, we have learnt that the conventional approach of imparting knowledge doesn’t work with the youth. So along with empowering them, we also focused on helping them become informed decision-makers,” Dhiraj Pradhananga, President of SEN, said.
“Green economy has come up as a new concept but the fact is that we have been practicing in it from ages ago,” said Mahat, “The only difference is that it wasn’t visible in a large scale.” Mahat said that the main challenges were to over-rule the influence of globalization and to keep on going at the ‘green’ ways that Nepalis have always been living in. “Youth are an important pillar in overcoming this challenge,” said Mahat.
Pradhananga agreed with Mahat and emphasized on the need to fine-tune the traditional sustainable lifestyles of people. “We were already ‘green’,” said Pradhananga, “The problem is that now we are leaving those things behind.”