Press releases

Friday 22 Aug 2003

Young environmentalists en route to Dubna, Russia for United Nations conference

Young environmentalists from more than 60 countries are meeting in Russia next week to discuss environmental topics vital to sustainable development in the 21st century.

Nairobi/Dubna, Russia , 21 August 2003 - Young environmentalists from more than 60 countries are meeting in Russia next week to discuss environmental topics vital to sustainable development in the 21st century.

The Tunza International Youth Conference, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of the Moscow Region, will take place in Dubna, Russia from 25 to 27 August 2003. 

The Conference will feature the launch of a new UNEP State of the Environment Report prepared by and for young people entitled  Tunza:  Acting for a Better World. 

The book contains tips on how to carry out community based environmental projects, from setting up a recycling scheme to lobbying local authorities and government for meaningful and long-lasting environmental change. It also contains experience and advice from young people who are already making a difference.

"Young people have a critical role to play in shaping the environment and helping to deliver a less poverty-riven world now and in the future," said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP co-chairman of the conference alongside Boris Gromov, Governor of the Moscow Region. "Young people can have a great deal of influence on their peers and elders in terms of promoting the new ideas we so urgently need to give the planet a fresh start," he said.

The 150 participants, aged from 15 to 24, will work to produce three major outcomes from the conference: a series of regional action plans, ten commitments on sustainable development, and the compilation of a how-to-do online database and action kit.

Among the workshops which are planned are those on project design, fund-raising, income-generating environmental projects, leadership and communicating for change, and networking at community, regional and global levels. 

The participants will also hold discussions on the implementation of a long-term strategy*  to engage children and youth in environmental decision making and action, at the community level and regionally. 
The conference will also elect the members of the Tunza Youth Advisory Council -- a group of representatives who advise UNEP on better ways of engaging and involving young people in its activities.  The Council also represents young people in international environmental processes.

Dubna University and the City of Dubna, together with the UNEP National Committee for Russia are among the organizers of the Tunza Conference.

UNEP News Release 2003/45

For more information, please contact:  Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP's Division of Communications and Public Information on Tel.:  254 (0)20 623292; Mobile 254 (0) 733-682656; Email:  eric.falt@unep.org, or Theodore Oben, Head of UNEP's Children and Youth Unit, on Tel.: 254 (02)20 623262; Email: theodore.oben@unep.org 

Note to Editors:

*The strategy, named Tunza, was  adopted by UNEP's twenty-second Governing Council session held in February this year. Tunza means ‘to treat with care and affection’ in the Kiswahili language of Kenya, where UNEP is based.

Plans are already well under way for the Tunza International Children's Conferences to be held in New London, Connecticut in July 2004 and in Aicha, Japan in 2005.  The application process for next year's conference will start in September 2003.

Friday 22 Aug 2003
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