Young Person’s Guide to Rio+20 and the Millennium Development Goals

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Design by Penhouse,

ECO-UNESCO Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation

Young Person’s Guide to


and the Millennium Development Goals Developed in consultation with young people at: ECO-UNESCO’s Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development A National Youth Meeting for Rio+20 Wednesday 7th March 2012, The Greenhouse

ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation affiliated to the world federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA)

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, will take place in Brazil in June 2012. It has been 20 years since the original Earth Summit took place where countries adopted Agenda 21, which was about rethinking economic growth, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection. Rio+20 is about bringing together major groups, including young people and children, international institutions, governments and major groups to agree on what can be done to reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources. Just as the first Earth Summit in 1992 gave a voice to young people, Rio+20 will be calling on young people to once again play a major role at the Summit but also in the days and years following this landmark event. Rio+20 will also shape the discussions about what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 and move the world quickly towards environmental sustainability and social justice. On Wednesday 7th March 2012, ECO-UNESCO brought together a group of 70 young people from all over Ireland to The Greenhouse, Dublin 2 to learn and share their ideas about

sustainable development while looking at the role they can play and the actions they can take around Rio+20 and the Millennium Development Goals. The Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development seminar was about the young people in Ireland looking ahead another 20 years to the world they want and the role they must play. It was about them recognizing the power they have to affect change and looking at the areas of Policy, Active Citizenship, Sustainable Development and Rio+20. This booklet has been developed with the help of the young people who attended the Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development seminar and ECO-UNESCO’s own peer educators who participated in the Youth for Sustainable Development Programme. It provides background information on Rio+20 and the Millennium Development Goals but most importantly, it equips young people with ideas on what they can do to take action and make a difference.

Elaine Nevin, National Director, ECO-UNESCO

contents Introduction 2 About ECO-UNESCO and the YSD Programme 3 What is sustainable development? 3 Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development – What is Rio+20? 4 What does Rio+20 Mean? 4 Who will be there and what will happen? 4 Goals 4 Why is it important? 4 Issues and major groups 4 Themes 5 Follow-up and the Future 5

Millennium Development Goals Background and details Beyond 2015

6 7

Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development Workshops 8 Outline of the Day 8 Taking Action with ECO-UNESCO 9 Photography Exhibition: Camera on Citizenship – Global Views 10 Interesting Links 11


Founded in 1986, ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation. ECO-UNESCO has extensive experience in the development of environmental education programmes for young people in schools, youth groups and community groups. ECO-UNESCO is affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO clubs, centres and associations (WFUCA).

ECO-UNESCO aims to: Raise environmental awareness, understanding and knowledge of the environment among young people; Promote the protection and conservation of the environment; Promote the personal development of young people through practical environmental projects and activities; Promote the ideals of UNESCO. ECO-UNESCO develops and runs environmental programmes for children and young people on a broad range of environmental issues through schools, youth organisations, community groups and local authorities. Programmes include the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards, ECO-UNESCO Clubs, Youth for Sustainable Development Programme including Peer Education, ECO-Youth Choices (drug prevention programme), Environmental Workshops and Environmental Training including FETAC accredited courses such as Introduction to Sustainable Development (L5) and Community Development (L3).

Youth for Sustainable Development Programme ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development Programme promotes Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)/Development Education (DE) in the non-formal education sector. It involves a variety of different projects which combines to build capacity and provide support for young people, and for youth workers and leaders working with young people, interested in sustainability issues. The Youth for Sustainable Development Programme, through peer education and local action projects, uses interactive learning techniques to inspire, motivate and challenge young people to take action in favour of sustainable development. The programme encourages young people to develop an awareness of global issues linking their own lives to young people in the developing world. Through art, music, games, discussion and outdoor activities, young people gain a deeper understanding of sustainable development on a local and global level.

What is Sustainable Development? Sustain… To keep in existence without diminishing, to provide sustenance and nourishment.

Develop… To bring out the capabilities or possibilities of, to bring to a more advanced or effective state

There are many definitions of sustainable development, the most common being: ‘…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs’ Bruntland Report 1987


Rio+20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development What is Rio+20? From the 20th – 22nd June 2012, Rio de Janeiro will have the world’s attention as Brazil plays host to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.

What does ‘Rio+20’ Mean? This conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21* *FYI - Agenda 21 was a plan for how to rethink economic growth, advance social fairness and ensure environmental protection for all.

Who will be there & what will happen at Rio+20? Thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other major groups will gather to agree on a variety of smart measures that can: REDUCE poverty while PROMOTING decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources

What are the Goals of Rio+20? To make sure country leaders are committed to taking action on issues of sustainable development To see what progress has been made on past agreements and what still needs to be done To deal with new and upcoming challenges

Why is it Important? The Original Earth Summit that took place 20 years ago introduced many important new ideas and policies around sustainable development Rio+20 is an opportunity to revisit the internationally agreed commitments that were developed from the Original Earth Summit to assess what progress has been achieved We need to call on our leaders to deliver on the promises and commitments made at the Original Earth Summit. Civil society (you and me) or the ‘major groups’ as the UN calls it have a role in the Rio +20 process. Children and youth have been identified specifically as one of these major groups. This is not just some Summit – this is your generation’s summit You are not alone – young people all over the world are taking action around sustainable development and Rio+20 Rio+20 is a chance to end poverty, address environmental destruction and start building a brighter future.

Major Groups (Identified in Agenda 21 at the Original Earth Summit in 1992)

Seven Priority Areas

Children and Youth Business and Industry Farmers Indigenous Peoples Local Authorities NGOs Scientific and Technological Community Women Workers and Trade Unions

The preparations for Rio+20 have highlighted seven areas which need priority attention 1. Decent jobs 2. Energy 3. Sustainable cities 4. Food security and sustainable agriculture 5. Water 6. Oceans 7. Disaster readiness


What will be talked about? There are Two Major Themes of the Conference that will be talked about:

THEME 1: GREEN ECONOMY This is looking at the link between environment and economy. It is trying to change measuring progress by how much money a country makes to one that thinks about the environment and people in this world as well! In a perfect green economy living standards would be improved in a fair way by lifting people out of poverty WITHOUT damaging environmental resources.

THEME 2: INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK This is mainly looking at how to improve the management of sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels. It is about international organisations (banks and other financial institutions), including the United Nations, better coordinating their efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Youth comprise nearly 30 per cent of the world’s population. The involvement of today’s youth in environment and development decision-making and in the implementation of programmes is critical to the long-term success of Agenda 21. (Agenda 21, Chapter 25)

Follow-up – what young people can do Focus on putting pressure on decision-makers or set up meetings to talk about how the outcomes at Rio+20 can be put into place Focus on spreading the word about what came out of Rio+20 within your local youth community Organise an event or workshop to teach people about sustainable development and what took place at Rio+20 Explaining Rio+20 and some of the difficult policy ideas using everyday language and social media Get involved in taking action toward sustainable development (see page 9 for ideas)

The Future Rio+20 is an opportunity for us to look ahead to the WORLD we want in 20 years and to define a pathway to a sustainable future with more jobs, more clean energy, greater security and a better standard of living for all. Rio is also a major landmark in the discussions about what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals after 2015 and push the world rapidly towards environmental sustainability and social justice.

“Rio+20 will be one of the most important global meetings on sustainable development in our time.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Background In 2000, 191 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and deprivation. This promise became the 8 Millennium Development Goals, with the aim of successfully achieving these goals by 2015. The Millennium Development Goals are focused on human development and human rights and they represent a global commitment and contract between all nations.

What are the Millennium Development Goals?

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger Halve the number of people living on less than $1 a day Achieve employment for women, men and young people Halve the number of people who suffer from hunger Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education By 2015, all children can complete a full course of primary schooling Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women Eliminate gender inequality in primary and secondary education by 2015 Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality Rates Reduce by 60% the mortality rate of children under 5 Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health Reduce by 75% the mortality rate of mothers who die giving birth by 2015 Achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015 Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases Stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 Achieve universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2015 Stop the occurrence of malaria and other major disease by 2015 Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability Integrate the principles of Sustainable Development into the policies of all countries and reverse the loss of environmental resources Reduce biodiversity loss by 2015 Halve the amount of people without access to safe drinking water and clean sanitation by 2015 Achieve an improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers by 2020 Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

Develop a rule-based, predictable trading and financial system Deal with the debt problem of developing countries in order to make debt sustainable Provide access to affordable, essential drugs in developing countries Make available new technologies, especially information and communication technologies


Beyond 2015 The current Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015 and so as we move closer to 2015 the question we have to ask is not whether countries will achieve these goals and targets but whether the world is prepared for beyond 2015? As we look at the world beyond 2015, we see a very different world from that of 2000 when the goals were developed. We see a world in which the problems will be those that affect the rich and the poor alike, such as climate change, increases in population and the problems of producing enough food for everyone. And so we must think about the options that we have moving into the future. We could either extend the Millennium Development Goal deadline, we could build on the improvements or we could try something completely different! When considering new goals after 2015, there are 4 key questions: 1) Are new goals needed? 2) Should these new goals be universal or just apply to the most vulnerable people? 3) How broad should they be? 4) Should the new goals be binding or just guidelines? Using these questions, nations need to work together to shape a new overarching framework for post-2015 that will look beyond our current political and economic situation and address the causes of poverty, inequality and lack of human rights in many parts of the world. For governments and international organisations, the politics of agreeing on a strong post-2015 framework are likely to prove difficult. Deep disagreements may surface between developed, emerging and developing countries. There is also a possibility that today’s economic crisis may distract leaders’ attention from longer-term challenges.

What you can do Beyond 2015 There are many organisations that you can join which have a range of views about what should be included in a post-2015 framework. One example of these organisations is the ‘Beyond 2015’ global civil society campaign which is pushing for a strong successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals. The founding principal of the ‘Beyond 2015’ campaign is the importance of a partnership between organisations from the ‘North’ and the ‘South’ and the need to bring together groups from developing and developed countries. If you are interested in getting involved with the campaign and to get your voice heard you can: Attend Irish events and discussions – many NGOs are working on the campaign here in Ireland Join a Working Group: Road to Rio+20; United Nations; Rio+20; Outreach, Concord Europe etc.


Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development A National Youth Meeting for Rio+20 Workshop 3 Policy and Active Citizenship

Opening Address Paul Cunningham, European Correspondent for RTÉ News and Author of Ireland’s Burning, spoke about his time as the Environment Correspondent for RTE News and the importance of using media to communicate messages to policy makers. He reminded the young people in attendance of the importance of activism and getting involved in the decision-making of their local councils and groups. He encouraged the young people to use media, particularly social media, to have their voices heard to bring about change on issues of the environment and sustainability.

In this workshop, participants were introduced to the idea of policy and how they may influence both Irish and European policy. It was during this workshop that participants prepared their questions on Rio+20, Irish and EU policy for the panel in the afternoon.


Panel Discussion (Policy and Rio+20) Young people had the opportunity to share their ideas and have their queries answered about their role in Sustainable Development in the upcoming Rio+20 Conference and how they can become active citizens in Ireland in order to have a positive global impact. The panel included:


Workshop 1 Sustainable Development and Rio+20

Paul Cunningham, Irish Journalist and Author

Participants were invited to explore the idea of sustainable development using Education for Sustainable Development methods. They were then encouraged to understand the significant role young people played in 1992 at the original Earth Summit where they were identified as a major stakeholder (Agenda 21). Since then young people are always invited to address the delegation at all United Nations Conferences.

Kevin Greene, Department of Environment, Community and Local Development Johnny Sheehan, National Youth Council of Ireland


Table Sessions Exploring Active Citizenship

The young people through participating in interactive activities examined the Millennium Development Goals and the priority issues being addressed at Rio+20.

Young people were divided into groups where ECO-UNESCO staff members led a discussion with the young people about what active European and global citizenship means to them. They explored what actions they could take leading up to Rio+20 and beyond.


Workshop 2 Photography and Active Citizenship A professional photographer, Clare Mulvany, led this workshop exploring the power of images with the participants and how to best capture a story or message.

Closing Address


Elaine Nevin, Director of ECO-UNESCO, closed the day by reminding the young people about the role they can play in implementing positive change. She reminded the audience that ‘it is vital that young people are given a voice.” The young people were then invited to submit photographs for the exhibition entitled Camera on Citizenship – Global Views to be displayed in The Greenhouse, home of ECO-UNESCO.


Message from the Youth in Ireland – Most Pressing Issues of our Generation The Peer educators in ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development Programme identified the following to be the most pressing sustainability issues of their generation at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference in June 2012

Society Gender Inequality Forced Migration HIV/AIDS Growing Gap between the Rich and Poor Access to Safe Drinking Water Over-consumption Human Rights Abuses

Environment Climate Change Deforestation Natural Disasters Exploitation of Natural Resources Loss Of Biodiversity Rising of sea levels Pollution

Economic Unfair Wages Unjust Trading System World Recession Food Security Unemployment Debt

How to get involved through ECO-UNESCO’s Youth Programmes Form an ECO-UNESCO Club and get your friends, school or community involved to have fun and make a difference!

‘Green Diversity’ is an ECO-UNESCO Club from Co. Galway who work together to explore environmental topics that interest them such as the effects of climate change on their local bird population. They have taken action by building bird boxes in their school and linking in with their local Bird Watch group. They also have fun using crafts, videos, online media and events to raise awareness amongst their peers. This group was named TOYOTA Club of the Year 2012 for their great work!

Join the ECO-UNESCO Youth for Sustainable Development (YSD) Programme and become an ECO-UNESCO Peer Educator

ECO-UNESCO Peer Educators enjoying one of their outdoor team-building excursions. The YSD Programme is a unique opportunity for young people to learn about sustainable development, the environment and global justice as well as developing the skills to be effective Peer Educators. It is a great way to learn, meet new friends and have fun through group action projects, art, music, games, discussion and exciting excursions.


Take part in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards, Ireland’s biggest celebration of youth ECO-Action!

Young Environmentalists from St. Joseph’s College, Co. Westmeath receiving their Overall Senior Award at the Gala Awards Ceremony and Showcase 2012 with Elaine Nevin, ECO-UNESCO National Director and Duncan Stewart, RTÉ ECO-Eye Productions. Their inspiring project ‘Wormery Works’ has had a real positive impact on the environment by introducing a wormery to their school and raising awareness about the importance of sustainable waste management in their school.

Photography Exhibition Camera on Citizenship – Global Views Young people from all over Ireland were invited to submit photographs about what it means to them to be an active European and global citizen for sustainable development. Their images could be of people taking action or something more abstract. They were asked to submit a brief description of the photograph along with an explanation about how their photograph demonstrates active citizenship for sustainable development. These photographs will be displayed in the Greenhouse before and during the Rio+20 Conference, which takes place from 20th – 22nd June 2012. The Great Wall (Msimbati, Tanzania) Paul Mc Keown, Co. Louth

To see full details and explanations of these photos, visit: ECO-UNESCO’s site at Reclaim the Streets Alia Luddy, Co. Dublin

Wither or Plant Jing Li, Co. Dublin

Time and Tide (Msimbati, Tanzania) Paul Mc Keown, Co. Louth

Recycling Eleanor Collins, Co. Clare

Fair Trade, Not Free Trade Samanta Clynch, Co. Derry

Community Compost Bin Growing Bright Ideas Ruth O’Mahony, Frances Treanor, Co. Cork Co. Monaghan

Survey on Climate Change/Eco Friendly Living Ruth O’Mahony / Muireann Hayes, Co. Cork

United We Stand, Divided We Fall Bona Mae Patlong, Co. Dublin

Different Nationalities Mariah Culloty, Co. Limerick


Decisions, Visions & Revisions Rachel Hannon, Co. Monaghan

Interesting links

Are you interested in finding out more about Sustainable Development, the Millennium Development Goals and Rio+20? Below are a few links to websites of interest that will help you in your research. You will also find a few activities to test your knowledge and skills on some of these websites… if you are ready to be challenged? ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation and is affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO clubs, centres and associations (W.F.U.C.A.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibilities for licensing, enforcement, monitoring and assessment activities associated with government agencies and departments that have responsibility for environmental protection. Beyond 2015 is a global civil society campaign, pushing for a strong and legitimate framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The campaign is international and ranges from small community-based organisation to international NGOs. The founding principal of the campaign is that there needs to be a partnership between civil society organisations from the ‘North’ and the ‘South’ – bringing together groups from developing and developed economies. This is the official United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development website for Rio+20. It goes into great detail on all aspects of Rio+20, including the themes of green economy and institutional framework, the seven key issues that need to be addressed in global society and the different meetings that are to be held on the lead up to June 2012 and over the course of the 3 days of the conference. Road to Rio+20 is a campaign aimed at motivating, inspiring, engaging and supporting young people to take action on issues of sustainable development and influence the outcomes of Rio+20. The campaign gives support to the initiatives that various youth and youthled communities, groups and organisations are taking on sustainable development issues and the website is the main platform where those initiatives are presented and untied through the common thread of taking action towards Rio+20. This is a website set up by the group ‘Stakeholder Forum’, and international multi-stakeholder organisation working on sustainable development. It acts as an information hub to provide updates, background information and analysis towards Rio+20. This is the official United Nations website for the Millennium Development Goals. It offers a gateway to the UN system’s work on the 8 goals that are to be achieved by 2015. It gives a background to each of the goals and the main targets that need to be reached to accomplish the goals. It also gives reports on the status of the goals to date and what projects have been put in place to attempt to achieve the goals by 2015. The website also focuses on Beyond 2015, and what the UN plans to do once the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is upon us. This is an interactive website detailing each of the Millennium Development Goals and the various targets that we need to reach in order to achieve these goals. It also details the processes involved in putting the goals into action and allows us to track the progress of each of the goals to date. ‘Friends of the Earth’ campaigns for environmental justice and sustainability. Internationally, it is the world’s largest network of environmental groups with over one million supporters and campaigners in 70 countries. Stop Climate Chaos is a coalition of civil society organisations campaigning to ensure Ireland plays its part in preventing runaway Climate Change. Current members include development, environmental, faith based and youth organisations including ECO-UNESCO.

Acknowledgements Global Youth Citizens for Sustainable Development: A National Youth Meeting © ECO-UNESCO 2011 All rights reserved Published by: ECO-UNESCO 2011 (Registered Charity No. CHY 7225) Compiled by: Megan Noah, Shawna Cleary, Rachel Gilliland Edited by: Elaine Nevin Design: Penhouse Design | Print: Grehan Printers Ltd Printed on: 100% recycled uncoated paper


ECO-UNESCO, The Greenhouse 17 St Andrew Street, Dublin 2 Tel: +353 (0) 1 662 5491 Fax: +353 (01) 1 6625493 Email: Web:

This booklet was developed with the support of:

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

ECO-UNESCO is supported by:

ECO-UNESCO is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with support of the National Lottery Fund

ECO-UNESCO is part funded by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government through the Irish Environmnetal Network

Design by Penhouse,

ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development Programme is funded by: