Kenyan youth representing 24 local NGOs working with young people came together last week to deliberate and provide input into the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 4-6, 2012.
Rio +20 marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Rio+20 will focus on two themes: the green economy, in the context of sustainable development, and poverty eradication.
The meeting, held at the UN in Nairobi, was part of the "Road to Rio", a process established by Peacechild, a prominent international youth NGO. The purpose of these meetings is to allow youth from different regions of the world to input into Rio +20. The culmination of the Kenya meeting was the release of the Nairobi Declaration. The Declaration reflected concerns of youth in regards to issues such as the need for a green economy, urbanisation, sustainability, and the roles and responsibilities of youth themselves in bringing this about.
The declaration was presented to Doug Ragan of UN-Habitat's Partners and Youth Branch, Gertrude Ngenda of UNEP's Regional Office for Africa, and Tabitha Atieno of Kenya's National Youth Council. All three stated how impressed they were by the quality of the Kenyan youth's declaration. Ms Ngenda urged the youth to introduce their statement to the Kenyan National Process for Rio+20. Mr. Ragan urged them to disseminate the declaration online through social media, the communications channel of choice amongst the youth of today. Ms. Atieno encouraged the youth to engage with the larger Kenyan national process that is developing its platform for Rio.
The full text of the declaration can be accessed at http://www.roadtorioplus20.org/nairobi-declaration-towards-rio20