Walking the Talk with Ghanaian Youth and Children after Rio+20

Background Information
Rio+20 is a Sustainable Development conference organized by the UN for governments with some members of Civil Society attending. It was a 2 days’ event that focused on two themes

(a) Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
(b) The institutional framework for sustainable development.
The objective conference was to have governments commit to sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.

The Conference took place in Brazil on 20th -22nd June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It was envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government, Children and Youth, teachers, consumers, workers, business persons, farmers, researchers, activists, indigenous communities, and other communities of interest. The Conference saw the release of an outcome document also referred to as the “The Future we Want” which reaffirms international commitment for sustainable development. It also called on governments to immediately develop and implement National Strategies for Sustainable Development (NSSDs).

As part of the National strategy the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is collaborating with Greener Impact International; a youth-led non-organization to organize this conference to educate the Ghanaian youth and children about sustainable development and also to empower them to take up initiatives as youth in their communities to promote and facilitate the sustainable development goals.

Rational for the 1ST Ghana Children and Youth Conference on Sustainable Development
Children and Youth comprise nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population. According to the 2000 Ghana housing and population census the youth in Ghana constitute about 33% of Ghana’s population. The Youth are a major source of human capital and key agents for sociocultural, economic, and political development as well as technological innovation worldwide. Their imagination, ideals, energies and vision are essential for the continuing development of societies. Their training, development, intellectual perspectives and productive ability are key determinants of the progress and future of societies. The involvement of today’s Children and Youth in environment and development decision-making and in the implementation of policies is critical to the long-term success of sustainable development.

Goals and Objectives of the Conference:

•    Establish a process to promote dialogue between the youth community and Government at all levels.
•    Establish mechanisms that permit and allow the involvement of children and youth access to information and provide them with the opportunity to present their perspectives on issues relating to sustainable development
•    Educate Ghanaian children, youth and teachers on sustainable development through a series of workshops hosted at The 2012 Ghana Youth and Children Conference on Sustainable Development
•    Inform participants about the international youth platforms like the UNEP Tunza Eco generation, threedotdash, UN model, Digital peers, Young innovator, the Rio + 20 earth summit outcome document, COP 18 and the other international Children and youth conferences for their participation.
•    Using digital and social media to engage youth and broader public audience in online dialogue both within Ghana and the international context.
•    Use the conference as a platform to engage local, national and international media on youth initiatives on Sustainable development after the Rio+20 conference to complement the effort of the government to achieve sustainable development.
•    Post conference we aim to have 100 trained Environmental youth delegates and teachers who are capable of carrying out activities within their district to further spread the aims and objective of the Conference in order promote sustainable development at the local levels.

Selection of Delegates and Participation:
The forum will have delegates from every part of the Country. Each region will delegate 4 Children, 5 Youth and 1 Chaperon (Teacher). Selection will take into consideration equal gender representation.

The Age limit for the Children = 10 – 14 years (Junior High school)
The age limit for the Youth = 15 – 22years (Senior High school)

Date of Conference:
2nd – 3rd August 2012

KNUST Campus – Kumasi
Special Guest:
Hon. Sherry Ayitey – Minister of Environment Science and Technology (Ghana)