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UN agency kicks off plan to mobilize world youth to protect the environment

UN agency kicks off plan to mobilize world youth to protect the environment

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched in Sydney today the first event in a campaign to mobilize the world's children and youth to protect the planet's environment.

The Eco-Innovate 03 Forum, with high-profile speakers, discussion forums, hands-on design sessions and mentoring by business and technology leaders, will be held from 14 to 18 July and is expected to attract more than 100 young people aged 15 to 23 from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, China and India.

Initiated by UNEP, Bayer, and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the forum is part of UNEP's new TUNZA strategy designed to enhance the ability of young people to take action and influence decision makers for a sustainable world. Tunza means "to treat with care and affection" in the East African Kiswahili language.

The plan recognizes that 47 per cent, or 2.9 billion, of the world's population are below the age of 25, with 2.5 billion of that population segment living in developing countries where access to environmental information is limited, UNEP's Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Surendra Shrestha, said.

"We also know that 15 per cent of the world's population accounts for 56 per cent of consumption and if everybody lived like they do we would need 2.6 additional planets to support us all," Mr. Shrestha said. "Our assessments of the state of the environment suggest we will need to innovate a transformation to sustainable production and consumption patterns in the space of just one generation."

Eco-Innovate 03 will draw on UNEP's global environmental perspective, the eco-efficiency and eco-design expertise of UNSW's Faculty of the Built Environment, and Bayer's long-standing involvement in youth education in the region.