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Youth Conference on Environment - General Presentation
General Presentation of 9 pages, to download below in pdf format ,as well as a 2-page summary
In 2003 and 2005, Brazil respectively organized the First and Second Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment (CYNCE), with the direct participation of 21,000 schools and 7.5 million people. In April of 2009, in its third national edition, the Conference will take place at the center of the environmental education-public politics of Brazil. Also, it will be exposed to a larger degree around the associated international observers meeting, who will be able to experience the process.
In April of 2006, during the second Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment, the National observer Edith Sizoo (guest as an international observer of the II National Conference and as the coordinator of the Charter of Human Responsibilities, Foundation Charles Léopold Mayer, a French-Swiss entity) suggested to the Brazilian Ministers of Environment and Education that Brazil should share the experience with other countries by way of organizing a global version of the event. The international interest taken in the Brazilian approach to environmental education motivated the federal government, by way of its Ministries, to take over the task of facilitating and organizing the International Conference.
Thus, Brazil presents the world with a social-educational technology that directly involves children, teenagers, and teachers from all over the world in a multicultural event with delegates from many countries who can debate local, regional, and global social-environmental issues. These delegates are encouraged to assume their responsibilities and act, forming a world-wide web: Let’s Take Care of the Planet. The process to get to the International Conference starts with the study and debate of the proposed topics at local schools, followed by the Conference for the Environment at Schools. Through these conferences, delegates will be selected who can participate in their country’s own National Conference. After that, National Conferences in each participating country will happen in which the selection or election of delegates who will participate in the International Conference, to take place in Brazil in 2010, will occur.
Through this methodology, the Conferences in Brazil are spaces of learning in which participants engage in democratic processes. These conferences are part of an articulated system which is both educational and integrated. In order to facilitate this, they serve as an ongoing educational process in which teachers and environmental educators must attend permanent initial and continuing information sessions. Also, this system promotes the development of actions within the implementation of the Commission of Environmental Quality and Life (COM-VIDA) with Agenda 21 at schools.
To promote the exchange of international experiences in an effort to make progress on extreme global social-environmental issues, to be achieved through school education and the participation of society.
To instill a common purpose within the highest number of teenagers, teachers, and communities; who in turn can appropriate locally how to be a part of planetary compromises; taking responsibility for sustainable societies, diffusing and going deeper into the fundamental topics related to: diversity, the Peace Culture, and planetary survival.
To contribute to the strengthening of the Educational Decade for Sustainable Development (United Nations / UNESCO) in the world.
WHAT IS THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH CONFERENCE?
The process calls up the school communities to research and debate about climate changes and global warming and elect young delegates (aged between 12 and 14 in 2010) who will bring their common responsibilities to larger bodies (national and international).
The simplicity of the Conference instills strength through the participation of the community in the debate of urgent and pressing topics which are usually restricted to research centers, the media, and those involved in the formation of public policy. This conference provides a vehicle in which the youth opinion will be respected and well valued; in addition to promoting the belief that we can apply both our individual and collective responsibilities in order to build both a better local and worldwide quality of life.
The cross-cultural discussions will also be organized in virtual learning communities on the Website: http://confint2010.mec.gov.br
This pedagogical campaign that brings the dimension of environmental policy to education. To make this vision possible and equal in all of the different countries who will participate in the International Conference in Brazil in 2010, we suggest the following organizational structure:
a) Creation of a National Organizational Committee (NOC), to coordinate the processes at schools and at the National Conferences. The NOC can organize and guide Regional Organizational Committees (ROC) throughout their country if it is deemed necessary and/or helpful. The NOC responsibilities include:
• The creation, production, and distribution of a basic text “Step by Step for the Conference at School” including support material to guide the methodology for the conferences at schools and to offer the theoretical support to start school debates.
• The organization of Conference Workshops for principals, school administrators, and teachers as a preparatory step of the Conferences at Schools. The goal is to promote the experience of the Conference process at School as well as to theoretically improve the proposed topics and to allow for the insertion of them within school curriculum.
• The creation of a web page and inboxing of the answers and schools panels (to know more about these materials, please refer to the Brazilian “Step by step”, available at the following webpage: http://confint2010.mec.gov.br
• The selection of delegates, between the ages of 12 & 14 (born between June 1996 and June 1998), to participate in the National Conference. While selecting these delegates, it is of the utmost importance to maintain a relatively equal representation between: gender, delegates from rural and urban areas, capital regions and other cities, public and private schools, and delegates from ethnically diverse and varied cultural backgrounds.
• The organization of the National Conference, complete with the formation of a Letter of Responsibilities and the selection of delegates for the International Conference – Brazil 2010.
b) Conferences at Schools. The schools that choose to participate in the process for the National Conference start to prepare their conferences. This is a very important step because it begins the students’ participation in the process. It is up to each school whether it puts on a large or small school conference.
• The children and teenage participants create projects about the proposed topics in the base text Step by Step. They then present and debate their ideas within the school community through the creation of posters and displays. During the Conference at School, the participants will select and define both the responsibilities and actions to be undertaken by the school community. The poster, display, presentation, etc. that represents the best ideas then select a single delegate (and another alternate delegate) who will represent that school and its ideas at the National Conference.
• A selection of posters from each school should be sent to the NOCs (along with the return paper including a proposal of the school to take care of the community, the coordinates of the school and the school’s elected delegates. The posters along with this information should then be made available on the Conference web page.
c) National Conference: Body which will select the responsibilities and actions of each country, as the delegations that will travel to Brazil in 2010 to represent their proposals to the International Conference. During this meeting delegations of all countries, educators and youth from all over the world will have the opportunity to share the experiences lived in their communities and countries, and to draw up a charter of responsibilities and actions to take care of the planet.
The diagram 1 illustrates the suggested process and its agenda.
The young choose the young – At the Conference the young will be the center of the decisions made by themselves.
The young educate the young – The role of the youth as social subjects who live, act and operate in the present, and not in the future, is also recognized in this principle. We consider that the mobilizing process can and should be built from the experiences of the teenagers themselves, respecting and trusting their own capacity to be committed with transformative actions.
One generation learns with another – The connection between different generations involved is recommended. Even if privileging the teenagers as protagonists, a dialog between the generations is basic. Regarding Environmental education, this characteristic becomes especially important since it is based on the innovative concepts that the children bring to their parents and teachers. Teenagers can easily pick up the tendencies to transform, depending on adults who give support for the necessary changes to take place through improving knowledge and opening up effective participation
Responsibility – The recognition of individual and collective responsibilities is the main idea, considering that the responsibilities are different. Each citizen becomes responsible within their own limit, determined by their limitations of access to information and power.
Formation of learning communities – They contribute to transform the quality of life and interfering in the local reality. This happens through cooperative processes with common goals, shared actions, and good results for all.
The Children and Youth International Conference is based on an organizational structure that aims toward an articulated, shared, and potentialized way to interact between national and international organizations. This structure (Figure 2) will be able to mobilize different partners in different places. It is formed by the following groups and committees:
• Formed by honorary guests and important personalities who will contribute toward the projection of these ideas internationally.
• May contribute to the political process on a global scale, as well as lending visibility and legitimacy to the whole process of the Conference.
• The International Committee, as well as the Conference, should have a name chosen in consensus by the Presidency.
Interministerial Working Group
• The Interministerial Working Group is composed of managers and technicians of the Ministries involved, regulated by Official Decree.
• The Group is responsible for: offering technical assistance, supporting the workshops and meetings to train the facilitators, making available pedagogical and conceptual material, and aiding in the formation and maintenance of communication webs.
Group of Political Articulation
• Formed by representatives of the Brazilian Government – of Ministries of Education, Environment, Foreign Relations, Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic; as well as representatives of the United Nations Agencies – UNESCO, UNICEF, UNEP, UNDP – and FPH (Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l´Homme, initiator of the Charter of Human Responsibilities).
• The responsibility of this group is to give managerial direction and guidelines, to define agendas, to facilitate procedures, to give an opportunity to articulate the process and to guarantee the process management of the Conference regarding financing global mobilization. The United Nations agencies give support to the Interministerial Working Group to work internationally for the Conference by connecting people and involving their regional offices, capturing the required monetary resources, and promoting events to train facilitators on different continents.
National Organizational Committees (NOCs)
• Brazil suggests that the committees be composed by representatives of the Ministry of Education and Environment and Civil Society, given their preference to youth groups.
• The NOCs must coordinate the process on a national scale establishing communication with the Interministerial Working Group. They will be invited to mobilize their learning systems and to organize Conferences at Schools and the National Conference selecting delegates to travel to Brazil in 2010.