Youth take over Rio+20: My City+20

Rio+20 will undoubtedly be a milestone in the history of international negotiations and this represents an opportunity that must be seized in order for others to take notice of the youth and for us to be a prominent part of future conferences.

But, how can you mobilize the youth to act in Rio+20? How can the youth be empowered to deal with sustainable development issues?

Borrowing from our experience of a simulation of the Copenhagen negotiations on climate change organized by Sciences Po in 2011, we arrived at the conclusion that giving the youth a taste of the UN negotiations was the best way to pique their interest. In this context, we decided to organize a simulation in Paris of the upcoming conference in Rio de Janeiro this June.

Our project is thus aimed at mobilizing the youth, educating them on the urgency of sustainable development issues and encouraging them to involve themselves in the negotiation process, albeit from a distance. At our simulation, we will test new methods of negotiation and will arrive at some potential outcomes. Through our experimentation, we will come up with innovative ideas that can restructure the UN processes and restore hope in them. UNESCO, our partners in the project, will be working with our research team in developing a hypothesis for our conference. However, it is important to note that irrespective of the outcomes of our simulation, empowering the youth to take action is our main objective. If we manage to do this, we will succeed in achieving the primary goal that we have set for ourselves, i.e., that the youth is ready to play an active part in international negotiations and to shape its own future.

Through the active support of UNESCO, we have moved towards disseminating the idea globally, extending beyond Paris and France, and looking at other cities in the world. We are encouraging other cities to jump onto the bandwagon and to host their own Rio+20 simulation as we believe that our initiative is worth partaking in.

We have, so far, received an enthusiastic response from many youth organizations and universities worldwide, making us feel optimistic that the MyCity+20 movement will be a success. Currently, we have representatives in Asia (Colombo+20 and Mumbai+20), Europe (Rome+20 and Amsterdam+20) and Central America (MexicoCity+20), Africa (Kampala+20 and Kinshasa+20) who are willing to organize their own simulation of Rio+20. We at Paris+20 will provide interested cities with support; giving them ideas on how to start their own simulation; potential people to contact and overall complete flexibility in organizing their own event. Any interested cities are welcome to contact us at [email protected] for further details.

The feeling that the time is ripe for the youth to take over the negotiations is being translated into action with this movement and we encourage everyone to participate in the process!

Read this article on the official UNCSD website.

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