For this year’s World Environment Day, World Vision hosted an online discussion with young leaders on youth participation in environmental policy in the spirit of preserving our natural home for the future generation. The event was moderated by Inge Meesak - Governance Expert at AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub and brought together Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana - MEP from the Group of the Greens, European Free Alliance and Vice-President of the European Parliament Committee on Development - and the SAUTI youth representatives.
SAUTI-Youth project (Sustainable Accountability Uniting Tanzanian and Irish Youth) is co-funded by the European Union and implemented by World Vision Ireland, Youth Work Ireland Galway and World Vision Tanzania. The overall goal of SAUTI-Youth is to enhance youth participation in local government processes and climate policy by enabling youth-led advocacy and experience sharing between youth groups established in both countries.
The purpose of this dialogue was to promote the voices of young people from the EU and Africa, who advocate for the change they need in order to preserve the environment they live in. In that regard, our young leaders from Ireland and Tanzania demand a seat at the table when it comes to environmental policies and decision-making. This discussion happened in the context of renewed commitments at the European (EU Green Deal, European Development Days 2021) and Global Level (COP 26) to mainstream environmental action throughout their policies. This work cannot be achieved without young people.
In Ireland, Lorna and Jakub were very vocal about littering and illegal dump sites in their region, but also the lack of connection to their MEPs and the challenging process of having their voices heard in high-stake meetings. This was met with understanding from MEP Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana who expressed her support and stated that “perspective from young people not only matters, but it is of the utmost importance”. To assure that young people are part of the discussion, she ensures that her discussions with young people result in reflections in her political party, parliamentary committees, and are translated in major policies such as the EU-Africa strategy.
Collaboration projects like SAUTI not only foster open dialogue between young people and politicians: they create a bridge between stakeholders across the world, encourage youth-led advocacy and decision-making.
Find the videos from the online discussion here.