The youth are critical stakeholders in the global economy and are the main actors and motors for change now and the future. The energy, motivation, and creativity of youth are essential assets for this change to happen in our societies. This is a challenge that reflects the need of each of us to recognize our role in preserving our fragile planet and the ecosystems.
The protection of nature is a role envisioned for us. Since knowledge is power, we do need more knowledge about Africa's ecosystems and the interplay between environment and development since it is impossible to devise effective policy unless it is based on sound scientific information.
Is there anything more exciting and hopeful than the promises of a sustainable continent? Yet unsustainable practices are woven deeply into the fabric of modern life.
We are the future policy makers and decision makers, which is why Africa Environment Outlook (AEO) for Youth is in process. The publication will target young people between 16-30 years. It is an initiative for youth by youth in Africa, which falls within the UNEP's long term strategy on the engagement and involvement of young people in environment issues.
It is a complimentary product of the AEO report published by the UNEP. The report provides a comprehensive analysis of status and trends of environment in Africa which engaged a wide range of stakeholders. It is a valuable source for environmental issues in the region.
AEO for youth will neither be a gloom nor doom publication over the acute challenges facing us. It will show the assessment of where we have been, where we have reached and likely to go in a span of 30 years.
As we grow we become more aware of the consequences of our surrounding environment. Consequently AEO aims at increasing awareness and findings of AEO among youth, creating a positive change towards environment issues and provide a forum for discussing environment issues and exchanging ideas as well as promote effective networking.
The theme adopted for this publication is "Our future is in our hands." In order to make this a success we need your voice, in contributions in form of illustrations, short case studies, poems, photos, quotations, and opinions on environmental issues in your community or country.
We need to make a difference. Joining together is not a matter of choice, but a necessity. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, work and play in the same environment. We need each other's strength and to pass on a safe, clean world to our upcoming generation. As increasingly important tool for achieving this is the Internet: www.uneo.org/roa/aeo/youth.
When we connect each other with a call of conservation, we can make sustainability a reality in Africa.
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