Zurich, January 2012. The final report of the YES youth group about their participation in the World Resources Forum, held in Davos, September 2011, has been published. The report includes an overview of the activities, the background and structure of the course, and an evaluation by these young people who came to Davos to learn about natural resource management.
At the close of each day a pair of YES participants were selected to share their reflections from the day with the plenary. In this forum they were asked to share ideas and critiques, and were also given the opportunity to present the artwork that they had painted, reflecting their perspectives on the challenges with natural resource management.
Additionally the YES participants organised two special parallel sessions. The first session, the “sustainability café”, was envisioned as an informal platform for participants of the WRF to sit together and share ideas and perspectives in an open environment. The “café” consisted of 8 round tables, each of which was allocated a specific questions.
The other session was a workshop where the YES participants presented snapshots of resource challenges in their countries and proposals for concrete projects to address the challenges. The participants worked in regional groups, representing East Africa, South Africa, Latin America, Australia, Europe, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East and North Africa and Central and East Europe.on to discuss. Participants selected a table and were greeted by the table host. In each 20 minute round the participants at each table discussed the key question from their table, and at the end of the round they moved to another table. The guests were offered chocolate and drinks to make their experience comfortable and informal. The sustainability café was very well received by the conference participants, and was one of the best-attended parallel sessions from the whole event, with a total of over 50 participants.
The majority of participants found the course valuable for their personal and professional development, with specific comments about the “opportunity to meet like-minded people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds”, the fact that the course has “widened horizons” or “opened new perspectives”, making them feel more “inspired”, “motivated” and “confident”. Other comments include: “feel now more responsible to protect the environment” – “the course made me rethink my way” – “the most valuable course I have ever had participated” and “really valuable experience”.
The Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES) is an educational initiative for international undergraduate and graduate level students that takes a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural approach to learning in a practical context.
The YES course hosted in Davos in September was one of several courses held around the world in 2011. This course was conducted in collaboration with the World Resources Forum and had a special focus on Natural Resource Management. ACTIS was delighted to work with the WRF and the SATW to host this special program. Managing Director Dr. Roger Baud writes in his preface to the report that he “hopes to continue the successful collaboration in the future.”
The report can be downloaded from the link below (PDF).