Environmental Sustainability: A Call for Greater Inclusion of Young People
76th International Seminar in Ghana
During the first four weeks of August 2023, 23 young people aged 18 to 30 gathered in Accra, Ghana to take part in one of WUSC’s flagship events: the International Seminar.
This is a unique and transformative opportunity that WUSC provides to young people every year, with the aim of encouraging networking between future leaders, as well as the sharing of experience and knowledge.
This year, WUSC dedicated the 76th edition of the International Seminar to the following theme: Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development: Diverse perspectives from Ghana.
Why organize a seminar on environmental sustainability?
The environment, in particular climate change, has been identified as one of the major concerns of young people in Canada. This concern is reflected in the enthusiasm and motivation of the young people who applied to take part in the 76th edition of the international seminar in Accra this year.
Those selected describe the search for innovative solutions to climate change as a passion. For the most part, they also describe themselves as true champions of sustainable and inclusive development.
During their stay in Accra, the selected participants were introduced to the concept of systems thinking. They then used this tool to analyze some of the complex problems we face in relation to the environment. Some of the research topics addressed by the seminarists are waste management, the migration crisis, deforestation, social exclusion and gender-based violence.
The 76th cohort of seminarists shared their findings and recommendations with various stakeholders during the program’s closing ceremony held in Accra on August 23, 2023. Many of their recommendations were inspired by visits to WUSC partner organizations such as Mckingtourch Africa and Social Enterprise Ghana; two Ghanaian non-governmental organizations whose main mandate is the promotion of youth engagement. Mckingtourch Africa focuses on environmental sustainability and sanitation, notably through its recycling activities, while Social Enterprise Ghana aims to strengthen the network of young entrepreneurs in Ghana and Africa.
A call for awareness and promotion of green entrepreneurship
The seminar participants observed that data on Ghana’s environmental record was poorly disseminated, and local initiatives to combat climate change poorly supported. According to the seminar participants, greater involvement of private sector players is essential to encourage political reform. In addition to public-private partnerships, the seminarists also noted the need for local development players to collaborate more closely, given the effects of climate change on various spheres of development.
Following their observations of the global environmental situation and its impact on various aspects of our daily lives, the young seminarists urged the international community to join forces to promote the participation of young people in green entrepreneurship and the creation of inclusive and sustainable employment opportunities. Greater inclusion of young people and capacity building in green entrepreneurship would help identify better and more innovative solutions to the problems caused by climate change.
The IGNI+E (Innovative Global Networks for Inclusion + Equality) initiative, funded by Global Affairs Canada, supports over 70 partner organizations to advance gender equality and the economic empowerment of 1.2 million youth around the world. IGNI+E harnesses the knowledge, capacity and expertise of skilled Canadians through volunteer assignments and public engagement activities to assist partners in improving their performance, advocating for gender equality, and implementing more sustainable, innovative and inclusive initiatives and services for poor and marginalized youth, particularly young women. Join us! Click here to see all our current volunteer opportunities.
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