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21.12.2016 - UNESCO Office in Venice

2017 MAB Youth Forum committed to sustainable development

Save the dates: Po Delta Biosphere Reserve, Italy. 18-23 September 2017. Young people are the future of Biosphere reserves and must be given a voice in shaping their territory and defining their engagement in the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO.

The MAB Secretariat offers, in collaboration with the Regional Bureau located in Venice, an opportunity for young people who care about the special territories in which they live in to become active in the MAB Programme and to contribute to the sustainable development of their communities, in line with the Lima Action Plan.

Announced for the first time during the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru, the forum has been welcomed by a standing ovation!  It will take place from 18 to 23 September 2017 in the heart of the Biosphere Reserve of the Po Delta. The 5 days will be organized in plenary sessions and parallel sessions, which will be carried out in various symbolic places of the Po Delta, in order to encourage exchanges between the participants and the actors of the territory.

A large-scale, online consultation will shortly be implemented among youth stakeholders of the MAB, which will provide an opportunity to define their expectations and the issues which will be debated during the Forum. At the moment, 3 thematic areas around which to develop the preparation and implementation of the Forum have been identified:

  • The contribution of young people to the life of Biosphere Reserves
  • Research and studies into the sustainable development of Biosphere Reserves
  • A sustainable future for the youth of Biosphere Reserves

The Forum is addressed to youth aged between 18 and 35 who live or work in Biosphere Reserves, or who study or conduct research in these areas. The participants will be nominated by their respective biosphere reserve managers/coordinators, and supported by their MAB National Committees.

The organizers will promote a gender parity in the Forum participation and, considering the 3 main thematic areas of the Forum, the following 3 main categories of participants should be also equally represented:

1.    Youth active in the civil society (associations) of their territory

2.    Youth dedicating their studies/research to their territory

3.    Youth earning their livelihood within the Biosphere Reserve

A good knowledge of English is required, since it will be the lingua franca of all activities of the Forum.

Thanks to the economic support provided by UNESCO and by the Foundation Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, the organizers of the Forum will be able to cover the travel costs for up to 100 participants, particularly those from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. In addition, the Organization will pay for the accommodation costs of a maximum of 250 participants.

Potential participants are invited to fill out the application form at : http://www.MYForum2017.com, attaching a motivation letter and a letter of recommendation/support from their Biosphere Reserve.

MAB Youth ambassadors (ideally one per region of the world) will be designated at the end of the Forum and charged with the mission of: representing the MAB Youth community during the 2017 UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris; and, presenting the messages from the Forum to the International Co-ordinating Council of the MAB Programme in June 2018.

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