The youth of the Americas will be disproportionately affected by environmental challenges such as climate change. As a result, youth have assumed a vital role in tackling environmental challenges. Many are actively taking steps to educate themselves on sustainable development issues, engage in sound sustainable practices, and encourage others to become good stewards of the environment.
Agenda 21, a document formulated following the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002), highlights the importance of youth participation at all levels of the decision-making process, ensuring that youth is supported in programs and activities relating to sustainable development.
OAS initiatives which provide youth with an opportunity to address environmental challenges are:
The Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-making for Sustainable Development (ISP) ensures that young people are informed, inspired and empowered to make positive changes within their communities.
The Youth Forum of the Americas conducted in the context of the Fifth Summit of the Americas (2009), in which youth directly addressed the issues of energy security and environmental sustainability. They recognized, ‘[the] need to ensure clean energy availability to satisfy the demands of our hemisphere,’ and given that they have inherited many of the environmental challenges confronting the Americas, they decided to ‘lead the way in supporting environmentally sustainable products, infrastructure and services.’
During the preparatory process of the Second Meeting of Ministers and High Level Authorities on Sustainable Development "Towards Sustainable Development in the Americas", a Virtual Forum was held which had a active participation of Youth. A Youth Group was created at the Summits of the Americas Virtual Platform to increase the youth voice and involvement in the Ministerial process. Below you will find documents related to these consultations.