By Francis Amatepey
I had the honor to be selected as one of the 8 Young Reporters for the environment across the globe to attend the UNESCO Youth conference held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris-France . The event was held from 14th-16th May, 2018. This was a life changing experience for me - now there is no doubt in my mind; I want to become a journalist. This is my first article after that revelation.
In 2015, the Global Community launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing issues related to Poverty, Hunger, Health, Education, Energy, Industry, Inequalities, Climate, Ocean Life, Peace and Partnership etc. Achieving these ambitious Goals requires a profound transformation in the way we live, think and act; and the role of awareness building, information and Education in achieving all of the 17 SDGs can not be ever emphasised.
A strong education system broadens access to opportunities, improves health, and strengthens the resilience of communities – all the while fueling economic growth in a way that can reinforce and accelerate development. ESD provides the skills people need to thrive in the new sustainable economy, working in areas such as renewable energy, smart agriculture, forest rehabilitation, the design of resource-efficient cities, and sound management of healthy ecosystems.
The Young Reporters for the Environment program is one of the educational program of high quality standard that encourages students to investigate on any specific environmental issue in their community, propose solutions and articulate their findings through the medium of writing, photography and video as a way of building students and young people capacities for sustainable development.
Represented Ghana and Africa at the event to have deliberation on the Future of Education for Sustainable Development ESD was an eye opener to me. Educationis is one of UNESCO's top priority since its inception because it is a basic human right and the foundation on which peace is built to drive sustainable development. As part of their commitment to education, UNESCO launched the Global Action Program on ESD to focus on generating and scaling up Education for Sustainable Development - ESD action at all levels and in all areas of education as well as all sectors of sustainable teevelopment.
The theme for this years Youth conference was "Youth Save the Planet". The aim of the conference was to engage ESD youth leaders on how to increase visbility of ESD actions through media and communication outlet, provide input to future direction of Education for sustainable development and how young people can take ownership of the SDGs.
At the Headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris-France, Francis shared how relevant it is to collaborate with rural people directly as a way of bridging the development gap. He believes that rural areas are engine of ideas and with the right collaboration they will be able to unleash their ideas into solutions as a grassroot contribution towards achievement of the SDGs.
Although “leave no one behind” has become a central rallying cry around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, more needs to be done for it to be put into practice. As a member of Young Reporters for the Environment - Ghana , I strongly believe that educating rurals on sutainable development allows for more practical and innovative approach at the community level which will inturn contribute to the Global agenda.