Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Colombo Declaration – World Conference on Youth 6-10 May 2014

Now the World Conference on Youth has come to an end. Five days & 608 Youth delegates from 148 countries gathered for discussions, workshops and a final outcome to be an input into the Post 2015 agenda – the Colombo Declaration. It was loads of fun and some good input to the Post-2015 development agenda!!

Roli, David and Husni at WCY2014

Roli, David and Husni at WCY2014

We were three participants from the  10 YFP Focal Points: David, Husni and Roli. We participated in the discussions of the outcome document – the Colombo declaration, we met with other parts of the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) constituency, we spoke in panels and side events and we hold our own on sustainable consumption and production.

In a panel speech on the theme environmental protection, emergency preparedness and youth-centred urbanization I focused on three themes: public planning for sustainable development, building resilient communities through education for sustainable development and support youth activism and organizations.

In a side event titled ‘Sustainable consumption is all about doing more and better with less. It is about increasing resource efficiency by promoting sustainable lifestyles.’ I held a presentation named ‘Why sustainable consumption is not all about doing more and better with less but doing better with less’ and emphasized the need for greener consumption and less consumption for wealthy populations.

David, Saba and Aashish at 10 YFP side event

At our side event we presented the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), the work with the Post 2015 agenda and the 10 Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP).

Overall the conference was a good opportunity to shed some light on sustainable consumption and production and the 10 YFP. Below I share some of my thoughts on the strength of the Colombo declaration regarding sustainable development in general and sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in particular.

Sustainable consumption and production is included in the Colombo declaration, and some important earlier sustainable development texts were reiterated.

The clearest part is operative paragraph 63 under the title Environmental Sustainability, Disaster Risk Reduction and Youth Centered Urbanisation which reads: ‘Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns by young people.’. Indeed, it is a victory for us that SCP is clearly spelled out like this and this can be seen as a direct reference to the 10 YFP.

Under the same title, operative paragraph 53 mentions the importance of intergenerational equity: “Recognize that climate change is closely linked to development issues, and thereby understand intergenerational equity is crucial, as well as the recognition of the importance of engaging the young generations in the climate discussions, keeping in mind the special needs of young people in developing countries, especially in Least Developing Countries, Land-Locked Developing Countries, Small Island Developing States. “

The declaration also reiterate the call for a High Commissioner for Future Generations in operative paragraph 55: “Call on Member States to further explore the proposed High Commissioner for Future Generations as well as other relevant mechanisms on the topic as outlined in the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations entitled ‘Intergenerational Solidarity and the need for Future Generations’”.

Further, the paragraphs under the title Poverty Eradication and Food Nutrition Security are all relevant to sustainable development since poverty is a clear sustainability problem. Moreover, operative paragraph 7 states: Provide awareness for youth on food and nutrition including practices to reduce food waste and post-harvest crop losses.

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is also underlined, operative paragraph 10 states: “Encourage states to fulfill the call of the Rio+20 Outcome Document in supporting nonformal education by including lifelong learning indicators in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.” And 14:  with civil liberties, social leadership, human rights, gender equality, inter-culturalism, and peace education into national curricula.”.

Finally, paragraph 84 mentions support for youth organizations and youth activism in sustainable development: “Reaffirm political and resource commitment to youth-led organizations and youth-led constituencies active in sustainable development and other international policy processes with the aim to increase the participation of youth, and achieve greater geographical balance in participation, particularly from the Global South.”.

Further, operative paragraphs 61, 17, 27, 28, 50 are also extra relevant to sustainable consumption and production. Summing up, some good step was taken for sustainable consumption and production and we should now make sure these steps are incorporated into the rest of the Post-2015 processes. So long!


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