Having Their Say

The UNESCO Youth Forum, held every two years, gives young people the chance to submit recommendations to UNESCO Member States.

Young Global Citizens for a Sustainable Planet 
9th UNESCO Youth Forum - October 2015 

Canada Youth-Led Recommendations

The following 15 youth-led recommendations come from over 3,000 youth that were informed and actively engaged in the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s National Youth Consultation Process.

  1. In order to promote the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination, we should ensure the voices of marginalized and influential citizens are equally heard.
  2. Critical thinking is an essential tool that needs to be included within all Global Citizenship Education (GCE) curriculums. In particular, youth need to be able to question what they learn and the information they receive about other people in the world. Also they must critically view media in order to challenge preconceived biases, understand varying contexts, and learn how to create sustainable change.
  3. Promote and teach global citizenship education (GCE) within the formal education system through participatory and informal teaching methods, including, but not limited to, volunteerism, community development partnerships and practical tools for youth transition to adulthood.
  4. In order to ensure equal access to education and services to youth within a country, promote the creation of national education targets to measure (connected with the international targets under SDG 4), while still offering flexibility in implementing these within a local context. In Canada, education is a provincial jurisdiction. For this reason, we believe that each government has the opportunity to implement how to achieve global targets according to its own education system and according to its educational priorities.
  5. Educate and promote solutions, ideas and promising practices to addressing climate change (i.e. focus on the positive and the steps forward that we need to take).
  6. Empower youth to take action by exploring how they can reduce their own carbon footprint through innovative and local solutions.
  7. Advocate local and national governments to implement policies that address climate change, such as promoting a zero-carbon economy or imposing a carbon tax.
  8. Increase access to indigenous knowledge and history within the formal educational system.
  9. Create spaces for indigenous voices to be heard within local, national and international decision-making processes.
  10. Build partnerships and intercultural learning opportunities between indigenous and non-indigenous groups.
  11. Celebrate and promote indigenous culture and knowledge and ensure the protection of indigenous languages.
  12. Leverage UNESCO Designated Areas (i.e. Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, GeoParks) for the promotion of indigenous knowledge and spaces for indigenous learning.
  13. Given the priority of youth within UNESCO, ensure that youth leadership, employment and education opportunities are available and promoted within all Member States.
  14. Given the context of the rising global youth population and the barriers that this population faces, youth should be identified as a Global Priority for all UNESCO Programmes in its future programming.
  15. In order to reach a broader audience including marginalized youth, UNESCO should use simple and engaging language as well as creative communication tools.

 

“A global citizen is an individual who contributes to the wellbeing of our world and stands against any form of injustice.” 
(UNESCO Associated Schools Participant)

Conclusions

The National Youth Consultation presents a concerted effort by CCUNESCO in gathering the support of its diverse networks and members in order to reach youth from different geographical areas, including rural and urban spheres, and diverse cultural backgrounds.

With the use of technology, CCUNESCO was able to connect with UNESCO Associated Schools across Canada in order to gather student’s ideas and recommendations in preparation for the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum.

Through public engagement activities and social media, the online survey was also widely shared and distributed. Lastly, in-person consultations proved to be invaluable as a way to gather youth from diverse communities across Canada in order to discuss the themes of the UNESCO Youth Forum and to collect their recommendations for a sustainable future.

" Let’s take micro actions that have macro impacts.’’ (Ottawa Youth Consultation Participant)

" Nurture the environment and take only what you need." (Youth Participant, Online survey)