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Youth connected to halt deforestation!

“Question your answers” – Jeffrey Campbell, Manager of Forest and Farm Facility at FAO

The halting deforestation conference commenced with young people across sectors learning, engaging and collaborating. 

The scene was set with leading professionals sharing insights on issues affecting forests. There was great emphasis on the need to push our boundaries as young professionals and in ensuring that we bring our own ideas and perspective in the various fields we find ourselves. The importance of networking and making connections was critical to the session and overall involvement of youth in such platforms.

A short course on thinking landscapes was conducted by Cora Van Oosten, Project leader -Ecosystem and landscape governance - Wageningen University. The training session highlighted that there was no blueprint to thinking landscapes. It could be as complex or simple as you choose to frame it. 

We gathered into different groups to identify what we thought were the components critical to sustainable landscapes. The aim of the session was to provide a different perspective into addressing the challenges affecting landscapes i.e. land use changes. Some of the keywords that came up included mentions of people, biodiversity, management, investments, regeneration, rights etc.

The different groups came up with five key approaches to landscapes. These included:

  1. Complex and integrated approach
  2. Institutional Approach
  3. Sustainable and Inclusive Investments
  4. Systems Approach
  5. Management approach

What I mostly learned from this session was the importance of framing and how the way in which you frame a conversation or dialogue should be appealing to the stakeholders involved. 

The afternoon continued with a session on “demystifying gender in forest conservation”. This session included a case study in which we provided forest solutions that mainstreamed gender. It was interesting to hear the different ideas that everyone contributed. Taylor Tondelli, Gender and Forestry Specialist (FAO) who hosted the session highlighted key thinking points. It was an eye-opening task and the ability to think through the case study with motivated young people from different countries and professional backgrounds made the task even more enriching.

I was a member of the about 20 youth members that contributed to creating a short course. The course aims to highlight key outcomes from the conference and enable individuals that could not physically be at the conference to be a part of it. Being a part of the team made my experience at the conference worthwhile because; it allowed me to fully engage in the theme I was most interested, carefully select what I and the rest of my team found relevant to the sharing with the online community and finally to be able to work and produce content for the short course with motivated individuals. 

I think, my take-home lessons from this conference and workshop are the networking opportunity it has provided and to be able to have conversations on a topic that links different sectors.


Picture credit: IFSA