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We’re looking for youth with a story to tell

Young people like Nga Ha bundle chayote for money to buy school books in Tan Lac District, Vietnam. Georgina Smith/CIAT

by Michelle Kovacevic

Are you:

  • Involved in the natural resource sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, conservation, development, industry)?
  • 18-39 years old OR working with youth?
  • Someone with a success story related to youth involvement in the natural resource sector?
  • An engaging and inspiring speaker and leader?

If so, you are just the person we are looking for to speak at our event Youth: The future of Sustainable Landscapes to be held at the Global Landscapes Forum on 16 November, 2013 on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland.

Far from being a talkfest, the event will harness the energy, technological savvy-ness, competitive spirit and ideas of youth — both at the conference and online — to construct concrete, action-orientated pledges that youth can (and will) undertake to help achieve sustainable landscapes.

Why do we need an event targeted to youth?

Important global policy debates and decision making for landscapes sectors too often take place with very little involvement of young people. However, there is compelling evidence to show why young people should be more actively involved. An ageing population of actors in natural resource sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries, conservation, development and industry) across the world are not being replenished by youth — these sectors are too often seen as an ‘employment of last resort’ as the work is perceived to be for rural, poor non-educated people who do not  have other employment options.

Yet millions of youth remain unemployed and governments are not making significant, large-scale effective policies targeting young people working in landscapes. If young farmers, foresters and fishery managers do not replace the ageing producers, there is concern that sustainable future landscapes will be seriously compromised in the next 10-15 years. Conditions are increasingly challenging. There is less arable land, dwindling natural resources, a need for more rapidly evolving climate-adapted techniques, more market pressures, and there are fewer labor opportunities.


9am-2pm CET on November 16, 2013, University of Warsaw, Poland. The event will also be webcast – details to come.

  • 3-4 TEDx-style talks with “thought leaders” in youth issues (approx. 10 minutes per talk)
  • Moderated panel discussion with TEDx speakers, geared towards online public (approx. 1 hour)
  • “Youth champions” share success stories/initiatives of landscape based approaches where involvement of youth was critical (approx. 10 minutes per talk)
  • Moderated discussion geared towards online public (approx. 1 hour)
  • Summary of issues and practical commitments (approx. 1 hour)

How can you apply?

We’re looking for two different sets of inspiring and energetic speakers:

  • Thought leaders in youth issues: Inspiring leaders who have changed the way youth are perceived in natural resource management sectors.
  • Youth champions: Have you successfully set up a project or business in the natural resources sector that shows how young people can make a difference? Share your success story with us.

With “natural resources”, we are looking to cover a wide range of topics: agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, land/air/water management, nature conservation, climate change adaptation, sustainable environmental development and its related industries. To apply, or if you know someone that who would be the perfect candidate, please send us a 200 word proposal including: the speaker name, a short biography, whether the speaker is a “thought leader” or “youth champion” and a description of the talk.

Please send applications at before September 30th, 2013, highlighting in the email subject line whether you are applying for Thought leader GLFCOP19 or Success-Story GLFCOP19.

Potential speakers will be put forward to a selection committee and will be notified by October. We will try to cover the travel and accommodation costs for speakers who are unable to secure their own funds.

Get involved in the online discussions

We want this event to be shaped BY the participants FOR the participants. As the entire event will be webcast, there will be a chance for everyone to be involved in the event itself — whether you will be in Poland for the UN Climate Change conference or not. There’s a number of ways you can start sharing your stories and questions with us:

  • Post your suggestions as comments on this blog
  • Tweet using the conference hashtag #GLFCOP19 and follow @GlobalLF
  • Join the conversation on Facebook at Global Landscapes Forum
  • Let us know if you want to write blogs on youth topics and we’ll collate them on

In the coming weeks, we will also be posting a number of blogs looking at the role of youth for a sustainable future on, so watch this space!

The organisers

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a nonprofit, global facility dedicated to advancing human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research that enables more informed and equitable decision making about the use and management of forests in less-developed countries.

YPARD is an international movement by young professionals for Young Professionals for Agricultural Research for Development. YPARD operates as a global on-line and off-line communication and discussion platform and is meant to enable young professionals all over the world to express their ideas and realize their full potential towards a dynamic agricultural research for development.

For more information contact:

Michelle Kovacevic: m.kovacevic[at]cgiar[dot]org

Marina Cherbonnier: Marina.Cherbonnier[at]ypard[dot]net

Picture: Young people like Nga Ha bundle chayote for money to buy school books in Tan Lac District, Vietnam. Georgina Smith/CIAT

The initial call was published on, the official website of GLFCOP19.