Youth from around the world discuss sustainable development in Jordan

Who: Youth from across the world
What: Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development

Everything we see on the news these days from the Middle East is negative. However, there is hope and it lies in our youth in the Middle East. There was a 5 day course held for the youth on ‘Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development.’ It is important for our youth here in America and in the rest of the world to understand that there is action happening in the Middle East and it all starts in our youth: The leaders of tomorrow! This article is from

MENAFN – Jordan Times AMMAN – Some 60 youths from across the world are gathering in Jordan this week along with representatives from UN agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations to discuss their potential roles as future leaders in sustainable development.

Taking part in a course entitled ‘Advancing youth leadership for sustainable development’, the participants will give special emphasis to ecological, social, economic and political development.

The five-day course which opened Sunday is organised by the Amman-based United Nations University-International Leadership Institute (UNU-ILI), in cooperation with UNESCO and the UNDP Amman offices, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the King Abdullah Fund for Development, the University of Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for development.

Defining sustainable development as a way of “spending the current resources without compromising the resources of future generations”, Director of the UNU-ILI Jairam Reddy urged participants to rethink the concept of leadership and to become active leaders in their respective countries, since current heads of state “have not done so well�”

“We need leaders who can broaden horizons, uplift spirits, mobilise the necessary resources and empower others to act in the best interest of organisations, communities and the larger society,” the director of UNU-ILI, one of the 15 UN agencies established in Jordan, added.

In his address to the multinational audience, UN Resident Coordinator in Jordan Luc Stevens described the seminar as a great opportunity for young people to learn from each other and exchange information.

“You are the next generation of Jordan, the Middle East and different parts of the world. You are a vision for the future,” he said, adding that the UN has long recognised that the world’s youth actively contribute to social progress.

“Therefore, addressing youth development should not be seen as a liability, but as a potential for creative and constructive change,” Stevens added.

According to the UN official, 74 per cent of Jordan’s population is under 30 years old and 40 per cent are between 12 and 30 years of age, making youth the largest demographic group in the country, with some 2.2 million people.

“It also goes without saying empowering the youth and ensuring their effective participation in building their communities is a high priority for Jordan and its leadership,” Stevens continued.

The UN resident coordinator applauded the National Youth Strategy, which was established in 2005. He also praised an initiative launched under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah which outlined a programme of action for youth in Jordan.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Communication and Information Programme officer, Samir Badran, called sustainable development an “evolving concept”, which at first focused on the environment and soon came to encompass socioeconomic issues “linked to peace, human rights, equity and culture”.

“Bearing all this in mind, the seminar is an excellent opportunity to gain better understating of a complex concept that is much more than a slogan,” Badran added.

The UN is currently celebrating the United Nations Decade for Sustainable Development (2005-2015). With UNESCO at the helm, the overall goal of the decade is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development with education.

This educational effort is an attempt to encourage changes in behaviour for environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations, according to UNESCO’s website.

IUCN Director for the Middle East Odeh Jayoussi described sustainable development as a way of life where current resources should be cultivated rather than exploited.

“It is as if we were gardeners, not hunters. Leaders should behave like gardeners,” he stressed.

In regards to sustainable development practices in Jordan, Jayoussi added that there is still room for improvement.

HRH Prince Hassan was also among the speakers. In his address, he called for providing young people with sufficient opportunities to achieve sustainable development, highlighting its role in improving people’s standards of living.

A key component of the seminar will be field visits to different sites in Jordan, which are meant to represent themes covered in the course. Sites will include the Dana Nature Reserve, Nuqul Group, Jordan University of Science and Technology and the Knowledge Centre at Iraq Al Amir.


~ by thab103 on February 12, 2008.

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