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Young people give input to UN Sustainable Development session.

UNITED NATIONS -- As one of the youngest representatives from a non-governmental organization to attend this year's UN Commission on Sustainable Development The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development - (CSD) - was established in December 1992 by General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/191 as a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council, implementing a recommendation in Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, the landmark , it was natural that 19-year-old Alicia Cundall would participate in the Youth caucus.

But she didn't expect to be appointed by the group to deliver its main statement to the plenary session Plenary session is a term often used in s to define the part of the conference when all members of all parties are in attendance.

These sessions may contain a broad range of content from Keynotes to Panel Discussions and are not necessarily related to a specific style of delivery.
 of governments, which she did on 14 May 2009.

"I didn't want to read it but the people in my group said it would make sense for me to do it because I had worked really hard on it," said Ms. Cundall, who is an environmental science student at the University of Toronto Research at the University of Toronto has been responsible for the world's first electronic heart pacemaker, artificial larynx, single-lung transplant, nerve transplant, artificial pancreas, chemical laser, G-suit, the first practical electron microscope, the first cloning of T-cells,  and one of six youth delegates from the Baha'i International Community (BIC BIC

See: Bank Investment Contract
) to this year's session of the commission, held 4-15 May.


The youth statement sought to emphasize the commission's responsibility to take future generations into account as it grapples with this year's agenda, which focused on the food crisis, agriculture, and Africa.

"In times of crisis we're often urged by convenience or panic to fall back on old practices and cheap fixes," said Ms. Cundall, reading the youth statement.

"But we cannot continue along this road," the statement said. "We must ensure that wherever possible, even if it's hard, even if it costs more now, we prioritize truly sustainable practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."


Tahirih Naylor, a BIC representative to the UN, said that the goal in sponsoring so many young people at the meeting was to emphasize the role of education and capacity building as an essential component of sustainable development Sustainable development is a socio-ecological process characterized by the fulfilment of human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment indefinitely. The linkage between environment and development was globally recognized in 1980, when the International Union .

"Youth, with access to quality education and training, can be the protagonists of their own development," she said.

In addition to the Youth caucus, Baha'i delegates--12 in all--participated in the Women's caucus, the NGO NGO
nongovernmental organization

Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization
 caucus, and the Indigenous Peoples caucus.

The Baha'i International Community sponsored and participated in several side events at this year's session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. These included:

* A Learning Center program on "Climate Ethics." The interactive course intended for policy makers and others sought to enable participants to identify key ethical and moral responsibilities that should guide decision-making in the area of climate change.

The discussion focused on how the threats of climate change to agriculture, rural development, and land productivity should be addressed within an ethical framework that allows nations to move beyond national interest to consideration of the common good.

Facilitators included Donald A. Brown, associate professor of environmental ethics, science and law, Penn State University; Marilyn Averill, an attorney and doctoral candidate in environmental studies in the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado University of Colorado may refer to:
  • University of Colorado at Boulder (flagship campus)
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
  • University of Colorado system
 at Boulder; and Peter Adriance, NGO liaison for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States.

* A panel discussion on "Poverty and the Climate Crisis" organized by the Working Group on Poverty and Climate Change of the NGO Subcommittee on Poverty Eradication. The event featured Fred Matwang'a of the Kenyan mission to the United Nations; Kiara Worth, a specialist in sustainable development from South Africa; Dessima Williams, ambassador of Grenada to the United Nations; and Ms. Averill of the University of Colorado. The event was moderated by Anita Wenden, convener of the Working Group on Poverty and Climate Change.

Ms. Worth, 25, who was one of the Baha'i delegates, presented a one-woman dramatic presentation titled "Theater of Survival: Grassroots Climate Change Communication." She appeared as an old and wizened village songoma who tells the story of scientists coming to her village with complicated charts and numbers, demanding that the people change the type of crops they grow.

"It's often difficult to communicate scientific concepts without taking into account the existing cultural realities," said Ms. Worth, explaining why she chose to use theater for her contribution--a technique she often employs in her work with Golder Associates in promoting sustainable development in South Africa.

"The beauty of theater is that anyone can do it and it can be adapted to various social messages," she said.

[The Web site of the United Nations Office of the Baha'i International Community at has additional information, including links to video with portions of some of the presentations.]


* This year's CSD CSD Commission on Sustainable Development
CSD Serbian Dinar (ISO currency code)
CSD Christopher Street Day
CSD Circuit Switched Data (Sprint)
CSD Computer Science Department
CSD Community School District
 focused on the food crisis, agriculture, and Africa

* Youth delegates warned against "old practices and cheap fixes"

* Side events looked at the moral dimension of climate change

* Theater can also be used to communicate social messages
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Publication:One Country
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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