Youth for Sustainable Development

Ustroń - Katowice, Silesia Poland 2006
July 1-7, 2006 CEI Poland
Conference Chair Antoni Salamon

Progress is desired by all the nations of the world. No sensible human being would intend to curb it. Dynamic world development results in negative changes in the natural environment, the effects of which may turn out disastrous for the whole planet in the foreseeable future. Returning to the pre-industrial state and expecting nature to deal with repairing the damage by itself is unrealistic. What remains is sustainable development. Everything should be done in order to slow down the increase in greenhouse effect and to stop further environmental degradation.

The term ‘sustainable development’ was first used many years ago at the United Nations General Assembly. At the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit it was adopted as a commentary concerning the further development of humanity. At the same time Agenda 21 document was drafted, in one of whose paragraphs all the countries embraced by the agreement were obligated  to “promote education, shape awareness and training within sustainable development and environmental protection. “ However, the effects of the undertaken activities discussed at the following summit in Johannesburg turned out to be smaller than expected. That is why the UNESCO announcement of the worldwide DECADE OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT was an important event. Everything should be done, if not to stop completely, then at least to slow down the further increase of environmental degradation. The best results can be achieved by proper education and sensitizing young generation to environmental problems.

What has become a crucial part of these programmes is the long-standing activity of CARETAKERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL, an independent organization established in 1986, embracing secondary school students and teachers whose interests are focused specifically on the issues of environmental protection. In July 2006 the 20th world CEI conference organized by CEI Poland was held in Poland.

During the meeting in Poland 187 young people from 18 countries of the world did have an opportunity to present the results of the projects carried out in their countries over the past year. They also did have ability to get acquainted with the environmental problems and local communities’ achievements in the field of environmental protection in the strongly urbanized and industrialized region of Silesia. Organization the CEI conference in Poland was given  big chance for large participation of Polish youth, as well as the youth from other Eastern European countries, particularly the ones bordering Poland.

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