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Young Environmentalists to Gather in Russia on Sustainable Development

Young environmentalists from more than 60 countries will meet in Russian town of Dubna to discuss environmental topics vital to sustainable development in the 21st century, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) said Thursday. 


The 150 participants, aged from 15 to 24, will work to produce three major outcomes from the conference: a series of regional action plans, ten commitments on sustainable development, and the compilation of a how-to-do on-line database and action kit, according to the release.


The participants will hold discussions on the implementation of a long-term strategy to engage children and youth in environmental decision making and action, at the community level and regionally.


Meanwhile, the conference will elect the members of the Tunza Youth Advisory Council, a group of representatives who advise UNEP on better ways of engaging and involving young people in its activities.


The conference will also feature the launch of a new UNEP State of the Environment Report prepared by and for young people entitled "Tunza: Acting for a Better World."


"Young people have a critical role to play in shaping the environment and helping to deliver a less poverty-driven world now and in the future," Klaus Topfer, executive director of UNEP, was quoted as saying.


"We want to work with young people to spread this philosophy from the Dubna conference, through concrete actions, to their homes, communities and countries all around the globe," said Topfer, who is also co-chairman of the conference, alongside Boris Gromov, governor of the Moscow Region.


Tunza means "to treat with care and affection" in the Kiswahili language of Kenya, where UNEP is based.


This year's Tunza conference is one of the first outcomes of the UNEP Tunza strategy agreed by countries at the world body's 22nd governing council in February.


It will be followed up in July 2004 with the Tunza International Children's Conference taking place in New London, Connecticut, the United States.


(CRI August 22, 2003)

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