The Mediterranean Committee on Education for Sustainable Development (MCESD) and the Republic of Slovenia co-organised succesfully the Side Event “Education and youth: The process and actors to secure a sustainable future for the Mediterranean region” on the December 8th, 2023, in the framework of the 23rd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, in Portoroz, Slovenia. The Side Event was also supported financially by the Pedagogical Institute of the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth of Cyprus.
The side event having more than 60 participants, States and Civil Society representatives as well as Youth Associations representatives – such as the Arab Office for Youth and Environment, the UNECE Youth Platform, the Sava Youth Parliament – provided the opportunity to share, discuss and to provide insights on how to solidify and upscale good practices at national and regional levels of youth empowerment and engagement in and through ESD, and further explore resisting challenges at the institutional and operational levels.
The event started with an opening video message of HE Dr. Athina Michaelidou, Minister of Education, Sport and Youth and Chairperson of the Mediterranean Committee on Education for Sustainable Development (MCESD) , and welcome remarks by:
- Ms Maja Krušič Šega, Head of Education Development and Quality Office, Ministry of Education of Slovenia
- Mr Mitja Bricelj, Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning of Slovenia
- Mr Imad El Achkar, Director General Ministry of Education of Lebanon
- Mr Ilias Mavroidis, UNEP/MAP Secretariat
- Ms Megumi Watanabe, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (video message)
The panelists that followed addressed two key questions:
A) What are the ESD Priority areas, Methodologies and Actions that meaningfully engage youth? How can young people be empowered through ESD? Best practices & challenges from the formal, non-formal and informal sector, and,
B) Which mechanisms and processes can strengthen youth engagement in ESD policy? How are ESD policies engaging youth as contributors in policy making? Good examples & lessons learnt at the national and regional levels.
Highlights raised by the majority of the panelists and participants were the following:
- The needed transformation and paradigm shift for the Institutions to bring in the youth in their processes, meetings and fora; Also the demand to change their “language” and approaches in order to engage meaningful the young people,
- Further youth’s empowerment for development of awareness and competences through participatory processes in order for them to be engaged in decision making;
- Further support for youth and ESD, also in financial terms, is needed;
- The importance of ESD, values & ethics, as well as of enabling environments to enhance the youth in becoming active agents of change.
the Key presentation made by Prof. Michael Scoullos, on behalf of the MCESD Secretariat
the Opening message by HE Dr. Athina Michaelidou, Minister of Education, Sport and Youth of Cyprus.