The young innovators who met in Paris for the Youth in Landscapes Initiatives were young leaders from all over the world. They were the influential front runners of tomorrow who are passionate about landscape management and improving the livelihoods of the rural communities especially smallholder farmers.
I was part of the Finance and trade team. As a team of ten innovators, we were coming from ten different countries with ten different backgrounds and experiences. We were united by the desire of inventing creative solutions to the complex challenges that smallholder farmers face while producing raw materials for large-scale companies.
During the discussions, one of the lessons I learnt was that in order to find comprehensive solutions, we have to work hand in hand. Every single expertise is an added value. Agriculture, landscapes or the environment in general are no longer domains exclusively reserved for professionals in these fields. To solve issues related to this, there is a need for multi-disciplinary collaboration. That is what our team was embodying and bringing in; whether during the workshop sessions or during the evenings sharing the delicious beouf bourgignon or a glass of french red wine. During that week, we had become a family!
Youth in Landscapes Initiative was an initiative that created hope for the young generations. The reason being the fact that the future of our planet belongs to all of us children, young and elders, and we really have to start thinking about what are sustainable solutions to all the problems that affect our communities. We were provided with analytical tools and mentors to help us to reach our goals.
From the discussions we had in our finance team, I learned that it is really hard to come up with a magic bullet solution that will positively impact the livelihoods of farmers. First of all the definition of smallholder farmers itself differs from one region to another. On the other hand, the characteristics of a smallholder farmer in Canada are quite similar but also different from those in Peru, Taiwan and Rwanda.
However, once you engage in the discussions, there are some ideas that one can borrow and that are applicable to our specific problems. It was an experience that allowed me not to see myself as an expert in agriculture but as a perpetual learner of how I can better avail my skills to serve farmers.
Participating in Global Landscapes Forum was an awakening moment; a reminder that we should never sleep on our ears and believe that what needs to be done is completed. We have to keep our minds open to new opportunities that our communities can benefit from.
Finally, I think that it is really important to include the youth in international conferences because this stimulates them to start thinking about the current challenges the world is facing and to provide their neutral analysis of the situation while creating solutions that are adapted to various cases. And this is what Youth in Landscapes Initiative has done. A new community of young change makers is created and they feel included and supported by the seniors in the field.
Learn more about the Global Landscapes Forum Youth program, meet our 50 youth champions, discover the 5 Landscapes challenges they took up and the solutions they developed and pitched at the Dragon’s Den on 6th December 2015, in Paris.