GLF2015 Youth Workshop - Day1 Picture credits: Youth in Landscapes initiative
GLF2015 Youth Workshop – Day1, Picture credits: Youth in Landscapes initiative

Several young people gathered in Paris in December 2015 for three complete days to try to understand the global challenges facing the Environment today.  The Landscapes seems to be an obvious issue but yet again, it seems we have been missing the point. It is one of the complex issues I have dealt with especially in the angle of “Measuring Success”, which team I was part of.

Together with the brilliant young people from across the world, I was able to appreciate this giant: “Landscapes Approach.” Each individual brought on board different expertise in the area and the most interesting was the Forest Engineering, a thing I had not heard of for a while especially when the forest Engineer is a woman.  In our team, measuring success, we learnt how to listen and share ideas because everyone was an expert at something therefore creating synergy was an asset.

Acqua Republica was also a strange encounter to many especially figuring out how best one can use the Landscapes Approach to deal with the challenge of measuring the success that these water games have on the Environment. Intense reading, research, consultation with the Mentors was now inevitable for us as a team and thus we gathered all the knowledge that we could to this effect.

In general, I have learnt to work as a team, consult more, ask the questions-the hard questions in order to get workable solutions.  We were able to come up with the solution: A one stop information centre that is user friendly and feasible that will give us information which we shall use to evaluate and solve problems.   

Defining and understanding our challenge was the most challenging aspect as team Measuring Success-it was complex and of course you could not jump to workable solutions if you didn’t fully understand what the challenge was. For days, each one of us scratched their heads to trying to undress this challenge and slowly by slowly, we were able to come to an agreement regarding what really our challenge called for. This was the most tiring and complex session-but it paid off!

The mock Dragon’s Den was also exciting; to feel that you are pitching reasonable and feasible plans to these dragons who are just ready to devour whatever comes their way and yes, we managed to pitch our solutions and by this time, our temperatures had fallen as we now understood what we were meant to do come the D-day!

The #YIL photo hunt challenge was an exciting one: where we had to run across cities of Paris to just locate a volunteer with a placard! From running to catch the earliest train to running without taking a train, our team managed to reach to 4 out of 5 places in time and this we celebrated with an award! In essence, with this challenge, we toured most of the tourist sites in Paris and this was exciting!

I have many friends added to my list, many business ideas, and new destinations to reach out to and I cannot wait for the YIL and GLF Morocco 2016! There is no better place that tests the minds of the young people than the Youth in Landscapes Initiative and the Global Landscapes Forum! I can’t wait for this year’s series!

Michael Aboneka is one of the 10 young champions who worked on the “ Measuring success ” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: UNEP-DHI.

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.