Wildlife Works Community Relations Officer attends The Youth and Landscape Initiative in Paris

In December 2015, I participated in The Youth and Landscapes Initiative, part of The Global Landscape Forum, a side event to the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Paris.

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes' Dragons Den Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon's Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes’ Dragons Den – Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon’s Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

The Youth and Landscape Initiative event brought together 50 young people from all over the world to identify environmental problems and to propose solutions.  The Youth and Landscapes Initiative covered topics such as rights and tenure, finance and trade, measuring success, landscape restoration and education.

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes' Dragons Den Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon's Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes’ Dragons Den – Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon’s Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

Participant groups were given a challenge, for which we had to come up with a solution and give a three-minute pitch to an expert panel.  My teammates and I were tackling the education challenge.  Our pitch covered the gap that exists between formal education and field knowledge. Our group found that different landscape models exist, but not in one place.  We proposed to develop an online landscape academy as a repository for the various landscape models and for curriculum, developed by some of the institutions attending the Youth and Landscape Initiative.  An online self-assessment tool would identify their agricultural-related competencies including soft skills, such as their cultural understanding, and technical skills, such as their agricultural knowledge.  Based on the results, a customized curriculum would be developed automatically, related to the participants geographic region.  People from around the world could contribute their best practices to solve landscape problems, via an online community.  For example, someone who has indigenous knowledge about African agriculture, but wants to do agroforestry, can learn from online materials or pose questions to the online community.  

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes' Dragons Den Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon's Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

GLFCOP21 Youth in Landscapes’ Dragons Den – Young development professionals and students could pitch solutions to global landscape challenges to a panel of experts in a Dragon’s Den Style Event. © Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015 all rights reserved worldwide.

The youth who participated in the event met scholars, scientists, and climate change experts who were at the forum to learn from young minds.  The majority of the expert panel, from The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Danone, The Global Water Initiative, Repo Consultancy, and The World Bank, lauded our group’s presentation.  The audience gave resounding applause to our presentation.  

I had great fun meeting and living with people from all over the world who share a common passion for the environment.  The Youth in landscape Initiatives was a lifetime experience.

Joseph Mwakima is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “Education” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: Wageningen UR.

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.