Green Growth and the Youth

The International Capacity Building Workshop on Green Growth was organized from the 19th - 23rd July 2017, at the Ramada Plaza, Melaka, Malaysia. I had fond memories of Melaka and the World Youth Foundation, having taken part in the International Workshop on Climate Change in 2015, and looked forward to an enriching experience. And the five days at Melaka were again fruitful, with an array of acclaimed international speakers and panelists interacting with the delegated from 19 countries. The resource persons combined powerful audio visual  presentations with interactive breakouts and project development sessions centered around the Sustainable Development Goals, culminating in a call of action. 

The Chairman of World Youth Foundation, Honourable Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Ali Rustam opened the five day event and spoke on how green growth policies is a powerful tool to enhance equal progress for both the economic prosperity and ecological sustainability of a nation. As a former Chief Minister of Melaka, Tan Sri Dr. Rustam had successfully planned and implemented the economic development of the small landlocked state of Melaka, modeled on the European city-state Luxembourg, despite being handicapped by its lack of natural resources.

Ms Varsha K. Ajmera, Chief Operation Officer of World Youth Foundation,  delivered the welcome address and invited all the participants to stand in solidarity in the journey towards creating a greener planet. She asserted that the action plans and collective experiences shared and gained during the course of the workshop will prove to be very crucial for the young delegates to understand, undertake and amplify efforts for transformative changes in their respective communities. 

Christopher Stampar, the International Director of IDEAS For Us, conducted the core capacity building workshop on 'Green Growth' by using "The Hive" model, which directly engages participants in a collaborative and interactive learning experience on project planning and implementation. The delegates were encouraged to 'Think global and act local' and effectively address the most pressing environmental issues of their respective communities with innovative projects for management of these issues. 

Ms Ushio Miura of UNESCO, Bangkok talked about the contribution of youth in the context of urban sustainability, while Kishva Ambigapathy of the Commonwealth Youth Council delivered a statement of the targets and accomplishments of the youth in framing sustainable development in the region. Mr. Sonal Jayawickrama of YouthHack Malaysia was a young speaker on the role of the youth in furthering the industrial revolution while promoting Green Growth. 

Mr. Sivapalan Kathiravale, Head of Environmental Preservation and Innovation Centre presented an enlightening paper on Malaysia's circular economy and holistic waste management and called for collaborative action to replicate these successful initiatives in other regions. Marion D. Carvalho from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & Environment, London School of Economics addressed the delegates on Green Growth principles  via video conferencing. Dr. Jagbir Singh from India addressed the delegates on conservation and management of fresh water resources. I had the opportunity to take part in the youth panel discussion and present a Climate Reality presentation on the biodiversity impacts of climate change. 

The International Workshop ended with the adoption of the Call for Action,  coordinated by Mr. Sulaiman Rameez of the International Youth Council Sri Lanka, where participants affirmed their strong commitment to conserve, and protect the planet by using available resources in a sustainable way. Participants called for governments to include knowledge management, research and hand-on approaches in the education system.