WFF Side Event at the CFS: Youth-Led Solutions from the Leaders of Today - Solutions and Partnerships for Accelerated Action
This hybrid side event was held under the premise of the CFS Guidelines on Promoting Youth Engagement in Agrifood Systems, showcasing five youth-led solutions on the ground. The examples covered a variety of countries, specifically Canada, Colombia, Nigeria, Peru and Sri Lanka. The panelists and their projects included:
- Claudia Ondo (Canada) - The Government of Quebec, presenting an example of a youth-led project supported by Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec, a government board representing international youth mobility organizations. The project focuses on developing a hydroponic farm in Gabon.
- Leonardo Umaña (Colombia) - Youth Analyst for the IFAD Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division for Latin America, showcasing some examples of how IFAD takes into account the youth perspective in their grassroots approach.
- Ebunoluwa Ajobiewe (Nigeria) - Maximillian Project, providing training with smart modern farming skills to incarcerated persons, empowering them to become financially independent after release.
- Juan David Caro Alvarez (Peru) - YPARD Rural School for Young People, building capacities of rural youth in the design of agrarian development projects.
- Samara Polwatta (Sri Lanka) - School meets the Reef, winner of the nature based solutions hosted by Wageningen University, working on the rehabilitation of coral reefs in the Kayaker Coral Cove by building in situ coral nurseries.
Intervening from the floor, institutional representatives - Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, Mr Peter Schmidt, President of the NAT Section of the European Economic and Social Committee and Audrey Lord, Human Rights Advisor to the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie of Quebec - provided their insights from the panel discussion on the role of youth in policy-making spaces.
The discussions proved the need not only of policies for youth but of policies by youth. Highlighted by the CFS Policy Guidelines on Promoting Youth Engagement and Employment in Agrifood Systems, young change-makers face a series of barriers to effectively deliver these solutions to our agrifood systems. However, despite these challenges, young people are still leading and catalyzing the way forward for their communities. With the endorsement of the Guidelines, both policymakers and young people can utilize this as a tool to support and reduce the barriers hindering youth participation in their efforts to transform our agrifood systems and ensure they are engaged as a key stakeholder.