Start: 2002-12-19, End: 2008-12-30, Publication: 2012-10-23


The present report contains a draft long-term strategy of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on engagement and involvement of young people in environmental issues, which has been prepared pursuant to Governing Council decision 21/22 of 9 February 2001. The document has been revised in view of the recent development of the activities of UNEP in the area of capacity-building and the partnerships with other United Nations entities. It is submitted for the consideration of the Council... Under an overall concept entitled “Tunza”, the UNEP strategy is a six-year plan designed to increase the participation of young people in environmental issues. Its objective is to create a global movement in which children and youth worldwide will actively participate in environmental activities. It seeks to enhance, inspire and enable the involvement of children and youth in sustainable development.

The main legislative mandates for UNEP’s work with young people include Agenda 21, Chapter 25, Children and Youth in Sustainable Development; General Assembly resolution 50/81, the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond; and UNEP Governing Council decision 21/22, Engagement and Involvement of Children and Youth in the Work of the UNEP. The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development specifically mentions that it responds to the voices of the children of the world, and the Plan of Implementation emanating from the World Summit on Sustainable Development requested Governments and the United Nations to develop the capacity of young people “to participate, as appropriate, in designing, implementing and reviewing sustainable development policies and strategies at all levels”.


Name:Owen Ambur


Name:United Nations Environment Programme



  • Executive DirectorIn order to measure progress in the implementation of the strategy, there will be half-yearly and yearly reports on the implementation of the work programme. The status of implementation of the relevant Governing Council decisions is reported on a quarterly basis. A mid-term report on implementation of the strategy will be presented to the ninth special session of the Governing Council, in 2006, and a final report will be presented to the twenty-fifth regular session of the Council, in 2009, accompanied by a new draft six-year strategy.

  • Governing Council of the United Nations Environment ProgrammeThe strategy responds to Governing Council decision 21/22, which requested the development of a longterm strategy on the engagement and involvement of young people in UNEP. It primarily targets young people, 24 years and below, who constitute 47 per cent or 2.9 billion of the world’s population. The majority of them (87 per cent or 2.5 billion) live in developing countries, where access to environmental information is still limited. Focusing UNEP’s awareness and capacity-building efforts on young people is an important long-term investment for sustainable development.

  • Young PeopleUNEP started its work with young people in 1985, which was designated International Youth Year. Since then, it has developed several global and regional initiatives, activities and networks. UNEP has held regular conferences for young people and promoted environmental awareness through competitions, recognition and partnerships with international, regional and national organizations working with young people. UNEP has also involved young people in its Governing Council sessions and in the development of regional and global environmental reports. UNEP also supports activities of children and youth in school and universities.

  • ChildrenThis document refers to young people under 15 years as children, and to young people 15 to 24 years as youth, consistent with the United Nations definition of youth. However, some allowance has been made to work with young people up to 30 years old, in line with the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond which recognizes the fact that the meaning of the term youth varies in different societies around the world and that the definitions have consistently changed in response to fluctuating political, economic and socio-cultural circumstances.

  • YouthThe development of the draft strategy involved consultations with young people at the UNEP Global Youth Forum (March 2002), the International Children’s Conference (May 2002), the World Summit on Sustainable Development (August - September 2002) and several internet chat sessions (June - September 2002). UNEP divisions and regional offices also participated in the development of the strategy.... UNEP’s activities for young people receive strong support from the Governing Council and senior management. UNEP also benefits from extensive global and regional networks for young people, enabling the organization to reach out to more than 180 countries with environmental information. However, the lack of adequate financial and human resources has greatly limited UNEP’s work with young people and has resulted in activities largely driven by funding possibilities as opposed to actual priorities of UNEP and the needs of young people.

  • UNEP Division of Communications and Public InformationThe Division of Communications and Public Information will handle the overall coordination and implementation and will work with divisional and regional focal points on children and youth issues... The main challenge for UNEP’s work with young people is to overcome the lack of environmental awareness among them. Other pressing problems affecting young people, such as poverty, unemployment and the impact of HIV/AIDS, are also major challenges. There is, nevertheless, a growing interest among young people, including in schools, community organizations and youth groups, in the environment and UNEP. The Internet, in particular, presents a unique opportunity to reach millions of young people, not only in developed countries but also in developing countries where, despite the fact that the use of the Internet remains low, UNEP has witnessed an ever growing number of electronic queries from young people. The Division of Communications and Public Information’s Children and Youth Unit estimates that it is currently receiving an average of 15,000 electronic queries from young people every year, 30 per cent of which emanate from developing countries.

  • UNEP HeadquartersThe strategy will be coordinated and implemented at UNEP headquarters, in close collaboration with regional offices.

  • UNEP Regional OfficesRegional offices will coordinate and implement regional components of the strategy and will work with relevant divisions to ensure regional representation in global activities.

  • UNEP DivisionsThe substantive divisions, with support and guidance from the Division of Communications and Public Information, will handle the implementation of activities related to their substantive areas.

  • UN Budget and Financial Management ServiceConsistent with paragraph 139 of the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond contained in the annex to General Assembly resolution 50/81, which refers to the United Nations Youth Fund to support youth actions, it is recommended that a Tunza trust fund be created for financing the implementation of the strategy. The Tunza fund would receive contributions from Governments, philanthropists, individuals, foundations and the private sector. The fund would be administered by the Budget and Financial Management Service of the United Nations Office at Nairobi.

  • GovernmentsPhilanthropists

  • Individual Donors

  • Foundations

  • Private Sector