Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security (BREES) Youth for Sustainable Development Awards 2013
Following the successful Youth for Sustainable Development Award initiatives in Cibodas and Cat Ba Biosphere Reserves (BR), this year the initiative is held in Wakatobi, Indonesia and Palawan, the Philippines. Organized by UNESCO Jakarta, implemented by Yayasan FOCIL Indonesia and Western Philippines University with great support from Japan Fund in Trust, the activity aims to strengthen a hands-on approach to environmental sustainability in school and communities. It encourages young people to make significant, tangible, and positive changes toward a better environment in their local biosphere reserves by supporting small scale projects related to environmental awareness and education; recycling; sustainable agriculture and fisheries; community-based forest management; community waste management and clean energy.
This year the proposals were selected from a total of 54 participating schools with various themes. From Wakatobi, the school children will implement projects with themes such as mangrove plantation, coral transplantation, use of local edible roots as an alternative staple food, home scale fish processing and local wisdom in forest conservation. While in Palawan, the selected project ideas are solar powered flashlight, paper and plastic wastes utilization for school structures and teaching aid, production of organic fertilizer (vermicast), youth-based mangrove forest management and protection and e-Network as environmental advocates.
The BREES Youth for Sustainability Awards Night to appoint the best project was held on 30 November 2013. In Wakatobi, the best project was awarded to SMPN 3 Wangi-wangi Selatan with project title “The Use of Local Edible Roots as an Alternative Staple Food”. Furthermore, the Government of Wakatobi also appoints the Wakatobi Biosphere Reserve Young Envoy to Meganinda Syafrina, a student from SMAN 1 Tomia, to support the government on promoting Wakatobi. Awarding night in Palawan selected Sicsican National High School which brought project on “Youth-Based Mangrove Forest Management and Protection in Barangay Sicsican”.
This exciting initiative is an integral part of BREES (Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security) flagship programme, a long term (+7 years) regional climate change and poverty alleviation programme which works with communities, educational institutions, government and donor agencies to use biosphere reserve as learning centres for environmental and human adaptability to climate change effects. The BREES works in selected Biosphere Reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science.
BREES involves a variety of stakeholders namely the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Committee of Indonesia and the Philippines, district governments, education and culture agencies, planning and development agencies, BR management authorities and local NGOs. Prior to proposals submissions, young people from the selected BRs were equipped with environmental awareness, proposal writing and budgeting materials to assist them in producing project proposal. Small grants will be allocated to selected proposals from groups of children (ranging from ages 12-18) outlining an environmental project in their community or school that will help promote better environmental awareness and practice.
UNESCO Jakarta in supporting the Youth for Sustainable Development Awards initiative to become an annual event and a model for environmental education in other Biosphere Reserves.
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