Over the last six years, thousands of experts from around the world collected information on the state of our planet’s ecosystems. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) coordinated this effort, and compiled the findings into a number of reports, including one for Africa (https://www.ipbes.net/assessing-knowledge). The IPBES reports highlight that the health of our life-supporting ecosystems is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. But they also present a range of actions that can help us achieve more sustainable futures.

To help accelerate action, we need to have visions of “nature-futures” in which people and ecosystems thrive together. What do such futures look like? How can we get there? In particular, we need visions of nature-futures as imagined by the youth (aged 18-30yrs), who will be the stewards of our planet in decades to come. And importantly, we need more visions of the future that are inspired by the lives and experiences of youth from the Global South.

To support the call for stronger representation of youth perspectives in conversations about the future of our planet, we are facilitating a series of online engagements with youth organizations and networks from southern Africa. We seek to engage youth groups that are inspired by the need to address environmental challenges, as well as related issues such as equity and justice.

We have planned two online workshops, taking place from 10h00 – 12h30 (CAT) on the 16th and 19th of March. At these workshops, we will:

  • Introduce the key messages of the IPBES assessments to a wide variety of southern African youth organizations and networks;
  • provide an opportunity for youth in the region to share stories of how their lives are impacted by environmental change;
  • facilitate a “futuring” process to get participants thinking about the future in creative ways; and
  • launch a competition for artistic expressions of “nature-futures” for southern Africa. The winning teams will receive support for their creative pursuits (please see below for more info on this part of the process).

During the workshops, participating organizations will get a chance to interact with like-minded groups from across southern Africa. Participants will learn about “futuring” tools that can be used in their own setting, as well as upcoming training opportunities for more in-depth futuring methods. In addition, insights from the youth groups will be collected and shared with IPBES, to be presented at international science and policy events. If youth organizations choose to participate in the art competition (see more details below), their work will be profiled in a video.

If you are part of a youth organization or network, or engage with youth aged 18-30yrs, and are interested in participating in this process, please visit: www.youthnaturefutures.org 

Find out more about the project on the website, and apply to participate in the workshops via online registration.