Themes of EYM 2011

FAIR AND GREEN ECONOMY

The main focus of European Youth Meeting for Sustainable Development 2011 can be summed up as Fair and Green Economy. The Meeting serves as preparation for the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and the Green Economy in the context of Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development, simply put ‘a fair and green economy’ is one of the key themes to be addressed by the UN Conference.

The main focus is divided into 7 sub-themes that also correspond to the themes of the working groups.

1. Natural resources (including water, forests and fisheries)
The earth’s population is expected to grow to 9 billion people in 2050. Next to the fact that every human needs resources to simply stay alive - like fresh water, food, clothes, shelter - we nowadays use a lot of natural resources planet earth offers us. The big question for this working group is: In which ways we can make sure that there are enough natural resources for future generations?

2. Education for sustainable development
Education forms a basis for the rest of your life. Things you learn in school and in other learning environments, such as your sport club or the scouting define your behaviour now, and in the future, in your country, and in other parts of the world.

3. Urban development (including transport)
At this moment more than half of earth’s population lives in cities. For example, in the city of Tallinn live 412.925 of the total Estonian population of 1.31 million, while in the past Estonians preferred to live in the countryside. Living with many people close to each other demands creative solutions. 

4. Waste management (including recycling)
In our current European society, consumerism creates a lot of waste. Waste causes spatial, environmental and health problems. From the empty soda can on your street to the enormous amounts of plastic in oceans. However, waste can also be seen as a resource.

5. Agriculture
Hunger is a big problem in large parts of the world. On the other hand, large parts of the world have to deal with overconsumption. Not only our daily menu is supplied by agriculture, also, for example, the cotton for our jeans comes from agriculture. We are already using two-thirds of the earth’s land surface, which causes pressure on biodiversity within ecosystems.

6. Social wellbeing (including health)
Next to the environmental challenges we face as a society, there are a lot of social challenges. We still do not succeed to live in peace with each other, many people die early because of all kinds of diseases, oppression and inequalities are still in place, and many people in the world still have to survive with less than a dollar a day.

7. Renewable energy
Climate change, energy security and access to energy resources are in this field some emerging issues in the coming decades. The European economy imports 55% of their energy resources, and is mostly dependent on fossil fuels. There is an urgent need for a transition towards renewable energy resources.