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New partnerships engage youth in urban sustainability agendas

In a move to bring youth and universities closer to the big urban challenges, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability in South America announced two new partnerships to strengthen youth engagement in sustainability agendas.

Working towards strong partnerships and diverse coalitions, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability in South America is focusing on future leaders and joining forces with Plant-for-the-Planet and Youth Climate Leaders to promote youth engagement on sustainability.

"The nature of the agendas that ICLEI promotes are long-term, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, with a horizon until 2030, and the Paris Agreement until 2050, so future generations must be involved," explained Rodrigo Perpétuo, Executive Secretary of ICLEI South America. "Local governments must pay attention to youth today, because the central principle of sustainability is to enable future generations to enjoy conditions at least equal to those we have today; neglecting this generation means breaking with the concept of sustainability."

As part of its commitment to support the engagement of future leaders, ICLEI announced a new partnership with Plant-for-the-Planet, an organization that offers environmental education activities and collective planting for municipal schools. Focused on children from 7 to 12 years old, Plant-for-the-Planet carries out educational sessions - called “climate academies” - to create ambassadors for climate justice, raising awareness about climate change in a playful way, and planting trees to help foster direct action in their communities. Their goal is to plant 1 trillion trees around the world.

"Our work will only be possible in partnership with cities, because cities are home to a high concentration of youth and students and are critical partners in our afforestation efforts," said Evelyn Araripe, National Director of Plant- for-the-Planet Brazil. "With decades-long experience working with local governments, ICLEI will be an important collaborative partner." Since 2018, Plant-for-the-Planet Brasil has established partnerships with the Municipalities of Curitiba and Salvador to promote 40 academies and plant up to 10,000 trees in each city. Through this new partnership, ICLEI will offer Plant-for-the-Planet expertise and solutions to all ICLEI Members in South America.

Preparing youth for climate discussions

Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) is an organization that offers young professionals training and preparation for international climate discussions in a way that stimulates leadership and an integrated vision for sustainability agendas.

As part of a newly announced collaboration with YCL, ICLEI will contribute to the curriculum of the YCL Immersion program, which will bring a youth delegation to Germany in August 2019, and is offering a scholarship to the "Leadership Development on Climate Change for the 21st Century Course" in Brazil.

According to Cassia Moraes, founder and CEO of YCL, the theme of international immersion program this year is "cities and climate change. I believe cities and states are emerging as hubs of climate action. We see this partnership as a catalyst for the plan to ‘localize’ sustainability in territories, because as a global network, we see these places as a way for our alumni to return to their city and work on local projects, but always stay connected through our network"

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