Youth make a major impact at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum

Youth innovators preparing for their pitches at the Global Landscapes Forum Dragons Den. Picture credit: Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015

Youth innovators preparing for their pitches at the Global Landscapes Forum Dragons Den. Picture credit: Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015

What do a Ugandan lawyer, a Mexican engineer, a Nepalese agriculture student, a Canadian policy advisor, and an Italian forest scientist have in common? They are all under 30 years old, are all innovators in their field, and were part of the 50-strong cohort of youth innovators who showed delegates at the Global Landscapes Forum and the UN climate talks in Paris that youth have a strong and important role to play in these international meetings.

These 50 young people pitched 5 solutions to real-world landscape challenges at the Global Landscapes Forum dragons den:

  • Finance and trade: An exchange program between smallholder farmers that empowers them to form cooperatives and share resources, such as storage facilities and centralized distribution centers.

  • Education: an online self-assessment tool called LandSelf allows you to enter your current knowledge and skills and it will generate a customized curriculum to fill the gaps in your landscape knowledge.

  • Landscape restoration: Land is an open-access toolkit that allows communities and organisations engaged in restoration projects in Ethiopia’s highlands to monitor their land restoration processes, disaggregated by gender.

  • Measuring success: an information center that provides real-time data about the impact of different digital educational tools that are being used worldwide and their progress in helping to achieve the SDGs.

  • Rights and tenure: an interactive mapping platform to present data on both locally-defined indicators and national progress towards safeguards adherence.

Read more: Believing in themselves and the future: Youth at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum

Our final report will be published on in February, 2016.

Closing plenary: “Consider youth the way you consider gender, race and regional diversity”

Salina Abraham, our youth representative in the closing plenary was one of the most celebrated speakers at the Global Landscapes Forum. Asking members of the audience who were under 30 years old to stand, she urged delegates to concretely integrate youth into their work.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General, took the message to heart and invited Abraham to take her seat alongside ministers and leaders in the final plenary.

Read the full transcript of her speech and watch the video here. Prepare to be inspired!

Watch youth pitching 5 ideas to dragons den

Photo credit: Wen-Yu Weng

Imagine walking onto a stage in a room full of 200+ people, in front of a panel of renowned experts, and pitching a solution that you and a group of 10 peers from around the world developed in four short days. And you speak English as a second or third language.

My heart was racing throughout the entire event. After each pitch, you could almost feel the teams holding their breaths as they waited for the dragons to respond.

Read more, by Abby Waldorf, WLE_CGIAR: A room full of dragons

Young agricultural communicator from Malawi wins most popular video prize!

Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR 2015

150 young people from across the world applied to join us in Paris in December to solve 5 landscape challenges. You voted for your favourite video and we’re pleased to announce Tamanda Chabvuta, communications officer at the National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi as the winner!

Tamanda will receive two leadership coaching sessions with Pamela Yoga-Yieke - a motivational trainer, facilitator, coach, and management consultant, who has worked for more than 18 years with a wide range of clients, including the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), Kenya Institute of Management, Strategic Leadership Centre, and the Training Solutions Limited (a KPMG affiliate).

Congratulations Tamanda! Watch Tamanda’s winning video.  

Five inspiring youth to take part in long term mentoring program

Daphne Nansambu, from Uganda, being interviewed by her mentor Peace Sasha Musonge. Photo credit: Peace Sasha Musonge

The 2015 Global Landscapes Forum may be over, but for five young participants the journey has just begun!

Of the 22 youth who were partnered senior professionals throughout the two days of the Global Landscapes Forum, five will continue their mentoring relationships over the next 6 to 12 months as part of the Youth in Landscapes Initiative mentoring program. This pilot long-term program was designed by these youth and their mentors through an exciting and collaborative ‘design sprint’ workshop held in Paris before the GLF.

Meet these five inspiring pairs and read more about how they applied the ‘design thinking’ process to mentorship:

Why would you mentor a student or a young professionals? Get inspired by this video.

Youth innovators tell their side of the story

Landscape restoration team featured on the media

Follow the journey of the landscapes restoration team as they prepare their pitch for the dragons den panel. Listen to the podcast here and watch the video.

Daan being interviewed by Hook – picture credit: Andrew Wheeler for Wild Dog Limited / WLE_CGIAR

Huffington Post: Thinking Landscapes and the Importance of Youth to Meet the COP21 1.5 Degree Goal

By Pieter Van de Sype, 2015 Youth in Landscapes alumnus

“I am proud to have been involved in this initiative...which combined capacity building for creating innovative ideas with connecting promising youth innovators involved in landscapes: a Belgian law student who didn't know much about the technical details of ecosystem management, who worked together with agricultural engineers to conceptualize an app that involved local people in landscape restoration.”

Read more in Pieter’s blog in The Huffington Post.

One's destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things

By Jhannel Tomlinson, 2015 Youth in Landscapes alumnus

This initiative provided a place for collaboration, cohesion and communication and it was interesting for me to learn from these young professionals not only of the issues affecting them but also of their cultures, traditions, motivations and goals. The smiles, laughter, disagreements and confused faces all contributed to the experiences we all shared and I have learnt three very important lessons. Read more...

Check in early 2016 as we publish more testimonials from our youth innovators!

Feel like you were there with us!

Take a look at the photos from the workshop, the youth scavenger hunt and theDragons Den.  

The Youth in Landscapes Initiative is a partnership between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD), the International Forestry Students Association (IFSA) and the Global Agroecology Alliance (GAEA).