Closing statement by the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) at the Rio+20 UN Conference

By , July 11, 2012 2:13 am

The following is the closing statement by the Major Group for Children and Youth at the UNCSD (MGCY) at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development negotiations, supported by the 8 other civil society Major Groups attending the conference in Rio. While leaders of nations were given many hours to give speeches about the outcomes in Rio, youth and other members of civil society were not allowed even two minutes in the closing session to give their views. That was a big dissapointment for everyone, mostly children and youth.

Major Group for Children and Youth Rio+20 Closing Statement

I want you to imagine a generation that has been damned, imagine children deprived of a world without war, imagine a community where human beings are slaves to fellow beings and where disease and hunger are the order of the day. That is the future we warned you of in 92 and that future, is today.

If these sheets of paper are our common future, then you have sold our fate and subsidised our common destruction. Where was our voice, the voice of our children and grandchildren in this? How can you listen to them in the future if you did not show the will to create the space now?

We have one planet. Our being, our thinking, and our action should not be constrained by national boundaries but by planetary ones. You failed to liberate yourself from national and corporate self-­interest and recognise our need to respect a greater more transcendental set of boundaries.

We came here to celebrate our generation. We have danced, and dreamed, and loved on the streets of Rio and found something to believe in. You have chosen
not to celebrate with us.

You were supposed to show leadership. It was not just your job to seek consensus. It was your responsibility to commit, show ambition and to lead. You have failed.

You have worked hard to close a deal. So, if any of you think this document is the ambitious, action-­‐oriented outcome you said you wanted, please stand up.

If you are unable to stand up, then you must be unwilling to move forward. So we will move forward for you.

We know this:

We need intergenerational cooperation.
We need innovation and creativity.
We need to embrace the values of sustainability, equity, justice and respect for human rights.
We need to recognise that material resources are finite, but human potential is not.

And so,

We will create strong global institutions
We will create new paradigms of wealth and prosperity
We will act as the voice for future generations, one that you so wilfully ignored.
We will stand united beyond borders and bridge the national interests that divide us
We will implement what you have not.

We are moving forward decisively with action. We are not deterred.

The representative of the Major Group for Children and Youth

The Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN) was at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference

By , July 10, 2012 7:58 pm

Like was the case at the 17th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN) has sent a youth delegation to attend the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ( which took place from June 20th to 22nd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference arrived many days before the High-level segment of the conference in order to join a series of youth-led events and other related activities starting mostly on June 6th. The youth delegation in Brazil has the following members:

Mr. Chola Simwanza (Zambia)
Ms. Raquel Woods (Australia)
Mr. Simon Matafai (New Zealand)
Ms. Anam Gill (Pakistan)
Mr. Jean Paul Brice Affana (Cameroon)
Ms. Slater Jewell-Kemker (Canada)

Apart their role to support the work of the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) the youth delegates have organized their main activity in a form of a side event entitled ‘’Achieving a sustainable future in Rio: what can do a ‘’Blue Economy’’?. The event was held on 17th June from 19:30pm to 21:00pm at Rio Centro, the conference venue. The delegation also participates in many other activities run by civil society organizations, governments and United Nations agencies. It was the case with the 6th World Youth Congress organized by Peace Child Iinternational; the Youth Blast (known as the official Rio+20 youth conference); the Rio+20 Third Preparatory Committee and the Rio+20 Dialogue Days from 17th to 19th June. Some of the delegates also joined the People’s Summit from 15th to 23rd June at Aterro de Flamengo while one of them has been at the TEDx Rio+20 on the theme ‘’Concentration of thoughts from diverse knowledge areas to understand and analyze Human Power‘’.

Given the role played by some of them and the Commonwealth youth in the implementation of the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest, the delegation has been collaborating closely with the organizers and winners of that contest in Rio de Janeiro. The Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN)’s delegation at Rio+20 has also supported a group of youth from the United Kingdom to organize ”London+20” on June 5th from 10am to 5pm at the British Youth Council in London. The event was organized to build the knowledge of youth from the UK on Rio+20 and also hear from their expectations towards Rio+20. More information about the successfully event as one of the milestone events prior to Rio+20 could be found at

The CYCN delegation at Rio+20 was funded by the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) with technical support from the Commonwealth Secretariat and its Economic Affairs Division. That is one of the reasons why the youth delegates met in Rio with one of the Deputy Secretaries-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Mr. Ransford Smith, during a side event on Small Islands developing States and Ocean Governance organized by the secretariat on June 20th at Rio Centro.

The winners of the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest were at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

The winners of the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest attended the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012. The overall winner, the choir Santo Amaro de Oeiras from Portugal who won in the children category with the song “Meu Planeta Azul” (My Blue Planet) along with Ms. Milena Paraschiv and Mr. Radu Popescu from Romania who won in the youth category with the song “Open Your Eyes” have been in Rio to share their message for a better world through their winning entries with all participants to the UN conference.

The contest was organized by the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI) with support from a team of more than 100 global youth organizations, leaders and volunteers. A group of over 50 Regional and National Coordinators have supported the contest as volunteers and reached over 5000 global youth ! The aim was to mobilize youth from all over the world to use music as a powerful tool to activate people around the achievement of a real sustainable world.

By the deadline on the 18th of March, 313 entries from 40 participating countries were received, coming from Kenya, China, Cameroon, Trinidad and Tobago, Rwanda, Seychelles, Burkina Faso, Spain, Columbia, USA, Nigeria, Germany, Romania, Australia, Gambia, etc. These amazing songs prove that youth don’t care about borders when comes the time to address global challenges. United despite their diversity, the participants committed themselves to ensure the sustainability of our mother earth through their music, while they decided to engage themselves in creating the change they believe in. These entries bring those who take the time to watch them in a wonderful world where a real sustainable world is possible !

The winners in each category of the contest were chosen through an online voting process from March 19th to May 19th with over 250.000 online votes registered. The songs which received the top among of votes won the contest and their authors have been confirmed to perform and receive their awards at the Rio+20 UN Conference as stated in the contest rules. The winning songs have called the United Nations system and the world citizens on the role we all have to play to ensure a sustainable planet for all by mobilizing our power and energy. Global youth has a key role to play here and therefore they need to be heard and empowered.

Milena Paraschiv one of the winners said “This is one of the best experiences I have ever had and I think it’s great that we could send our musical message to so many people. And I am really glad that we were able to meet so many people from diverse places and make friends. It reminds me of the song by John Lennon, Imagine all the people living in peace. It’s great to be in Rio.

The contest was also supported in its development by the Commonwealth Youth Climate Network (CYCN) which also collaborated with the organizers at Rio+20. The Global Coordinator of the initiative being Mr. Jean Paul Brice Affana, a youth leader from Cameroon. Some of the National and Regional Coordinators of the contest were also coming from Commonwealth member states, such as Mr. Chola Siwamza from Zambia, Mr. Simon Matafai from New Zealand, Ms. Anam Gill from Pakistan, Mr. Garry T. Perry from Trinidad and Tobago, among others.

The winners have performed on June 23rd, 2012 at the ’Concert for a New Earth’ along with other artists such as Playing for Change, Milton and Maria Gadu, two very famous musicians in Brazil. The concert was organized by Peace Lights at the Teatro Fundicao Progresso in Rio de Janeiro. Photos of that concert could be accessed on Facebook at and the videos on YouTube at:

To listen to the messages of global youth on The Future We Want and to ’’Let the music talk, let the rhythm play and let the world know what the youth have to say !‘’, go to the Facebook page where you will be able to access all the photos at: and for the videos go to YouTube at:

Panorama theme by Themocracy

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