The world today is home to the largest generation of young people in its history, there are now over 1.8 billion youth between the ages of 10 to 24. Enhancing the role young people play and providing opportunities for their active engagement in protecting health and the environment and promoting economic and social development will be essential for a sustainable, democratic future. Young people push qualitative change in ways of working, innovation and institutional reforms, including better governance, combating corruption, and building a healthier social and physical environment.
IPEN’s vision for a toxics-free future includes a concern for future generations and is founded on the contributions of young people. IPEN recognizes the invaluable role that youth can and do play in promoting sound chemical and waste management. We recognizes their unique contribution as agents of change and rights’ holders, and value their special characteristics that can contribute to resolving chemical and waste problems, including their capacity for creativity and innovation, their dedication and energy, and their ability to raise awareness and change behavior through their advocacy, mobilization of their peers, and networking.
IPEN has always engaged with a diverse range of stakeholders both within and outside our
Network members. Some youth-led partnerships and young leaders are already part of our growing network and several IPEN participating organizations are working to engage in initiatives that target young people. However, much more needs to be done. We intend to substantially increase and deepen our involvement with youth organizations as our youth caucus gains momentum.
History of the IPEN Youth Caucus
At the 2020 IPEN Global Meeting in Ethiopia, a group of young people came together with the idea to create an IPEN Youth Caucus. The initiative was then led by our colleagues, Benson, Kwame, Giulia and Joe who paved the way to create the caucus. The IPEN Steering Committee officially approved the IPEN Youth Caucus in 2021.
IPEN Youth Caucus Objectives
The objective of the IPEN Youth Caucus is to provide an overarching framework to guide IPEN and its network’s engagement with young people, youth organizations, and young professionals and to empower them to become agents of change in their respective communities.
Interested in Joining the IPEN Youth Caucus?
Your organization must be an IPEN Participating Organization (PO), you can find more information on joining IPEN here. Any youth (under 35 years old) within an IPEN PO may apply to join the youth caucus by reaching out to their IPEN Regional Coordinator
Youth Caucus Structure and Leadership
IPEN Youth Caucus Co-Chairs (2023-2026)
In 2023, Sonia Buftheim, Senior Toxics Program Officer with the Nexus for Environment, Health, and Development (Nexus3 Foundation), Indonesia, and Stanley Okwara a Research Associate with Centre for Earth Works, (CFEW), Plateau State, Nigeria were appointed as the first IPEN Youth Co-chairs.
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