World Scouting and UN Environment renew their partnership

World Scouting and UN Environment are renewing their partnership on the environment, in recognition of the enormous challenges facing our planet, and the important role of young people in creating a more sustainable world.

The partnership comes as both parties mark 10 years since the launch of the World Scout Environment Programme (WSEP) in 2008. Scouts across the globe have completed thousands of environment-related projects under the WSEP, including coral reef conservation in Indonesia and raising awareness about hot environments in an era of climate change in Morocco, earning the World Scout Environment Badge in recognition of their learning and commitment to the
natural world.

The Secretary-General of The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Ahmad Alhendawi, and the Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, signed the Memorandum of Understanding on further collaboration on the sidelines of the 9th session of the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur.

Tackling plastic marine litter will be a priority of the partnership, with Scouts around the world encouraged to undertake projects that will help address the multi-dimensional threats facing the marine environment throughout the world, as part of the UN’s Clean Seas campaign. It will also include the development of educational materials on Disaster Risk Reduction for children and young people. UN Environment will also help ensure the WSEP aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the latest
environmental research and best practice in youth-led community sustainability projects.

“World Scouting’s focus on the environment not only reflects the Movement’s own values and its goal of creating active citizens, but also its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to strengthening our World Scout Environment Programme to create a bigger impact,” said
World Scouting’s Alhendawi.

“UN Environment is very excited to continue our great collaboration with the World Scout Movement,” said UN Environment’s Solheim. “With the Scout Movements extensive community outreach network we have the potential to make a huge impact on some of the defining environmental issues of our time. In particular, I’m excited that we can work with Scouts across the world to rid ourselves of plastic waste and help achieve Clean Seas.”

World Scouting and UN Environment first started working together in 2004, which led to the agreement for the WSEP at the 38th World Scout Conference four years later. The Movement has organised regular conferences and seminars to identify best practice in environmental education, and a Scouting delegation has participated in every UN Climate Change Conference since Copenhagen.

As the centrepiece of its environment programme, Scouting has established a network of 28 Scout Centres of Excellence for Nature and the Environment (SCENES) around the world, with some achieving international recognition for excellence in environmental education and management. The centres enable Scouts, the local community and other visitors to connect and engage with the natural world, by providing a range of hands-on activities designed to nurture a passion for nature – a key value of Scouting – and a determination to do something positive for the environment. The WSEP identifies five areas of focus for Scouts: clean air and water, the conservation of natural habitat to support native species, the reduction of risk from substances that could harm the environment or people, the most appropriate environmental practices, and responding to natural disaster and environmental dangers.