Young European Scouts engaged to create a better world using the SDGs
Between February 16th to 22nd,2019 United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) had the chance to join more than a 100 young Scouts from all over Europe at two different Youth Events in France organized by Éclaireuses et Éclaireurs de France, Scouts et Guides de France and the European Scout Region of WOSM (World Organization of the Scout Movement).
The Scouts, most of them university students, volunteered for a weeklong training to take an active part in the project called ‘My Europe My Say’. The project, realized by a partnership between the Scout Movement and AEGEE / European Students’ Forum, is aiming to mobilize young people to be active citizens and participate in the European Elections in May 2019. This project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a great inspiration to active and responsible citizenship, as well as an opportunity to join a global movement of people trying to make the world a better and more sustainable place. Scouts, have always aimed to make a positive mark on the world and their mission statement is actually often being summarized as “creating a better world”. It was therefore natural for WOSM to support the SDGs, as they already supported the Millennium Development Goals before that. To achieve that, WOSM developed an online platform, Scouts4SDGs, to inspire its members to take action. The platform provides resources to set local actions and educational content to raise awareness about the SDGs. Strong of a network of more than 50 millions members; it has committed to provide more than a billion hours of service to the SDGs by 2030.
UNRIC was therefore invited to the Youth Events to ensure that the participants at these events would gain a proper understanding of the Global Goals and of the resources available to help them with their implementation. Ms Petit, Ms Scheidemantel and Ms Pompey discussed with participants during workshops about their level of knowledge and motivation to take action for the SDGs. Participants were eager to pitch ideas to further spread the word about the goals, especially to the younger members of their scout groups.
On Goal 13 “Climate Action”, some participants suggested organizing activities about building with sustainable materials as a simple way of introducing children to the concept of circular economy. Others working with Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” suggested to organize a two-day event for young scouts to teach them about social injustice in the form of a simulation. The children would learn hands-on how social injustice is created and can be fought by being given roles and responsibilities and having to manage limited resources.
“I was pleased to see that the group of scouts embrace the fact that these goals are not the “UN goals” per se but rather the “people’s goals”. It helped them to realize why it is important to own them and share them with the kids,” Ms Caroline Petit, Deputy Director of UNRIC said.
The level of creativity and involvement shown by these Scouts shows once again that young people are ready and committed to assume leadership of the Sustainable Development Goals.