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2002 UNEP Global Youth Forum, Denmark

Århus/Nairobi, 26 March 2002 - "This meeting is an essential one. Youth represent more than 50 per cent of the world's population and in many countries more than 60 per cent", said Shafqat Kakakhel UNEP's Deputy Executive Director, in his opening remarks. "More than in the past, young people need to struggle in a united and concerted manner to protect this fragile planet - for ourselves and for succeeding generations".

Mr. Kakakhel reminded participants that globalization and poverty are important concerns for young people. He stressed the importance of providing opportunities for the benefit of all - whether rich or poor.

The Forum is expected to review sustainable development activities, a statement and an action plan for youth and sustainable development. These outcomes are expected to contribute to preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

" Sustainable Development is about conflicts of interest. It is important to have dialogue to resolve these conflicts" said Johannes Flensted Jensen, the Mayor of the County of Århus.

The Forum is part of the Youth for Sustainable Development Process which was launched in February 2001 by UNEP, the Government of Sweden and Nature and Youth, Denmark. The process is intended to facilitate and support youth involvement in the World Summit for Sustainable Development and its preparations.

"Continue to speak out, protest, campaign, mobilize youth and struggle for sustainable development with your own personal commitment as the driving force" urged Anna Jonsson (Sweden) and Philip Mcosano (Kenya), chairpersons of the Borgholm Conference held in May 2001 to kick off the Youth for Sustainable Development Process.

Daily updates on the proceedings are available on www.globalyouth2002.org For further information, please contact the Forum Secretariat (Theodore Oben, Julia Crause, Bent Nicolajsen, Søren Meinert) at the Fuglsøcentre, tel: 45 86 35 13 55, 45 212 856 03, 45 51 35 99 93, 45 262 158 99, e-mail: participants@globalyouth2002.org

UNEP Information Note 2002/9