Sara Svensson
Sara Svensson
Topic: Youth and Civic Engagement
Sara Svensson played a pivotal role in shaping the UNEP Major Group of Children and Youth, for which she was an elected coordinator in the years 2008-2013....
About Icon
Number of questions: [3]
Posted on 29/08/2015 10:40:00
am kennedy a third year undergraduate student in kenyatta university taking bachelor of Environmental studies(community development)
am the founder of GREEN MIND KENYA a community based organisation made up of youths of between 18- 21 years..
we deal with environmental conservation issues and community development programs..
my question is
how do UN environment support such activities done by CBOs and where can we find you?
kennedy wanjiru (from Kenya)
Hi Kennedy,

Thank you for your question. Great that you have taken the initiative to start a community based youth organization! That can be a very good way to mobilize volunteers around environmental issues that matter in your own local surroundings. It is definitely something that UNEP wants to encourage.

The United Nations held its first environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972. That meeting called for the creation of UNEP as an international body that would keep under review and care for the global environment. While UNEP's mandate focuses on the global level, the Stockholm Declaration recognized that citizens, communities and all other actors share equal environmental responsibilities. Because of that, it has always been important for UNEP to work closely together with civil society and NGOs and to encourage their positive action for the environment on the national level and in local communities.

Children and youth is one of the major groups of civil society that UNEP works with ( UNEP has a long-term strategy for the engagement and involvement of young people in environmental issues, called the Tunza strategy. You can read more about it and join the Tunza network here:

Through Tunza you can get in touch with other young environmentalists all around the world who are active in their own communities. You can share experiences and inspire each other to achieve more. Sometimes UNEP organizes Tunza conferences and other events where you can network with others while learning about fundraising, outreach, project management and other skills to support your efforts. Since you are in Kenya, try to find out when there are Tunza activities taking place in the UNEP compound in Nairobi and see if you can join. In the meantime, read the Tunza Magazine and engage on its Facebook page:

Good luck with your important efforts for sustainable development!

Best wishes,

Posted on 28/08/2015 02:04:19
Dear Ms. Sara,
Once again, congratulations for showing determination during the Ask UNEP sessions on April 07, 2009 and June 10, 2012 with regard to negotiations leading up to COP15 in Copenhagen and the Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro respectively. Have you developed new strategies to ensure that your voices are heard during the ongoing climate change negotiations leading up to COP21 in Paris? Apparently, the websites you referred to during the last session, i.e., and are no longer accessible. Lastly, I would like to make your aware of the question that I posted to, was answered by Mr. Dean Cooper during a session on August 11, 2015 that appears under your name!
Francis Bagambilana (from Tanzania (United Republic of))
Dear Francis,

Nice to hear from you again. Thank you for your previous questions as well as the new one.

COP21 in Paris is a crucial momentum and you can be sure that youth around the world are busy preparing for it. The listserv is used by the international youth climate movement as the main communication tool for matters related to youth participation in the official UNFCCC process and COP21 negotiations. Other youth-movement work on climate change is discussed here:

One of the activities leading up to COP21 is the Conference of Youth (COY11) that will be held in Paris on 26-28 November 2015: website -, facebook - Simultaneous events will take place in other parts of the world for youth who cannot travel to Paris but still want to make their voices heard.

Once again the youth response to global climate negotiations will be strong. Young people truly care about issues that concern our entire planet, our own lives and future generations.

Best wishes,

Posted on 28/08/2015 01:50:35
Dear Sara,

Is there any particularly mechanism to get benefit from your knowledge and expertise for the youth.
Muhammad Kabir (from Pakistan)
Dear Muhammad,

Since I handed over the coordination of the UNEP Major Group of Children & Youth to younger representatives in 2013, there is no longer an official mechanism in which I have a mandate to be a spokesperson for youth.

However, I will always be willing to share my experiences of youth engagement. The years I spent as a youth activist in the UN and beyond have taught me a lot that I'm sure can be useful for others. I will I keep doing what I can to inspire young people around the world to believe in their potential as positive change-makers and take action for a sustainable future.

UNEP can help you get in touch with me or with other active youth who are available to share knowledge and expertise. Find contact details to the secretariat on these websites and ask for their advice:

If you want to get in touch with me personally, you can try via the following channels:

All the best,