What is the Children’s Conference on the Environment? - The Brazilian Experience
Objectives - Some Principles
Cronograma - Expected results
Commitment of the Philippine Youth for the Protection of the Planet Earth
Step-by-Step to the School Conference - Methodological Document
The Charter of Responsibilities of the Children of Chile
THE CONFINT HAS ENDED TO BE BORN AGAIN
The Philippine process to the CONFINT
The USA Charter: Youth Charter of Responsibilities
Workshop on Values and Responsibilities
Young Citizens Get Involved in the Future of Europe
Youth Conference on Environment - General Presentation
Home Activities Regional Activities Latin America Brazil Children and Youth International Conference - "Let’s Take Care of the Planet" - Brazil 2010
Detailed Presentation of the process
Let’s Take Care of the Planet
The Government of Brazil, through the Ministries of Environment and Education, invite the nations of the world to participate in a large scale process of international cooperation: the Children and Youth International Conference for the Environment – Let’s Take Care of the Planet , in Brasilia, 2010.
The Children and Youth National Conferences for the Environment are a group of environmental education strategies focused on proven learning systems. These conferences became part of the political process of the Management Organ of the National Policy for Environmental Education in Brazil , formed by the Ministry of Education (MOE)  and by the Ministry of the Environment (MOTE)  .
The Management Organ follows the mission of the National Environmental Education Program - NEEP  : “The environmental education contributes to sustainable societies with happy people who are quick to act all over Brazil.” Paulo Freire pointed out that “the possible dream has to do exactly with a liberation education, not with a domestication education, while at the same time practicing utopia [...]. Utopia in the sense of the practice that leads dialectical, dynamic, enter the denunciation of an unjust society with exploitation and pointing toward a possible dream for society...” a dream that we now call “sustainable society.”
In 2003 and 2005, Brazil respectively organized the First and Second Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment (CYNCE), with the direct participation of 21,000 schools and 7.5 million people. In April of 2009, in its third national edition, the Conference will take place at the center of the environmental education-public politics of Brazil. Also, it will be exposed to a larger degree around the associated international observers meeting, who will be able to experience the process.
In April of 2006, during the second Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment, the National observer Edith Sizoo  suggested to the Brazilian Ministers of Environment and Education that Brazil should share the experience with other countries by way of organizing a global version of the event. The international interest taken in the Brazilian approach to environmental education motivated the federal government, by way of its Ministries, to take over the task of facilitating and organizing the International Conference.
Thus, Brazil presents the world with a social-educational technology that directly involves children, teenagers, and teachers from all over the world in an international event with delegates from many countries who can debate local, regional, and global social-environmental issues. These delegates are encouraged to assume their responsibilities and act, forming a world-wide web, or system of connections, both formed and used by children and youth: Let’s Take Care of the Planet. The process to get to the International Conference starts with the study and debate of the proposed topics at local schools, followed by the Conference for the Environment at Schools.
Through these conferences, delegates will be selected who can participate in their country’s own National Conference After that, National Conferences in each participating country will happen in which the selection or election of delegates who will participate in the International Conference, to take place in Brazil in 2010, will occur.
It is necessary through this methodology to point out that the Conferences in Brazil are spaces of learning in which participants engage in democratic processes. These conferences are part of an articulated system which is both educational and integrated. In order to facilitate this, they serve as an ongoing educational process in which teachers and environmental educators must attend permanent initial and continuing information sessions. Also, this system promotes the development of actions within the implementation of the Commission of Environmental Quality and Life (COM-VIDA) with Agenda 21 at schools (for more details, check attachment 2: the Brazilian Experience).
Topics for Debate at Schools Around the World: Climate Changes / Global Warming
The Children and Youth International Conference for the Environment co-exists within the timeframe, the missions, and the goals of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development – DESD (2005 – 2014), an initiative of the United Nations / UNESCO. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development aims to contribute to the incorporation of a new generation of people, a large portion of humanity that is traditionally thought of as the future but that lives, thinks, and acts in the present. The decade was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations, initiated on the 1st of January, 2005. The main themes of the Decade include: citizenship, community values, diversity, interdependence, sustainability, quality of life, and social justice. All of which are in touch with the goals of the International Conference.
The Government of Brazil, counting on the institutional support of those Agencies for Development and Cooperation during the entire process, is available to serve as the organizer and host of these educational events with an international focus. The Conference, as well as the resolutions originated there, must be the expression of a collective action between international organizations and institutions, national governments, civil society, and schools.
2. HISTORICAL CONTEXT
In the global view, environmental education started to be defined in the 1970’s. Different international meetings endowed this topic with a considerable importance within the international agenda. The principles of environmental education were key to the creation of: programs, documents, and agreements that were signed by different countries. These initiatives came from: civil society, government, and different Agencies of the United Nations such as: the Stockholm Conference of 1972; the Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education, Tbilisi 1977; and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio 1992.
Important guide documents for environmental education emerged from those meetings mentioned above. For example, the Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility, composed by worldwide civil society during Rio 1992, set the environmental principles of the education for sustainable societies. Also in Rio 1992, a document known as the Earth Charter was created based on the principles of Agenda 21, which consists an action plan to be adopted globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, governments, and civil society, in all areas in which human action impacts the environment.
Within the diverse principles brought by these documents, it is important and common to both value the participation of society in the definition of our future within a sustainable social perspective. However, five years after the event - in the International Conference on Environment and Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability, Thessaloniki 1997; and the Education for life; Education through life; Education throughout life, Ahmedabad 2007, it was noticed that the advance of environmental education in this time period was not enough in comparison with the intense degradation promoted by the ”always increasing production and human consumerism that are very quickly impacting and damaging the Earth’s systems and the potential for life to continue on this planet”.  In Brazil, the institutionalization of environmental education began in the 1970’s, with the creation, in 1973, of the Special Secretary of the Environment (SSE), attached to the Presidency of the Republic. Later on, a National Policy for the Environment (of 1981) and the Federal Constitution of 1988 point out the necessity of environmental education inclusion within both the learning systems and the consciousness of Brazilian Society in regards to the environment.
In 1999, the approval of legislation no 9.795 was finalized. This legislation discusses the National Policy for Environmental Education (NPEE), along with the creation of the General Coordination of Environmental Education (GCEE) within the Ministry of Education and the Directorate of Environmental Education within the Ministry of Environment. In 2002, The GCEE, along with the Directorate of Environmental Education became part of the Management Organ for this Policy. This was an important step for the history of environmental education within the Brazilian federal government. The first task of the Management Organ was the adoption of a technical term of cooperation in order to organize the Children and Youth [National] Conference for the Environment.
Again, in the international view, the initiative of the United Nations to implement the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) represents a gain for environmental education. This gain signs a recognition of its role to face social-environmental issues, and to re-force the world sustainability through education. The DESD encourages the policies, programs, and educational actions that are already in existence, in addition to adding new opportunities.
The addition of the National Conference, as well as its International version, as part of the DESD was proposed by the National Commission of Implementation of this initiative in Brazil  as a way to create a synergetic relationship between current actions. In addition, debate of the social-environmental topics and its bases in other countries will be strengthened. The main goal here is to create processes that won’t simply end as an event or program ends, but that will continue through complementary strategies, finding permanent and sustainable ways to act with youth.
3. WHAT IS THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
It is a pedagogical campaign that brings the dimension of environmental policy to education. It mobilizes and engages the school communities, mainly children and teenagers from different places in the world, to research and debate about our social-environmental contemporary challenges. It is a constructivist process in which people get together to debate the proposed topics and choose solutions which they can then take back home. The elected delegates who are chosen to participate in the International Conference – Brazil 2010 must be between the ages of 12 and 14, thus with a birthday between June of 1996 and June of 1998. Considering the social educational technology that was developed in each school through the Conferences for the Environment, the schools themselves became transformed into an active space to build knowledge through democratic principles. Thus, global and local debates can occur at the same time. Traditionally, the school is a republican space of permanent education throughout all life. At the Conference, the aim is for it to become the Greek Agora, or cultural circle, imagined by Paulo Freire. The simplicity of the Conference instills strength through the participation of the community in the debate of urgent and pressing topics which are usually restricted to research centers, the media, and those involved in the formation of public policy. This conference provides a vehicle in which the youth opinion will be respected and well valued; in addition to promoting the belief that we can apply both our individual and collective responsibilities in order to build both a better local and worldwide quality of life.
To make this vision possible and equal in all of the different countries who will participate in the International Conference in Brazil in 2010, we suggest the following organizational structure. This is nearly identical to that of the tried and true Brazilian National Conference: a) Creation of a National Organizational Committee (NOC), to coordinate the processes at schools and at the National Conferences  . The NOC can organize and guide Regional Organizational Committees (ROC) throughout their country if it is deemed necessary and/or helpful. The NOC responsibilities include:
• The creation, production, and distribution of a basic text “Step by Step for the Conference at School” including support material to guide the methodology for the conferences at schools and to offer the theoretical support to start school debates. The texts must be part of the curriculum, to promote the environmental education in a productive way in schools and promoting both transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity methods.
• The organization of Conference Workshops for principals, school administrators, and teachers as a preparatory step of the Conferences at Schools. The goal is to promote the previous (Brazilian) experience of the Conference process at School as well as to theoretically improve the proposed topics and to allow for the insertion of them within school curriculum.
• The creation of a web page and the supply of material of schools (to know more about these materials, please refer to the Brazilian “Step by step”, available at the following webpage: http://confint2010.mec.gov.br
• The selection of delegates, between the ages of 12 & 14 (born between June 1996 and June 1998), to participate in the National Conference. While selecting these delegates, it is of the utmost importance to maintain a relatively equal representation between: gender, delegates from rural and urban areas, capital regions and other cities, public and private schools, and delegates from ethnically diverse and varied cultural backgrounds.
• The organization of the National Conference, complete with the formation of a Charter of Responsibilities and the selection of delegates (from National Conference attendees) for the International Conference – Brazil 2010. b) Conferences at Schools. The schools that choose to participate in the process for the National Conference start to prepare their conferences. This is a very important step because it begins the students’ participation in the process. It is up to each school whether it puts on a large or small school conference.
• The children and teenage participants create projects about the proposed topics in the base text Step by Step. They then present and debate their ideas within the school community through the creation of posters and displays. During the Conference at School, the participants will select and define both the responsibilities and actions to be undertaken by the school community. The poster, display, presentation, etc. that represents the best ideas then select a single delegate (and another alternate delegate) who can represent that school and its ideas at the National Conference.
• A selection of posters from each school should be sent to the NOCs (along with documents for their return if the school and/or students desire) along with information pertaining to the school and to the school’s selected delegates. The posters along with this information should then be made available on the Conference web page. c) National Conference. Chosen delegates from the Conferences at Schools will then attend a National Conference to be held in each participating country. Here, delegates will have the opportunity to present their topics, ideas, and views and engage in debate with other delegates from around the country. A National Charter of Responsibilities will be created, debate and the sharing of ideas will continue, and delegates will be chosen from among the attendees who will come to Brazil in 2010 to represent their country’s proposals in the International Conference. In this meeting, educators and youth from countries all over will have the opportunity to share experiences from their different communities and countries, in addition to creating an International Charter of Responsibilities and Actions to Take Care of the Planet. Below (Figure 1) follows a diagram of the suggested processes for the International Conference, including the different steps involved:
Figure 1: Conference at School, National Conference and International Conference.
4. OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
To promote the exchange of international experiences in an effort to make progress on extreme global social-environmental issues, to be achieved through school education and the participation of society.
To instill a common purpose within the highest number of teenagers, teachers, and communities; who in turn can appropriate locally how to be a part of planetary compromises; taking responsibility for sustainable societies, diffusing and going deeper into the fundamental topics related to: diversity, the Peace Culture, and planetary survival.
To contribute to the strengthening of the Educational Decade for Sustainable Development (United Nations / UNESCO) in the world.
The International Conference creates an environment favorable to the exchange of experiences between the different participating countries regarding concepts and methodologies involving environmental education.
This will not simply occur only during the event - but during the entire process, where countries are invited to share their experiences on the Conference web site and through a virtual learning community. This socialization can contribute in a significant way for the programs and actions on environmental education already in existence in the different parts of the world. Through this model we can focus on the sharing of varied experiences with common principles. We can explore a common conceptual base while embracing the wide ethnic, social, and biological diversity of our planet’s people and places.
In the experience of the Children and Youth National Conference in Brazil, some fundamental principles go through the entire process, from the Conferences in Schools to the National Conference. These include:
• Environmental Education Planetary Ethics. Continuity of the process based on the principles and values of the Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility, Earth Letter, Manifest for Life, and Letter of Human Responsibilities.
• Responsibility. The recognition of individual and collective responsibilities is the main idea, considering that the responsibilities are different. Each citizen becomes responsible within their own limit, determined by their limitations of access to information and power.
• Coordinated action with youth. The recognition of the role of youth as social subjects who live within and interfere with the present, not the future. This action is based on:
• Formation of learning communities. The Conferences for the Environment at Schools contribute to transforming the quality of life and interfering in the local reality. This happens through cooperative processes with common goals, shared actions, and good results for all.
• Debate and local actions regarding global issues. The common topic will be debated and the actions will be focused on schools everywhere: global climate change / global warming (each country can include another topic of its own interest). Let’s think and act locally and globally.
6. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
The Children and Youth International Conference for the Environment is based on an organizational structure that aims toward an articulated, shared, and potentialized way to interact between national and international organizations. This structure (Figure 2) will be able to mobilize different partners in different places. It is formed by the following groups and committees:
Interministerial Working Group
Group of Political Articulation
National Organizational Committees (NOCs) • Brazil suggests that the committees be composed by representatives of the Ministry of Education and Environment and Civil Society, given their preference to youth groups. • The NOCs must coordinate the process on a national scale establishing communication with the Interministerial Working Group. They will be invited to mobilize their learning systems and to organize Conferences at Schools and the National Conference selecting delegates to travel to Brazil in 2010.
Figure 2: Diagram – Instances of decision and production
From July of 2008 to March of 2009, the Interministerial Working Group will create workshops and presentations regarding the Brazilian Children and Youth Conferences experiences and methodologies .
International Observers Meeting for the Third Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment
Conference at Schools and Children and Youth National Conference for the Environment
Children and Youth International Conference for the Environment The democratic multicultural meeting of the selected delegates from all participating countries will happen from June 5-10, 2010 in Brasilia, Brazil. The International Conference will result in the creation of the Letter of Responsibilities “Let’s Take Care of the Planet” that will be given to a United Nations representative, summarizing the commitment made by the Conference attendees to build a sustainable society. We expect the participation of approximately 1,000 people in the final event between children, teenagers, companions, guests, and staff.
8. CALENDAR OF EVENTS
9. EXPECTED RESULTS
• To contributre to the insertion of environmental education into the formal educational systems of countries worldwide in a creative and organic way;
SCHEDULED EVENTS FOR PRESENTATIONAL WORKSHOPS FOR THE TRAINING OF FACILITATORS.
- International Exposition – “Water and Sustainable Development” (Zaragoza, Spain)
- Communities of Portuguese Speaking Countries
- “Climate Change: Influencing Future Citizens” Seminar (British Council, York, England)
CHILDREN AND YOUTH NATIONAL CONFERENCES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT - PROCESSES AND RESULTS
The children and youth conferences for the environment in Brazil are designed for primary schools in which the students are between 11 and 14 years of age.
Numbers of the Second National Conference
Conferences for the Environment at Schools
The 11,475 conferences for the environment happened including 11,297 at schools and 178 communities involving 3,801,055 people.
Percentage of school participants in relation to the total number of state schools
(data of MEC/INEP (by state) school census 2004)
Conference for the Environment – Past Topics of Debate
The responsibilities regarding each topic were consistent, clear, and coherent when compared to the proposal of the conferences at schools in 2003, showing a jump in quality and improvement from the previous [second] conference. Proposed by a basic document – the step by step for the conference for the environment at school, it was more consistent and complex.
Conference for the environment at the elementary and high school “Francisco Nonato Freire” – in Ceará
Conferences for the Environment – School Profile
Total number of school participants – 11.297
• 54% were at the first conference;
The results show the capillaries, integration, and continuing action of the Ministry of Education/ Management Organ of the National Policy for Environmental Education.
Conferences for the Environment – Community Profile
Total Number of Communities Participating – 178
• 40% are indigenous communities;
The participation of the indigenous community was possible because of their previous involvement in other conferences, and through the principals and teachers of those communities and all over the country.
Conferences for the Environment – Participant Profile
Profile of the Delegates at Schools and Communities
• 66% girls
Self-declaration of the race of delegates
• The dark skin category is composed of African descendants and other racial mixes.
It is necessary to value both the ethnic diversity and gender equality that was present in the second conference’s pedagogical process, as it is reflective of the delegate profile. Also, it is interesting to observe the majority of girls selected as delegates. This indicates not just a female interest in social-political actions, but is also reflective of Brazil’s tendency to have more girls within the school system. In other words, in this age girls go to school for a longer period of time than boys. This is due to the fact that many boys abandon the school system in an effort to find work. Also, there is a balance between the self-declaration of Caucasian and dark skin that faces the traditional Brazilian ways regarding cultural, racial, and social prejudice.
 The Children and Youth National Conferences for the Environment were planned by the ex-Minister of the Environment in Brazil, Marina Silva. The text guide and the results of the Brazilian Experience can be found in the second attachment.
 The Management Organ was created by Legislation nº 9.795/99, that establishes the National Policy for Environmental Education – NPEE, regulated by Decree nº 4.281/02 and implemented in June of 2003.
 Represented by the General Coordination Council of Environmental Education (CGCEE), within the Department of Integral Education – of the Secretary of Continuing Education, Alphabetization, and Diversity (SCEAD).
 Represented by the Director of Environmental Education of the Minister of the Environment, in the Secretary of Institutional Articulation and Citizenship.
 Created in 2000, and passed through a process of public consultation in 2004.
 Edith Sizoo, guest International Observer with the Second National Conference for Children and Youth for the Environment. She is the coordinator of the Letter of Human Responsibilities, Foundation of Charles Leopold Meyer (FPH) a French-Swiss Entity.
 Part of the Ahmedabad Declaration that continues: “the assumption of what constitutes an acceptable quality of life for some people, generally means deprivation of others. The abyss between rich and poor only increases. The climactic crisis, increasing the risks for the health and poverty as well as decreasing the biodiversity are indicators of unsustainable developmental models and life styles. Models and alternative points of view for a sustainable future exist, and the action is necessary to make them an urgent and necessary reality. Human rights, equality between the sexes, social justice, and a balanced environment have to be global priorities. Education for the sustainable development is essential to make this transformation reality.”
 Was composed by the Assessory Committee of the Management Organ of the National Policy for Environmental Education.
 The structure and role of the NOCs is described in further detail in the item “Organizational Structure.”
 The Foundation of Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l´Homme, created by the Charter of Human Responsibilities.
 The events where the participation of the International Conference Working Group are already confirmed, and are available in the Attachment 1, with a brief description of dates, places, and ways to be a part of the team (a workshop or presentations).
 The Youth Collective for the Environment is a group of young people and youth organizations that mobilizes itself regarding social-environmental issues.
 The COM-VIDA is a new organizational way at school that was proposed by the participants of the Children and Youth Conference for the Environment in its first edition. Its main job is to contribute to a daily space of participation, democracy, animation, and health at school, promoting the exchanges between school and community. It is based on the students, teachers, employees, principles, and community participation.