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History and Mandate

A look through the history of UNEP, Civil Society engagement, and Youth inclusion

The mandate of the Children & Youth Major Group, therefore, comes from various GA resolutions, UNEA resolutions and Stakeholder Engagement processes of UNEP. Notably - 
  • A/RES/68/288 
  • A/RES/67/290
  • A/69/L.43
  • A/RES/70/1
  • UNEA Rules and Procedures
  • Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism
  • The mandate of the Major Group Facilitation Committee (MGFC)
1972 - UNEP is created

The first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the "Stockholm Conference'' held in 1972, brought delegates from 113 nations together in Sweden.

The conference was unprecedented and became the starting point of the international attempt to tackle “environmental problems". It adopted the "Declaration on the Human Environment" with a set of guiding principles and led to the establishment of the UN Environment Programme. 

1992 - Major Groups approach adopted

After the Earth Summit in 1992, UNEP adopted the Major Groups approach as defined in Agenda 21, the action plan of the United Nations related to sustainable development. In the spirit of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration from 1992, Rio+20 recognized that sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and active participation of all nine Major Groups.

The Rio+20 outcomes reaffirm the key role of Major Groups and Stakeholders in achieving sustainable development and underscore in Paragraph 43 of the outcome document that “broad public participation and access to information and judicial and administrative proceedings are essential to the promotion of sustainable development”.

1995 - the Year of Youth

UNEP began its work with young people in 1985, which was designated International Youth Year

2003 - TUNZA is born 

In February 2003, the Governing Council of UNEP adopted a long-term strategy for engaging young people in environmental activities and in the work of UNEP. The strategy was entitled the Tunza Youth Strategy. The word “TUNZA” means “to treat with care or affection” in Kiswahili (a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa). 

The overall Tunza Concept, therefore, aimed to create a global movement in which children and Youth will actively participate in sustainable development. Part of this strategy include the annual Tunza International Children and Youth Conference, Tunza Youth Advisory Council, Tunza Junior Board and a quarterly Tunza magazine.

2003 - 2013: TUNZA program operates 

TUNZA program operated through various International Children and Youth Conferences convened by UNEP, notably the International Children and Youth Conference in Daejeon, South Korea (2009), the International Children’s Conference in lead-up to UNCBD COP10 in Nagoya, Japan (2010), International Children and Youth Conference in Bandung, Indonesia (2011), etc. 

The TUNZA Youth Advisory Council (TYAC) and Tunza Junior Board (JB) were elected for a period of 2 years at these conferences that engaged in different processes of UNEP and facilitated engagement of youth within their region. 

Tunza Program Operates
2012: CYMG in the context of UNEP

In the lead-up to Rio+20, Major Groups started to restructure within the UNEP processes as well, and the Children and Youth Major Group (CYMG) came into existence in mid-2012. 

2013-2014: UNEP Governing Council become universal - the birth of UNEA

UNEP Governing Council (GC) hosted its final 27th Session in its new incarnation as a UN Environment Program with universal membership, i.e., all 193 member states of the United Nations automatically became members of the UNEP Governing Council.  The new structure obviated the need for any formal role of the General Assembly to elect members of UNEP’s plenary body—to be now known as the UN Environment Assembly

2013-2014: Major Groups formalised within the process of UNEP, Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism adopted 

In the same period as the establishment of UNEA, the 9 Major Groups, also referred to as "Constituencies” were formalized as spaces for formal engagement of civil society groups within the process of UNEP. It is further governed by processes enshrined in the UNEP Stakeholder Engagement Handbook.
The CYMG subsequently facilitates the engagement of children and youth at UNEA and the processes of UNEP.

 Major Groups formalised
2020: Inaugural Virtual Youth Environment Assembly

Coming soon

2021: Second Virtual Youth Environment Assembly and Chemicals and Waste Youth Platform is launched

Coming soon

2022: First Ever In Person Global Youth Environment Assembly

Coming soon

2022: Global Mobilization of Youth for Stockholm+50

Coming soon

2024: Second Global Youth Environment Assembly 
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