Nhattan Nguyen from Canada, a young representative of World Scouting and a Messengers of Peace young ambassador, has been elected with the backing of WOSM as a Coordinator of Children and Youth for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Major Groups Facilitation Committee (UNEP-MGFC). Nhattan will serve a two-year term starting January 2013 alongside Kehkashan Basu from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Nhattan’s role within the MGFC will be to coordinate the responses and inputs of Children and Youth in UNEP’s work, discussions and outcome documents. Nhattan had previously represented WOSM externally as a youth representative at the landmark UN event, Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development that took place in Brazil (June 2012).
Nhattan has made a big leap from being very active in the World Scout Environment Programme in his country to join UNEP. The World Scout Environment Programme offers a diversity of resources for Scouts to contribute to the environment and sustainable development. The environment is of high importance for World Scouting as it is linked to one of the key aspects of the basics in the Scout Movement, the Scout Method. Scouts engage in most activities out in nature, hence the protection of the environment is a key concern. Scouts around the world are regularly involved in environmental protection and conservation initiatives such as reforestation projects, raising awareness about water, or cleanup activities, etc. Similarly, UNEP offers opportunities to different people in society to care for the environment.
Nhattan’s strong and diverse background in environment and sustainable development will be an asset to bridge his work between UNEP MGFC and his continued role as a youth representative of World Scouting. In addition to having taken a field course in Costa Rica on sustainable development with the UN mandated University for Peace, Nhattan has been involved with numerous environmental and sustainable development organisations such as Greenpeace and Oxfam. He has actively participated in the post Rio+20 agenda on sustainable development during various events representing Scouting including the CIVICUS World Assemblies, the UN Rio+20 Summit, Powershift Canada 2012 and the Club of Rome’s Change Course Conference.
The MGFC Coordinators will be participating in various UNEP events to facilitate their work. Nhattan will be contributing a lot of his spare time from academic pursuits in this role as the coordinator. Through his position, this new bridge between UNEP and WOSM will allow Scouts from around the world to showcase their projects, to voice their experience and concerns pertaining to the environment to UNEP, and to form new partnerships within UNEP MGCY’s extremely diverse network.
Nhattan’s next destination is UNEP Governing Council/Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum in February 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya. However, prior to that meeting, he will be participating in the Tunza International Youth Conference on “Health and the Environment” also in Nairobi. Tunza is one of UNEP’s main youth initiatives, and a great rallying point to which Scouts have been and can engage with in the future. Following the Scout Vision to create a better world, Nhattan hopes to achieve this vision by spreading out UNEP’s work and connecting various youth-led sustainability projects around the globe.
Image 1: © Thomas Hirt