Tunza Advisor for Latin
America and the Caribbean
At 23, I am working for sustainable development because I dream of a betterworld for the children that one day will be mine.
I started working with communities and young leaders after realizing that reading, writing and developing great research projects was not enough if all that knowledge could not be transferred to other people. I began to give environmental education classes in partnership with a non-governmental organization called Cacto e Trevo, and through educational projects related to my university.
During my university years I participated in every conference I could and tried to make as many contacts as possible. That network enabled me to become familiar with international conferences and showed me that I could be part of international youth groups such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) Youth Caucus.
In June 2002 I participated with three other Brazilian young people in Rio+10 Brazil, a preparatory conference for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. We had to fight for financial support to be able to go. I understood then that as a young person would have to battle to be recognized and respected.
I came back wanting to tell my fellow youth leaders about all the opportunities that exist to show the world the amazing projects we develop locally. I started a movement to establish youth councils in every Brazilian state, and to get recognition for the work done by young people. It would also enable youth groups to receive financial support and help with capacity building.
My work led me to the local Youth Retreat, where I was elected to the UNEP Youth Advisory Council. In August 2003, at the TUNZA International Youth Conference, my position was confirmed as a UNEP youth advisor, representing the Latin American and Caribbean Region. This position will enable me to do more than I ever thought. I will be able to learn with the youth from my region how to make the world more sustainable.
My country is changing. Youth leaders are starting to have an opportunity to speak and ask for greater involvement in govenment. One example was the establishment by the Ministry of Environmental Affairs of state youth councils for the environment in all 26 states and federal districts. The members of these councils have just participated in the Youth for Sustainability event which I was invited to facilitate, as well as being a member of my state's council.
I believe that we have to fight for our dreams even if everyone says that it is impossible for them to be achieved. Today's youth has an important role in making a better world for my children become a reality.
ART BY DEIA SCHLOSBERG/PCI