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Kyrgyz youth camp teaches sustainability in practice

Young people have key roles to play in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. With this in mind, FAO is actively trying to involve young people in taking actions for a better future.

One of the ways recent FAO has done this is through an annual youth camp held by the State Agency of Youth and Sports of the Kyrgyz Republic. The youth educational camp “Jash Bulak,” which took place this year on June 28, is an innovative platform aimed at increasing the formation of citizenship among young people, developing their potential to impact the communities in which they live.

This year, the camp was dedicated to informing young people from all regions of Kyrgyzstan about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what steps can be made towards their achievement. In the Kyrchyn Gorge in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan, a yurt camp was created with minimal facilities to help cultivate in young people respect and responsibility for themselves and the environment.

“The scale of the camp is surprising,” said Atai, a 24-year-old participant from Kyrgyzstan. “Living in yurts, as our ancestors lived, gives us the opportunity to appreciate history and to adapt to different life situations.”

With support from the United Nations Country Team in Kyrgyzstan, the camp provided young people with information about the SDGs and the role of young people in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The camp brought together a total of 300 people, including youth aged 20–35, specialists in youth affairs representing local authorities, and youth leaders from Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Attendants were split into two equal groups at the FAO session.

One group worked on project proposals regarding climate change adaptation, presenting 15 concepts of civil activism micro-projects that could be financed through community resources or crowd-funding mechanisms.

The second group learned about social protection through interactive games related to SDG 2, SDG 6, SDG 13 and SDG 15. They learned about healthy diets through food pyramid activities, clean water and sanitation through a concept guessing game, biodiversity through biodiversity bingo and climate change actions through the development of awareness-raising materials.

Participants showed remarkable interest and a high level of engagement both in the interactive games and in project development.

“We were pleasantly surprised at how willing young people are to contribute to 2030 Agenda,” said Karina Levina, an FAO social protection officer. “The interest of youth in achieving the SDGs gives us strong grounds to believe that all the goals are achievable. Together, we can achieve zero hunger and combat climate change, and youth have a key role to play.”

Atai, the 24-year-old from Kyrgyzstan, agreed.

“Participation in this camp gave us knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals and taught us that the SDGs are the responsibility of each person,” Atai said. “This camp united our fraternal peoples, because here the participants are not only from Kyrgyzstan, but also from Uzbekistan and Belarus.”

9 July, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

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