UN Environmental Report for Youth Launched with Input from UMass Boston Students
February 19, 2013
Daniel Zaleznik, Center for Governance and Sustainability
The 2013 TUNZA International Youth Conference opened in Nairobi, Kenya on February 11 with the launch of a new publication, TUNZA Acting for a Better World: GEO-5 for Youth. The report incorporates key findings from the recently published GEO-5, the United Nations Environmental Programme’s comprehensive assessment of the state of the global environment.
The word “TUNZA” means “to treat with care or affection” in Kiswahili, a sub-regional language of Eastern Africa. Carrying that value over into the publication review phase, UNEP asked for contributions from the students at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. Assistant Professor Maria Ivanova and her fall 2012 graduate students enrolled in the “International Environmental Organizations” class were happy to take on this exciting curriculum work.
Ivanova’s students provided constructive feedback on a timeline of the “Road to Rio+20,” suggesting that the information be both sharpened and simplified to make it more accessible and engaging. The result of their efforts can be viewed on pages 90-91 of the final TUNZA report in an attractive graphic that has incorporated all class recommendations, including much of their suggested text. Students Elena Kennedy, Shauna Murray, Liz Morrison, Paraskevi Moutopoulos, Jackie Steinberg, Roosevelt Thomas, and Daniel Zaleznik of UMass Boston, as well as Ivanova, are all fully credited as reviewers of the publication.
An important objective of the TUNZA report is to share the history and trajectory of global environmental governance leading up to the Rio+20 conference that took place last June. The new provides the world’s youth with cutting-edge knowledge on climate change, air quality, biodiversity, and other drivers of global change. It also showcases innovative sustainable development projects from youth around the globe; examples include a bio-fuels farm started by a sibling team in India and a Nicaraguan project manufacturing durable building materials from waste.
According to Dean Ira A. Jackson of the McCormack School, “Our Center for Governance and Sustainability is a hotbed of educational insights and research analyses on global environmental issues. As dean, I’m thrilled that our students have the opportunity to apply their classroom learning to real-world applications. And where better to shape and influence public policy in this field than through the efforts of the United Nations. By sharing these important historical facts with the world’s youth, we are building a smarter future for all of us.”