United Nations Summer School: Empowering the Environment

Resource scarcity, climate change, unemployment, food insecurity and inequity all signal the need for radical change in our societies. To bring this change, the entire UN system must meet the challenge of delivering sustainable development with shared prosperity for all, within the ecological limits of our planet. The UN’s role in this transformation is to assist countries to implement the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced and integrated manner.

Human rights and the environment are inextricably linked through the right of every citizen to a clean, healthy and productive environment. Sustainable development implies meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations to live in dignity. In the 2030 Agenda, meeting those basic needs as referred to in many SDGs is linked to access to natural resources. Ending poverty (Goal 1) can be achieved by integrating economic development, social protection, and environmental health. Environmental poverty, derived from a lack of access to natural assets, inadequate management of resources and exposure to ecosystem degradation and pollution leads to greater vulnerability and a loss of resilience in communities. An increasing world population will make it even more challenging to provide basic services to the poor. In goal 2, access to food is linked to access to land (environment), which in turn is linked to poverty reduction (Goal 1), and gender equality (Goal 5). Goal 6 addresses the natural resource ‘water’ in terms of the environment (water quality, restoration of ecosystems), social (access to safe drinking water) and economic aspects (water-use efficiency across all sectors). This emphasis on the inter-linkages between the three dimensions is present in all 17 goals, making this a truly integrated Agenda.

While more than half of the SDGs have an environmental focus or address the sustainability of natural resources: poverty, health, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, human settlements, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, oceans, and terrestrial ecosystems, transformative change can only be based on delivering on the 17 sustainable development goals in an integrated manner. Integration across all SDGs means that progress on one cannot be achieved if there is no progress on the others.
The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development puts people and planet at its centre and gives the international community the impetus it needs to work together to tackle the formidable challenges confronting humanity.
United Nations Association of Slovenia has organized its fourth summer school entitled “Empowering the Environment”. The summer school will be attended by young activists aged between 18 and 30 years. It will be held in Ljubljana between 22 and 26 August 2016.

The conference will address current global issues concerning the environment. It will present environmental dimension of 2030 development agenda, and reflect on pollution and waste-management. Faced with complex multi-sectoral crises, the summer school will focus on deconstruction of environmental problems to the pure essence of theirs.

There is no participation fee. The organizers will provide accommodation, food and free transportation around Ljubljana. Unfortunately there are no scholarships for travelling expenses available.

Young volunteers and activists are invited to apply. Deadline for application is 10 August 2016. The number of participants is limited; applicants will be notified about the selection by 12 August 2016.

Applications are available at: