Youth Exchange through CAFF

Background:

28060231469 98c75bfed3 zThe Arctic is undergoing unprecedented change that is occurring at a rate faster than any other place on Earth. Environmental, economic, and cultural shifts are playing out across the Arctic, and increasingly the world is becoming more aware and engaged in Arctic challenges and opportunities. The motivation for this initiative is to provide a platform for youth from around the world to help raise awareness about the Arctic, and to engage in international discussions about Arctic issues, strategies, and policies. This initiative would advance a number of CAFF Working Group priorities and broader Arctic Council mandates expressed in Ministerial Declarations having to do with meaningful engagement of Arctic communities, international collaboration, and engagement with observers. Efforts will also be made to engage with other possibly relevant Arctic Council initiatives, such as Rising Sun, recognizing the connection between youth engagement and community well-being. More specifically, this initiative could advance CAFF Working Group efforts in the implementation of ABA Recommendations 14, 15 and 171. The objectives and project design described below will be developed further and may be changed as a CAFF WG steering committee is established and determines next steps. The steering committee will be appointed by Arctic Council representatives (States, Permanent Participants and observers) to the CAFF WG.

Objective:

  • youthexchange alaskaEstablish a series of several time-limited (1-8 weeks) collaborative partnerships over the next two years within CAFF Working Group member states, Permanent Participants and observers as well as with appropriate strategic partners, such as existing youth engagement programs, to more effectively engage diverse youth insharing their perspectives, learning about leadership roles related to Arctic issuesand ways to advance conservation of natural and cultural heritage in their communities, country, across the circumpolar Arctic and around the world.
  • Foster more diverse participation in international Arctic issues, including by:
    • Recruiting and bringing together youth participants who represent the diversity of their communities in rural and urban areas across the Arctic and around the world.
    • Cultivate a collaborative network of partners over the next two years to help establish several short-term (1-3 weeks) youth-exchange program that would bring together diverse youth from around the world interested in Arctic issues to share their experiences, gain new perspectives and educate audiences about how the changing Arctic is affecting them.
    • Foster greater youth involvement and leadership in public outreach and education about the conservation of Arctic flora and fauna and how a rapidly changing Arctic may impact their lives.
    • Learn about the many youth leadership and education programs that include rural-urban connections, safe and meaningful field opportunities, and science and Traditional Knowledge-based education programs, and foster a greater understanding and stewardship of cultural and natural resources across the Arctic.

Youth perspectives are vital to the global conversation about how to sustain Arctic communities, cultures and the environment—it is clear those leaders who meet with youth such as those who have engaged in these kinds of programs have recognized the value of learning from youth who are living these changes in some of the most impacted communities, and youth within their own countries who may not live in the Arctic but are interested in it and appreciate how important it is to the rest of the world.

Several youth exchanges have taken place so far;

  • youth exchange1A group of youth from Arctic countries visited Alaska in 2017 and were velcomed by the Arctic Youth Ambassadors.
  • In 2017 a group of youth from Norway, Russia, US, Singapore and Korea came to Iceland where in the week leading up to the Arctic Circle we arrange meetings with Icelandic institutions and had an immersion course in Akureyri to teach them about the Arctic Council etc. The group then ended at the Arctic Circle where they organised a session and had with Ministers, Senators etc
  • In 2019 CAFF organized an exchange were 3 Icelandic youth and two Finish youth went to Alaska and met with the Arctic Youth Ambassadors and had the oppertunity to explore the Anchorage and it's suroundings. The Finish youth then had the oppertunity to travel to Unalaska where they stayed for 14 days learning about the sustainability challenges on the island and working in the Museum of the Aleutians. They learned about the history and culture of the Qawalangin tribe of Unalaska and about environmental, social and economic sustainability issues concerning for example the fishing industry, the life on the island and the nature. They worked together with the Qawalangin tribe and organized a sustainability event where they discussed about the sustainability challenges on the island with representatives from the city, the fishing industry, the tribe, local youth and other residents. One U.S youth came to visit Finland were he stayed for 3 weeks learning about Finish Arctic issues and engaging with other youth. 

 

The youth in cooperation with CAFF and WWF have held sessions at the Arctic Circle for the last two years to introduce what the youth have been doing

 

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