International Youth Day 2021
Transforming food systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health
International Youth Day is celebrated every year on August 12th since its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. It is a day to spotlight youth perceptive on current crises and celebrate their potential as actors of change developing innovative solutions.
During the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum (EYF), the youth have stressed the importance of more equitable food systems, and healthier and more sustainable food choices to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the youth recommendation, this year, the International Youth Day theme is “Transforming food systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.
Food safety and agriculture are highly dependent on water availability and are increasingly subject to water risks. Through the 2020 Global Youth Take Action call for projects launched on the Youth for Water and Climate Platform, dozens of youths submitted creative projects aiming to tackle food-related issues in their region by fostering sustainable water management practices.
The “Projet d’appui aux jeunes pour la sécurité alimentaire et l’amélioration de leur revenu (PAJSAAR) ” was supported through this call and was successfully implemented in Togo by an inspiring group of young leaders.
As part of the International Youth Day, we would like to spotlight BEDE Kodjo Mawulikplemy, the leader of this project. Our team did a short interview with him to discuss his point of view regarding youth involvement and his perspective on the food security challenge.
- Can you give us a brief overview of your background?
My name is Mr. BEDE Kodjo Mawulikplemy. I hold a bachelor’s degree in International Economics from the University of Lomé, TOGO. I have also graduated in Management, Monitoring and Evaluation of projects, and in Agro business. I put my skills at the service of a group of young agricultural entrepreneurs. On our present project (PAJSAAR), I was the coordinator in charge of the general planning and the implementation of the project.
- This year, we mark International Youth Day under the theme “Transforming food systems: Youth innovations for human health and that of our planet”. Can you explain how the project you have implemented has contributed to ensuring the food security and health of rural populations in Togo?
The main activities of the project were the establishment of a water point equipped with a solar pumping and irrigation system, and the strengthening of young farmers on composting techniques (manufacture and use) to preserve the soil. Regarding our impact, the project made it possible to transition to a method of production that is no longer dependent on rainfall (which has become more irregular and unpredictable due to climate change). Thus, by allowing the permanent production of compost, the project improved the incomes of young people who now use environmentally protective practices.
- What was the role of young people in your project and what did they bring to the project?
Young people are at the heart of our project because they are the direct beneficiaries and, at the same time, are also the actors of implementation. The project is done by and with young people. They have therefore contributed to its implementation. Their contribution is mainly in kind, but they have been able to benefit from a state subsidy for the acquisition of the solar pumping system.
- Why do you think food security is a particularly important issue for young people?
Young people are the leaders of today and tomorrow and they must act on the challenges of the world, including that of food security, the resolution of which will systematically make it possible strongly contribute to our common fight for food security
- What would you say to young people around the world who want to get involved to support the implementation of fairer food systems?
I would say to young people that it is a wise choice to want to contribute to food security. Today in the world millions of people live in situations of food insecurity and every action counts.
Get inspired by BEDE Kodjo Mawulikplemy! To celebrate the International Youth Day, the United Nations organizes a 2 days virtual #YouthLead Innovation Festival on August 12th and August 13th. It presents great opportunities for youth worldwide to build on the momentum of EYF. Follow the link to register for free: https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/youthlead-innovation-festival/.
Happy International Youth Day!