Sustainable Development and Youth in Developing Countries: How to Start?


Citizens of developing countries usually consider sustainability studies and environment preservation as the rich countries’ duty; it is not considered an issue of priority to them. This requires a variety of programs to introduce them to the concept of sustainability, from various points of views, with the main focus on young generations. The youth have to learn to picture the world as a system; a system that connects space and time, which is a requirement in all definitions of sustainable development. This target is tackled through a diverse range of activities about energy and the environment, aiming to generate a societal impact, to demonstrate new ideas and initiatives for a cleaner, eco-friendly development, with focus on ecosystem preservation and renewable energy resources.

Poor countries are always facing more problems than rich countries, even if most of these problems are initiated by the activities of rich countries. These problems can be categorized in main categories: survival needs—such as food, education, and health; dilapidation of valuable natural resources; and low living standards.

In the 1980s, former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt proposed the “Brandt Line” concept, which is a visual depiction of the North–South divide. It is an imaginary division that has provided a rough way of dividing all the countries in the world into a rich north and poor south. Even though the proposition of the Brandt Line is no longer widely used, we can always make comparisons between the efficiency of global actions between countries above the visual line, and those countries below it.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of United Nations General Assembly “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

Going back to the definition of rich and poor countries, it was very obvious, after five years, that the performance of countries in regards to the SDGs is not equal globally. Developed countries, mainly those countries above the Brandt Line, are performing more positively in most of the SDGs, compared with same indicators to developing countries.

Activities in Science Centers and Museums

In science centers and museums, it is always important to provide a human face to environmental issues. Centers and museums are mainly working to empower the youth to become active agents of sustainable development, and to promote an understanding culture to change attitudes towards environmental issues. Museums and science centers fulfill their goals by encouraging curiosity, imagination, and creativity through diverse activities, each of which approaches science in a different manner that is relatively unconventional to the local community.

To have an effective global prospective, science centers and museums are targeting SDGs through addressing major environmental challenges facing local communities, with emphasis on natural resources and adverse human impact. They enhance the public understanding of the threats facing endangered species, with a main focus on the local environment.

Talking to the age category of youth, it is important to target sustainable lifestyles through education and dialogue, and to involve youth as partners, either in discussions of present challenges, monitoring or proposing solutions. Such activities mainly developed to calibrate individual habits, awareness of human intervention and its negative effect on biodiversity. Meanwhile, activities can introduce global strategies affecting the local citizen, and the importance of maintaining the Earth’s natural resources, to continue to provide a home for humans and all life forms.

Conclusion, it is very important to understand that we live in a global world, where the consequences of punctual actions affect the whole system. The developed world should help the developing countries to a more sustainable world. The developing countries have to know that they are an important part of the world, even if they lack resources and power factors. Only youth are able to solve this complicated equation; using their spirit and energy, we can dream of a better world.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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