The United Nations Association of Mauritius organised a symposium at Imperial College on 9th August in the context of the International Youth Day. On the occasion, the student winners of the Upcycling Competition, organised by the Imperial College to mark the celebrations, were rewarded.
Celebrated by the youth around the world, the International Youth Day was marked in Mauritius by the United Nations Association of Mauritius. In this context, a symposium was organised at the Imperial College on the UN 2018 theme “Youth to beat plastic pollution.” Several guests were present for the occasion, for instance Doorgawatee Ram-Gopal, UN Coordination Analyst and Representative of the UN and the UNDP Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles and representatives of the Ministry of Social Security.
Nundkeswarsing Bossoondyal, Secretary General of United Nations Association of Mauritius and organizer of the symposium, launched the event by highlighting the theme of the UN’s International Youth Day 2018, which is “Safe Spaces for Youth.” “While there are many types of spaces, safe spaces ensure the dignity and safety of young people. Safe spaces such as civic spaces enable youngsters to engage in governance issues; public spaces afford youth the opportunity to participate in sports and other leisure activities in the community; digital spaces help youngsters to interact virtually across borders with everyone; and well-planned physical spaces can help to accommodate the needs of diverse youngsters, especially those vulnerable to marginalization or violence,” he explained.
Voices of young people
On her side, Doorgawatee Ram-Gopal, UN Coordination Analyst and Representative of the UN and the UNDP Resident Coordinator for Mauritius and Seychelles, stated that the hopes of the world rest on young people. Peace, economic dynamism, social justice, tolerance – all this and more, today and tomorrow, depends on tapping into the power of youth. Yet more than 400 million young women and men live amid armed conflict or organized violence. Millions face deprivation, harassment, bullying and other infringements of their rights. Young women and girls are particularly vulnerable,” she underlined. She stated that the United Nations is strongly committed to listening to the voices of young people – and opening pathways for meaningful participation in decisions that affect them. In addition, she announced that there will be the launch of new strategic to step up the UN’s work with and for young people this September.
The symposium, based on the theme “Youth to beat plastic pollution,” was an occasion to sensitise the youth present about current environmental challenges and about ways in which they can help to combat plastic pollution. Padmini Gaya Gokool, Biology and Environmental Management Educator at Imperial College and Upcycling Project Director, appealed to the youth to work hand in hand in order keep their environment clean and bring positive changes around them. “With a little creativity and willingness to keep our environment clean and sustainable, we can transform plastic and other wastes into something useful and valuable, that is we can do Upcycling!,” she said. In fact, the Imperial College organised an Upcycling competition among its students to sensitize and motivate them to make use of old materials, thus reducing environmental and plastic pollution. In doing so, she explained, “the Imperial College remains committed in creating a culture of environmental safety and sustainable development.”
Youth and environment
The Upcycling Competition saw the participation of Grades 8, 10 and 11 students of Imperial College. The First Runner-up was Chirag Dommun and the Second Runner-up was Varesh Gujadhur, who both received a shield. The grand winner of the competition was Hans Luximon. The winner of the Upcycling Competition displayed an innovative and creative mind by making an indoor table made of used tyres, used ropes, used woods and broken glass. All participants received participation certificates and eco-bags. T-Shirts and plants were also distributed. Guests, students and all those present were invited to have a look and appreciate the work, effort, and creativity of the participating students at the end of the program.
The United Nations Association Mauritius also has an ongoing activity in colleges around the island, namely the painting project on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a collection of the 17 global goals set by the United Nations. Launched since March, the project will closed in April 2019. The 17 goals are to be achieved by 2030.