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         4 December 2001

The United Nations University's Global Environment Information Centre (a joint initiative with the Ministry of the Environment, Japan) has launched the Youth Group for Environmental Leadership (Youth GEL). The purpose of the Youth GEL, which was born out of a UNU training programme started in Bangkok in March 2001, in collaboration with the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, is to help young people enhance the leadership skills necessary for taking actions to solve global environmental issues.

The Youth GEL was launched during World Environment Day in June 2001. The group is already involved in a number of projects and activities with various partners, particularly organizing leadership training for students initially in Japan. A recent Youth GEL activity was the "Junior Environmental Leadership Training in Santo 2001," held on 5-8 October in collaboration with the Santo town office in Shiga prefecture. This training, which enabled participants to deepen their knowledge on environmental issues faced in Santo through lectures and field trips, was organized as an official pre-event of the 9th International Conference on the Conservation and Management of Lakes, held in Otsu, Shiga, on 11-16 November 2001. The results of the training are expected to be incorporated in the "Building a Beautiful Community" ordinance that is currently under preparation by the Santo town office.

On 28-29 November 2001, Youth GEL held a workshop on "Environmental Leadership Training: Leadership Styles from the Perspectives of Climate Change Issues." This workshop, organized in Osaka in collaboration with the Citizens' Alliance to Save the Atmosphere and the Earth (CASA) and the Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. Environment Foundation, involved high school and university students, and others with an interest in environmental issues.

The Youth GEL is also working on various other projects, including the creation of an online environmental dictionary, development of a youth-focused version of the North-East Asia UN "State of the Environment Report" (being prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme), organization of environmental leadership training in English, and additional workshops targeting elementary, junior high, and high school students (to be organized in collaboration with the Association for the Promotion of the Junior United Nations Eco Workshop (JUNEC)).

Through the Youth GEL, the UNU and GEIC will continuously support activities for youth who are interested in environmental leadership issues and promote their networking.

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For media inquiries concerning this press release, please contact:

UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346

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For further information on the Youth GEL, please contact:
  Dr. Jerry Velasquez or Ms. Makiko Yashiro
Global Environment Information Centre
5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001 Japan
Tel.: (03) 5467-1301 Fax: (03) 3407-8164
  Mr. Tsutomu Uryu
President, Youth GEL




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