Scouting for biodiversity

02 August 2011 | News story

What would the world be like if designed by Scouts? If you could let your imagination go wild and bring a new species to life, what would it look like? How can we make a difference in our home societies so that we live in a more harmonious world for people and nature?

These are some of the questions being explored by Scouts at workshops conducted by IUCN as part of the Global Development Village (GDV) at the 22nd World Scout Jamboree taking place this week in Sweden.

Some 39,000 Scouts from 162 countries have come together for two weeks to share in adventures, exploration and fun with a purpose as part of the Jamboree experience. IUCN, as the world’s largest environment network, has partnered with the world’s largest youth movement in this unique opportunity to help Scouts explore conservation issues, as well as get to know first-hand what are the concerns of young people from around the world. The World Organization of the Scout Movement has 30 million members in 162 countries,

“We have had over 300 Scouts representing 20 nationalities attend our workshops at the GDV so far, and another 200 are expected in the coming days,” says Rod Abson, Focal Point for the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC).

“They have all been very enthusiastic in exploring the themes of the workshops, playing games and getting into some challenging discussions. One workshop celebrates biodiversity, the variety of life on the planet, and explores the connections between threatened species, ecosystems and what we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. The other workshop is about children’s environmental rights and sees Scouts creating a new country and deciding what rights they should have as children, debating which are the highest priority and making recommendations for how they can change their own society for the better when they return home," Rod says.

The natural environment is the basis for many of the activities on offer at the World Scout Jamboree, and Scouts are reminded in many ways how they can reduce their environmental footprint at the Jamboree and at home.

CEC has taken the lead in coordinating the IUCN workshops at the GDV as part of its focus on learning and building the capacity of young people to take effective conservation action.

For more information about IUCN's involvement at the 22nd World Scout Jamboree please contact:

Rod Abson, IUCN Knowledge Management Officer and CEC Focal Point, rod.abson@iucn.org