October 13, 2006

About the Program / the Academy

Filed under: | posted by Nikola Berger

“Empowering women grassroots environmental leaders around the globe”

2006/2007 NYC Young Women’s Sustainability and Leadership Training:
A preparation for the 2007 Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-15)
Convened by Women’s Global Green Action Network
In partnership with Lower East Side Ecology Center

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the
UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit.
The Commission is responsible for reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and
the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; as well as providing policy guidance to
follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) at the local, national, regional and
international levels. The JPOI reaffirmed that the CSD is the high-level forum for sustainable
development within the United Nations system.

The CSD meets annually in New York, in two-year cycles, with each cycle focusing on clusters
of specific thematic and cross-sectoral issues, outlined in its new multi-year program of work
(2003-2017) (E/CN.17/2003/6).

At the United Nation’s Commission on Sustainable Development 14th session (CSD-14) there
were many grassroots participants who expressed frustration and confusion about the technical
nature of the sessions and the intricacies of the processes taking place within this international
forum. While the CSD has opened its sessions to broad participation from both governmental
and non-governmental actors, we are working to ensure that grassroots women’s participation
at CSD15 is effective and that our voices are amplified. Furthermore, grassroots women
participating in such processes are utilizing extraordinary percentages of their resource bases to
attend these meetings and we aim to make sure their efforts inform the Commission’s decisionmaking
processes.

Additionally, as is found in every sector, there are key processes, vocabulary, background
information, and contacts specific to sustainable development and environmental policy.
Furthermore, because there are limited opportunities for exchange between sectors (i.e.
scientists and policy makers and educators, etc), large-scale processes such as CSD often end
up being exclusive to “experts” in respective sectors. In order to overcome this dilemma, we
must:

1) Increase the dialogue between sectors,
2) Work with experts within each sector to develop outreach materials and trainings for
those who would like to participate in such dialogues, and
3) Work to increase the voice of grassroots organizations in both public meetings and
closed, ‘power broker’ back-door sessions of policy development.

Furthermore, simply having familiarity with ‘how things are done’ can help an organization or
individual navigate the policy dialogue. Specifically, it is crucial for grassroots women to come
together as a strong lobbying body and force in the upcoming CSD-15. Unlike CSD-14, this
year is the “policy session,” where delegates will work to create environmental policy that will
undoubtedly impact women’s lives across the globe.

As a response to these needs, Women’s Global Green Action Network (WGGAN) and the
Lower East Side Ecology Center (LESEC) are partnering to develop a Sustainability Training
Initiative that will culminate in a 2-day Women’s Grassroots Academy training and preparatory
session for international grassroots women. Participants in the Grassroots Academy will be
comprised of grassroots women registered for, and who will be attending, the CSD-15, which is
held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Preparations for this session will
begin with hands-on training of young women from New York City in key issues of sustainability
and international environmental policy development.

Learning from, and working alongside, experts in the areas of Water and Sanitation, Energy,
Climate and Environmental Policy, these women will then be responsible for research, data
compilation, and outreach development of key materials, contacts, networks, and background
information in the relevant sectors prior to CSD-15. These young women will develop local and
international leadership skills, while obtaining the resources and background information
needed to understand, promote and develop sustainable practices and policies. After their
training program, these young women will be prepared to meet with international grassroots
women participating in the two-day Women’s Grassroots Academy preceding CSD-15.
Furthermore, these young women will not only be assisting and facilitating the preparatory
process, but will also be registered as official WGGAN participants in CSD-15.
This meeting of multiple generations and offering of a variety of knowledge will increase the
access of international grassroots participants to the substance of CSD-15 and increase the
access of New York college women to the realities of environmental policy from “local to global”.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Phase 1: NYC Young Women’s Sustainability Training
The goal of this project is to work with a diverse body of approximately 20 young women
residing in the NYC, who are enrolled in area Universities or Colleges. Participants will be
selected from submitted applications, with preference given to women with ties to developing
countries (familial, professional, study, etc) and with a demonstrated interest in environmental,
gender, and/or policy issues. Their contributions as women living in the local urban
environment will be informed by their ideas/concerns/perspectives and their own cultural
heritage. This will involve research, hands-on training, interviews, lectures, and fieldtrips.
These women will be expected to attend all sessions that will include training in scientific and
policy research, gender issues,, applicable technologies related to sustainability and
environmental policy development. Working to connect the local community with global issues
and impacts, it will be the responsibility of participants to both develop materials that are of
international relevance, while keeping in mind related local issues.

This training will run from September 2006 until May 2007 and be divided into month-long
sustainability trainings in each of the following subject matters:

1. Water & Sanitation
2. Energy*
3. Climate Change. Mitigation, and Adaptation*
4. Policy/Advocacy and Getting Your Voice heard in the International Arena*
*These topics are official foci of the CSD-14/15

The young women trainees will also have the opportunity to do outreach and education
within their own communities through thematic group presentations at local high schools,
which will serve as both local outreach and education and opportunities for the young
women to test their leadership and presentation skills.

The NYC Young Women’s Sustainability and Leadership Training will culminate with Phase 2 of
the project, the Women’s Grassroots Academy for women from around the world. Here, the
young women of the Sustainability and Leadership Training will facilitate dialogues and
preparatory info sessions with CSD-registered grassroots women.

Phase 2: 2007 CSD Women’s Grassroots Academy
The goal of the 2-day Grassroots Academy is to encourage information exchange
between women of varied expertise, backgrounds, experience bases, and ages while
helping to clarifying the role, mission and efficacy of grassroots women’s participation in
the CSD, as well as other international environmental policy conferences. The young
women of the NYC Sustainability and Leadership Training will co-facilitate dialogues and
preparatory info sessions with CSD-registered grassroots women. Young women will have
opportunities to:

• Co-lead with sector experts technical and strategy workshops
• Facilitate mock policy development sessions, information exchange, and debates,
• Present Research and create outreach and concise background information on
relevant sectors/issues for use in Phase 2: 2007 CSD Women’s Grassroots
Academy, including:

1) Summary of key water, climate, sanitation, energy policy, initiatives, funding
opportunities, who’s who list, contacts and networking opportunities,
2) Concise training modules for sustainable technology training, and
3) Practice session activities and analysis/strategy facilitation.
WGGAN and LESEC, with the support of various partners, are working together to co-sponsor a
2-day Grassroots Academy for Women, which will encompass two main objectives in
preparation for participation in CSD-15:

One-Day Sustainability/Capacity Training
• The training will provide women with broader education on background issues of
environmental sustainability associated with CSD. Focus will be on helping
grassroots women articulate their communities’ environmental needs in a global
context.
• Open dialogue and expertise/experience sharing between participants will be key
to this segment of the training, as well as to follow-up activities.
One-Day Strategy Briefing and Policy Preparation Training
• Review the issues specific to CSD15, provide and review summary information of
key policy issues, contacts and potential partnerships relevant to the conference;
• Invite and train grassroots women involved the CSD process and encouraging the
exchange of strategies and goals for conference outcomes and influences;
• Inclusion of practice sessions serving to prepare women for CSD and other
international meetings by familiarizing them with the conference protocols, rules of
order, and strategies for high impact public speaking.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
For Local Participants
• To sufficiently prepare the participants for their role assisting international conference
attendees to associate their local environmental concerns with global environmental
issues
• To train students not only how to access and implement applicable technologies for
sustainable living, but also to speak publicly and coherently about these ideas as
teachers.
• To allow the trainees to absorb background information and individually develop a more
concise method of training applicable to the CSD’s agenda.
• To allow New York City college students to take advantage of the diversity of their urban
environments, be involved in international affairs that affect themselves and their families,
and to learn about what their respective roles are in relevant issues.
For International Women
• To mobilize participants to the CSD to become more aware of how to negotiate the
process/event through the efficient use the time and funding restrictions of grassroots
women by coupling training modules with international conferences.
• To raise the profile of grassroots women’s organizations in the CSD, while working
towards fair representation and increased participation in global environmental policy
processes.
• To recognize the value of grassroots women’s knowledge and experience-base.
• To send participants home with increased knowledge and background concerning key
environmental policy issues, contacts and organizations within the arena, strengthened
networks with like-minded groups, negotiating skills and strategies for personalization
within their communities, as applicable.

Participants
Phase 1
• LESEC is looking for approximately 20 college-aged women, located in NYC, to
participate. We are looking for a diverse representation of women and preference will be
given to women with ties to CSD member countries (see
http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd15/members.htm for a list of these countries).
• Ideally, training will be a for-credit internship in their respective universities. There will not
be a stipend provided.
• Participants will be expected to commit to the program for a full school year in order to be
sufficiently trained. However, once the program is complete, it is likely that they will use
their training and knowledge in other arenas and continue to teach others about the
importance of the sustainability of the environment within the community.

Phase 2
• LESEC and WGGAN, working alongside our partners, will recruit grassroots women who
are registered participants in the CSD. As of now, participation will not be restricted
further in that we are hoping to reach a broad contingency.
• It is assumed that those women already participating in the conference have made travel
and lodging arrangements in order to participate in the CSD, therefore, it is our hope that
participation in the Pre-CSD Grassroots Academy will not economically burden
participants.

 

For More information on the CSD-15 Grassroots Academy, please see the following documents:

Download the CSD-15 Grassroots Academy Agenda

(Including: Session Overviews, Presenter Bios, Participants’ Contact & Organizations)

Download the CSD-15 Grassroots Academy Press Release

Download the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s Introduction to the Grassroots’ Academy

For more information on our Young Women’s Sustainability Program experts, participants and timeline, please see the following documents:

Download the Full Program Description

Download the Participant Look Book

Download the Expert Look Book

Download the Training Timeline

Tara DePorte
Program Director
Lower East Side Ecology Center
www.lesecologycenter.org

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