Moving on with the ‘river of life': Experiences of a youth moderator

Strengthening youth involvement in the field of forestry and sustainability. Photo by Sekar Ayu Woro Yunita

Strengthening youth involvement in the field of forestry and sustainability. Photo by Sekar Ayu Woro Yunita

As soon as I came back and turned to work on my research desk, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the Summit and what I should do next. The Forests Asia Summit 2014 gave me new insights, connections and knowledge to share as a participant and youth moderator. The experience was like becoming part of the grand ‘river of life’ that needs youth involvement in order to move forward.

I have gained a lot of valuable experiences from the connections I made with the youth session organizers, professional participants, moderators, youth participants and the social media team. I am also very thankful to have the scientists and experts from the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and Young Professionals’ Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) guide me along the way.

The youth, through the youth session, were able to produce key recommendations for the policy-makers and research institutions as well as active solutions to follow themselves as students and young professionals. These recommendations are integral and will be an important component in the Summit outputs. The proposed actions and activities by the youth are also an important head start if we want to draw a different future scenario.

On my part, I will share the experiences and youth recommendations with my colleagues in research. My part in the grand ‘river of life’ for sustainable landscapes will be to encourage student organizations like the Association of Filipino Forestry Students (UPLB) — who will organize the International Forestry Students Symposium for 2015 — to get more involved in research, think of sustainable innovations and initiate action.

The ‘river of life’ has started flowing and we should continue pouring our youth ideas and actions into it for a more sustainable landscape.

Jan Joseph was moderating the youth roundtable discussion on key topics relating to the theme “Forest Landscapes for food and biodiversity” during the youth session.

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