Young people have had a rough year. Disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic, young people have seen disruptions in their learning and studying, a drop in volunteering and job opportunities, as well as the cancellation of most social plans.
NatureScot has pledged to do what it can to support young people and we are proud to be one of the founding signatories to the #IWill campaign’s Power of Youth Charter.
Young people are one of our key stakeholders in achieving a nature-rich future. They are not just the leaders of the future, but the leaders of today. A strong youth voice is critical to improve biodiversity loss and deliver the nature-based solutions we need to address the climate emergency. We are committed to ensuring all young people are empowered to take action, make a difference, and influence change.
As part of our commitment to young people, we pledge to take action on the following areas detailed in the charter:
- Prioritise empowering young people to volunteer and take social action
- Open up our decision-making structures
- Work in partnership
- Evidence the benefits of youth social action
- Recognise and celebrate young people
Youth engagement can seem like a daunting task. But done properly, it can prove a meaningful and valuable experience for all involved. Not only do young people benefit from the experience and skills in developing projects and participating in governance, but those delivering them can gain valuable insight from a young person’s perspective and be sure in the fact that implementation is likely to be more successful.
The NatureScot board recently approved the new NatureScot Youth Engagement Action Plan, detailing the ambitious and wide ranging actions that put young people at the heart of what we do.
Based on recommendations from young people, through Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel – ReRoute – and our own Young Employee Panel, the plan outlines how we will equip and empower young people from all backgrounds to take social action through;
- integrating young people better into our decision-making;
- better engaging young people in how Scotland creates, maintains and accesses nature and green and blue spaces; and
- creating more opportunities for volunteering, training and employment.
Driven by our work with young people, the plan takes an intersectional approach, proposing stronger engagement, empowerment, and integration of co-design across the organisation with relevance to all under-represented stakeholder groups. We can’t however do this alone. We work closely with brilliant partners across Scotland such as Young Scot, TCV, John Muir Trust, Scottish Countryside Rangers’ Association, Backbone CIC and many more. We invite you to join us and other organisations in supporting young people, through signing your organisation up to the Power of Youth Charter.