Welcome Message


To our distinguished guests from the UNECE and the Mediterranean Region,

It is my distinct privilege and honor to welcome you to the UNECE Forum for ESD and Youth and the parallel MED9 Forum that will take place in Limassol, Cyprus from the 27th to 28th of June 2024. This is the very first forum that is organized in the UNECE region for ESD and youth and is organized by the Republic of Cyprus (Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth), the UNECE, the Swiss Government and UNEP.

As stakeholders in this important and consequential period for sustainable education, representing 56 members of the United Nations and nine Mediterranean countries, we are united by our common goal of promoting sustainability education, embodied by the motto of this forum: “Going Green.” At this crucial juncture in human history, where the urgency to address environmental challenges has never been more abject, it is inspiring to witness such a diverse forum that is dedicated to the cause of sustainability. Our commitment to fostering Environmental and Sustainable Development (ESD) policies is not merely a directive; it is a moral imperative to safeguard the future of our planet for generations to come. Central to our discussions in these forums will be the pivotal role of youth in driving ESD policies for a sustainable future. Imparting young minds with the knowledge, skills, and passion for environmental stewardship is paramount to engendering an awareness of and a commitment to ESD. Through the UNECE ESD Strategy and the ESD Mediterranean Action Plan, we aim not only to inspire but to enact tangible change. It is not enough to merely gather and discuss these issues; we must translate our deliberations into impactful initiatives that reverberate across communities, nations, and continents. With your presence and participation in these forums, there is a clear recognition of the indispensable role of ESD in integrating sustainability into entrepreneurship education. Only through sustainable practices can we foster a culture of innovation and enterprise, in order to truly build resilient and equitable economies. In this process, we must view youth not just as the leaders of tomorrow but as the disruptive change-makers of today, whose actions now will influence the course of our collective destiny. With its rich, cultural heritage and strategic geographical location, Cyprus serves as an ideal location for these forums. Its commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable development is exemplary. By convening environmental experts at the apex of three continents, we aim to harness the collective wisdom and energy of our diverse participants as a focal point for disseminating these commitments towards a more sustainable future on a global level. In the short time we have together, I urge all of you to remain focused on the objectives of these forums: to forge partnerships, to exchange knowledge, and to catalyze transformative action. The expected results of these forums shall not be confined to mere declarations. Rather, they shall encompass concrete collaborations and commitments that will bring us closer to our shared vision of a sustainable world. Only through concerted actions can we sow the seeds of a greener, more prosperous future. By investing in the education of ESD in our youth, we can then harvest the fruits of a generation of like-minded leaders who understand the value and consequence of empowering ESD. I looking forward to having the opportunity to welcoming you in Cyprus and connect with the national delegations and to meet each one of you personally during the parallel forums. I am confident that all of us together, by uniting our voices and committing our resources, will succeed in creating a catalyst for positive change, inspiring each other to enhancing our efforts in pursuit of a greener, more sustainable future for all.

Dr. Athena Michaelidou Cyprus Minister of Education, Sport and Youth

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