On 02-07 December 2018, the German Commission for UNESCO, in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, hosted 90 delegates from over 30 National Commissions and representatives of UNESCO designated sites worldwide to the International Conference on Youth Volunteering in and Cooperation among UNESCO designated sites in Berlin, Germany.
The Conference marked the launch of Naturweit, a new international youth volunteering alongside German Commission of UNESCO’s Kulturweit Programme, which promotes voluntary commitment to the sustainable management of nature and global responsibility to be implemented by the Commission as part of the German Federal Foreign Office’s Cultural Relation and Education Policy.
The 5-day conference is composed of plenary, group discussions and field visits to selected Biosphere Reserves in Germany. The plenary and group discussions basically focused on informing the delegates of the Kulturweit Programme of the German Commission for UNESCO and how this can be implemented and cascaded in other countries outside Europe, through the National Commissions and its UNESCO designated sites.
As presented, Kulturweit is one of the flagship programmes of the German Commission for UNESCO. It is an international voluntary service within the framework of Germany’s foreign culture relations and education policy, with the goals of:
- promoting personality development and competences of all participants in a globalised world
- increasing interest of young adults in civic involvement for an active society
- building a modern and distinctive image of Germany, and distinctive images of the assignment countries to the German society
- personal experiencing and living of major UNESCO matters within international context
- contributing to a peaceful coexistence of people and societies worldwide
Presentations of National Commissions’ subregional networks exchanging their experiences, inspirations and good practices on youth volunteering
The Philippines actively participated in several group discussions on Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks, World Heritage, Intangible Heritage, UNESCO Chairs, Associated Schools Network, and Inter-Network Cooperation simultaneously conducted during the Conference. It was an opportunity for the National Commissions to foster collaboration and partnerships among these equally important UNESCO programmes.
Based on the information provided on the Kulturweit, the Philippines, through PH NatCom, expressed interest on the programme. Hon. Mayor Ilagan personally expressed his support to accommodate German volunteer/s in Puerto Galera Biosphere Reserve. Likewise, PH NatCom expressed the same support from Albay Bisophere Reserve. In the next months, the German Commission for UNESCO would closely coordinate with PH NatCom on the details of the volunteer programme. If this endeavor would succeed, this might become a regular programme and partnership between the German Commission for UNESCO and PH NatCom.