Empowering and mobilizing youth in Germany: youcoN

Empowering and mobilizing youth is one of the five Priority Action Areas of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP ESD). To ensure representation and participation in Germany, a youth panel of 25 young people has been formed: the “youpaN”. This group of motivated adolescents provides input concerning young people’s ideas in implementing the National Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development (NAP ESD) and two of them are part of the National Platform on ESD – the supreme steering body of GAP implementation in Germany.  

The youpaN also carries out projects and participates in ESD events. To make other young people aware of the importance of ESD and create local-level space to enable ESD-related engagement and debate, a youth conference was launched in 2017. During the “youcoN” young people from all kinds of backgrounds can share their ideas and actions on sustainable development.


The last youth conference was held in the city of Wolfsburg, northern Germany, from 4 to 7 October 2018. At more than 40 workshops, presentations and talks, some 130 young people discussed how ESD can be better communicated in early childhood care and other educational institutions. Participants discussed the focal topics of global responsibility, greater youth participation, digital education and taking action together – both among themselves and with representatives from policymaking, industry and science. They developed a wide range of ideas, such as how sustainable learning can be learned and taught.

Impressions from the youcoN conference have been summarised in a video.

The next youcoN will take place from 29 May to 2 June, 2019. Under the slogan “We.L(o/i)ve.Future” around 150 young people will meet in the Baltic seaside resort Binz on the island of Rügen to discuss what kind of education we need to make the world a better place for everyone.