On November 8, 2013, a group of young environmental leaders and entrepreneurs hailing from several rural communities in Colombia met with Colombian diplomats and representatives of multilateral organizations to discuss their ideas to further economic and social activities in their villages. The visit was coordinated by the Colombian National Learning Service (SENA) and ECPA implementing partner Partners of the Americas. At the Organization of American States (OAS), the group met with the staff of the Department of Sustainable Development (DSD) and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT). Colombian diplomats joined in the meeting to discuss the work conducted under the umbrella of ECPA and identify potential avenues for cooperation. The dialogue generated new ideas on how to meaningfully engage youth in environmental and sustainable development initiatives. DSD is in charge of operating the ECPA Clearinghouse—the coordinating body of ECPA, conceived as a mechanism to foster partnerships for greater dialogue, collaboration and awareness on energy and climate.
Richard Huber, manager of the ECPA initiative on Sustainable Cities in Central America and the Caribbean, welcomed the entrepreneurs and spoke about the importance of finding local solutions to global problems. ECPA Clearinghouse manager Juan Cruz Monticelli shared the achievements of several ECPA initiatives implemented by organizations such as U.S. Peace Corps, Mexico’s Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy and Colombia’s Petroleum Institute Ecopetrol. Monticelli highlighted the importance of raising awareness on sustainable development and low carbon economic and social growth among youth. Yadir Salazar and Adriana Maldonado, of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the OAS, praised the efforts of these young entrepreneurs in their pursuit of sustainable development geared toward improving the quality of life in their communities.
The Colombian leaders shared their projects and ideas to deploy environmental solutions in the agricultural sector and promote rural development. The organizations present at the meeting pledged to support the work of the group.