Agenda 21, the document produced at the recent United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, is pretty daunting. Written in polysyllabic quasi-legalese, it exceeds 500 pages and costs $195. It would be easy to applaud the tremendous effort that went into creating this rare international consensus on critical environmental concerns and then just hope that somebody else will do something about it. Peace Child International has a better idea: get kids around the world to rewrite Agenda 21 in language that, well, a child could understand. Then get the kids to hold leaders accountable for putting the plan to work.
Besides explaining the provisions of the document, Children’s Edition of Agenda 21 will tell the story of the Earth Summit itself – the people, planning, and problems which resulted in action plans overtly sanctioned by an unprecedented international alliance.
Students and teachers from around the world will be involved in Peace Child’s follow up on Agenda 21. Students will talk to government officials, academics, and environmental experts, including both those who helped create the document and those who are critical of it.
The students will synthesize the information they gather and send representatives to an editorial meeting at Peace Child headquarters in England, where they will finalize copy and book design. Representatives will have canvassed student participants to gather their ideas. These will become "Agenda 21A," the last chapter of Children’s Edition of Agenda 21.
Peace Child International plans to launch the book on September 21, 1993 – the International Day of Peace. Then the most powerful part of the program begins. Students throughout the world will meet with leaders in the public and private sectors to check up on how much of Agenda 21 they have implemented and to discuss the points students raise in "Agenda 21A." Peace Child plans for this to become an annual event in which youngsters – who usually consider themselves politically powerless – can meet with their leaders to urge progress "toward long-term survival for all life on this planet."
To participate in this effort, contact Peace Child International. In the US: 7514 Girard Avenue, #1-544, La Jolla CA 92037. Elsewhere: Little Maltings, Much Hadham, Herts SG10 6AW, United Kingdom.
[PLEASE NOTE: "Resources for Youth" (p. 42, IC #33) gives an out-dated address for Peace Child International. The correct addresses are those given above. Peace Child coordinators David Woollcombe and Rosey Simonds asked us to clarify that Creative Response, which also appears in IC #33, was formerly part of Peace Child and carries on the theatrical work Peace Child initiated. Besides the Agenda 21 project, Peace Child International programs currently focus on four problem areas – Cyprus, the Middle East, Ireland, and the former Yugoslavia.]
– Carla Cole