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The goal of the Environmental Sustainability Project (ESP) is to equip South African youth with knowledge and understanding of the local and international issues connected to enviromental sustainability so that they might be able to put forth their ideas on how to tackle the challenges facing our world today. It is a competition that requires teams of learners to research topics related to global environmental sustainability, provide case examples, and to consider what possible recommendations or solutions they would propose at a local and international level. In the process learners develop valuable content knowledge, as well as  research, writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills.

Participants of the programme are provided unique and often life changing opportunities to engage with different stakeholders from academia, civil society, government, media, and the United Nations. Tutoring, workshops, and resource materials are provided to each of the participating schools, and regardless of competition results, each school is invited to be involved in various programme activities throughout the year.
This programme is open to all interested learners in Grades 10-12, and can be used by Grade 11 Life Science teachers for ‘Human Impact on the Environment’ projects.

The Environmental Sustainability Project is divided into three parts:

  1. Research paper – Working in teams of three, Grade 10-12 learners write a research paper of up to 12 pages on selected topics related to global environmental sustainability issues.
  2. Presentation – Teams with the best research papers are invited to present their research findings in a provincial or regional event organised by SAIIA.
  3. Youth Negotiations at the SAIIA Young Leaders Conference - Each year in December, top learners who have excelled in the ESP are brought to Gauteng for the SAIIA Young Leaders Conference in which they participate in their own negotiation sessions to propose possible recommendations for global environmental sustainability issues to government and the United Nations.

The ESP was nominated for the prestigious Mail and Guardian Greening the Future Awards 2014, which recognises educational and advocacy efforts by public and private organisations in the environmental sphere.

2016 SAIIA Environmental Sustainability Project

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) would like to invite your school to participate in the 2016 SAIIA Environmental Sustainability Project (ESP)!

To register your school, educators must complete the SCHOOL REGISTRATION FORM by Friday 27 May 2016.

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Last year, one of SAIIA's youth participants travelled to Paris to attend the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP21. Other SAIIA youth participants followed the proceedings from Johannesburg. Click here to read their updates and reflections on this game-changing conference.