Dr Jan Cerovsky is co-author of International Youth Federation historical review

The volume contains personal memoirs of those participating in the work of the IYF, including contributions by IUCN CEC member Dr Jan Čeřovský. It is published by the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation.

Photo: NNA-Berichte

International Youth Federation for Environmental Studies and Conservation (IYF) - an account of the involvement of young people in conservation from 1950 to 2010

130 pages A4, with original illustrations. English, with a German summary. Published March 2012.

In 1956 in Salzburg, Austria, 16 youth organisations from 12 countries came together to form a Federation with the aim ‘to study and conserve nature in all its aspects’. It was under the initial sponsorship of IUCN (the World Conservation Union). It differed from most other international ‘youth’ organisations in that its officers were elected by the member organisations, were under 28 years old and served on a voluntary basis.

For 40 years IYF was a vibrant organisation, attracting some of the best young minds in environmental conservation from Europe and across the world. It ran an annual programme of international study camps in more than 40 countries and held youth leader training courses on the Lüneburger Heath Nature Park in northern Germany from the 1950’s to the mid 1970’s.

IYF organised the first European Youth Forum on conservation (1970), the first World Youth Conference on the Environment (Canada, 1971) and played an active part in the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972). In the mid 1970’s, IYF held training courses in Africa and Asia, and helped to found environmental youth organisations in developing countries. IYF established a world office in Denmark to underpin the work of the elected Executive Board and to improve communication with its member organisations in five continents.

The book contains contributions from some of IYF’s founding members as well as those active in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. Their memories - and photographs of activities through the 40 years - bring to life the inspirational experience of young people who were dedicated to understanding their environment and spreading the message of conservation.

In the 1980’s, the Federation split into ‘continental’ regions and lost the sponsorship of IUCN. The World was just too big for an organisation built on the voluntary involvement of young people to survive. In 1988, IYF was installed on UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour, and in 1989 its world office moved to Nairobi in Kenya. The last reference to IYF is its intervention at UNEP’s Governing Council in 1990, discussing the role of youth at the forthcoming 1992 World Conference on the Environment. The book concludes with a contribution from YEE (Youth Environment Europe) in which some of IYF’s founding member organisations are still active.

The Annexes contain useful historical information about IYF, its member organisations and its key activities.

Publisher: Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (NNA)

Chief Editor: David Withrington, UK
david.withrington@ntl... contact for review copies

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