Youth for eco justice and peace

Reflections from gathering in Colombia

Under the motto “Youth for Eco-Justice and Peace: The Challenge We Accept”, a group of 27 young people from Venezuela, Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia met in for a meeting in Barranquilla, Colombia in August this year. The group met to discuss context analysis, economy and ecology from the perspective of justice, equality and peace construction. The goal was to enable the group to strengthen its work of ecology, economy and ecumenism and to interlink this with the peace processes in the region. Read more about their conclusions and reflections below!

The challenge we accept: brief conclusions

The gathering of young people was created as a continuation of the World Student Christian Federation’s (WSCF/ FUMEC) work on Eco Justice from the last 4 years, and was supported by the Karibu Foundation.  The aim was to promote economic justice, ecological justice and ecumenism amongst Christian Student Movements, FUMEC identify itself within the ecumenical tradition, education and critical context analysis.

The program, Youth for Eco Justice and Peace, is a sum of projects that focus around three keys:
-    Regional reflection and training meetings
-    Development and implementation of small local projects in 8 Latin American countries,
-    and a regional campaign, #DesafioQueAceptamos.

The main analysis of the youth

The participants lifted up the conclusion that the relation between economy and ecology is vital. There needs to be a just relation between the mode of production on the one side and humans’ intervention with nature on the other. The unjust relation between these two factors is what has led us into an ecological crisis of planetary scale, causing increasing inequality and exclusion, and jeopardizing the near future of humanity and especially the most vulnerable populations. With the meeting we intended to reflect upon these issues, Using the concept of “Eco Justice” as a starting point.

The reduction of poverty is necessary, but not sufficient in itself. Rather, the reduction of inequality must be at the core of the analysis. Latin America and the Caribbean are amongst the richest regions in the world with regards to food production, biodiversity, common goods and water. Yet, the level of inequality in the region remains extremely high. To advance in justice and equity it is essential to overcome the current agricultural export and extraction model. One of the most crucial problems in the region is the growth policies of countries in the South that are centered on the exploitation of raw materials and the colonial agro export model. Because of the neo-liberal and conservative development in the majority of the South American countries since 2014, these policies are allowed to continue and accelerate.

This is followed by the conclusion that there is central role of the mass media, who have exceeded their role and influence in decision making and the public opinion formation, harming the majority in favor of corporations. The role of the mass media is relevant for the conservative advancement and helpful to lobbyists from multinational corporations and think tanks of powerful economic groups. 

The models and economic groups that have put the majority population at risk for the last five decades, cannot be put in isolation.  Another reflection that has become clear to us is that the relation of economy, ecology and peace construction cannot be seen as independent from the fight against patriarchy. The vision of “Eco Justice” include a vision of “Eco Feminism”. It is possible to understand the intervention and destruction of the nature in the same way as we understand the power in between man and woman. As so it is important to include a gender perspective based on the critical analysis of the patriarchy.

The importance of land is fundamental in an Eco Justice that builds peace. To redeem the fights of the small scale farmers and indigenous people, and reclaim the land for those that work on it is fundamental and needs to be an integrated part in the work of the federation of students and youth. 

By Marcelo Leites, WSCF Latin America (translated from the original spanish)


For more information about the WSCF in Latin America and the Caribbean, visit

Posted by Karibu Foundation - Last updated 06.12.2017