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Saturday 5th June marks the celebration of World Environment Day. Over the years the United Nations annual campaign has developed into a global platform for encouraging worldwide awareness and positive action to protect our environment.

Millions of people across the planet are being asked to reimagine, recreate and restore the world we live in and will leave behind for future generations. This year, the final session of the Futures Forward Academy will take place on World Environment Day as a celebration of local talent and responses to sustainability challenges. The participants or ‘FutureMakers’ will present their change projects and attend a brief ceremony where they will be awarded certificates.

Launched in January 2021, the Academy has bought together nine young people between the ages of 20 to 30. The ‘Future Makers’, were selected on the basis of their leadership potential and desire to bring about positive change through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in our community.

Through an intensive six-month programme participants have built vital skills in areas such as futures thinking, systems mapping and stakeholder engagement. A series of interactive workshops and webinars have challenged participants to view the issues we face through the lens of sustainability and to apply long-term thinking to problem solving. Alongside this, Future Makers have worked on independent projects.

The Minister for the Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change, the Hon Prof John Cortes, explained: “On World Environment Day, we celebrate not just the environment but also involvement of young and old across our community in the protection of our natural heritage for future generations. This initiative has supported Gibraltar’s future leaders and created a network of young people who can play an active role in transitioning us to a sustainable Gibraltar. I look forward to seeing the skills and ideas developed put into practice.

Funding support has been received from the Kusuma Trust which has a long-standing commitment to sustainable development and supporting Gibraltar’s up and coming talent. Tammy Randall, Futures Forward Lead, has facilitated webinars, organised the key meetings and workshops associated with the inaugural year of the programme. 

The Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations and convener of the initiative, Prof. Daniella Tilbury, commented: “Our participants come from such a range of backgrounds and have shown a real diversity of interests during their time in the Academy. From a project on embedding sustainability within our financial institutions; promoting the use of electric vehicles in Gibraltar or developing a green investment grant scheme; our Future Makers show a drive and passion to take sustainability to the next level and improve the lives of those living in our community.