ESD Prize laureate advocates for the environmental future of El Salvador – new blog post

18 May 2017

 

by Corrina Grace, SERES (Guatemala/El Salvador), winner of the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development 2015

“On 29 March 2017, SERES leaders made their voices heard (link is external) in the government halls of San Salvador as the Legislative Assembly announced the passage of an unprecedented move toward sustainability. SERES team members cheered along with the rest of the nation as El Salvador became the first country in the world  to completely ban metal mining.

The law came about as a result of over 12 years of activism on the part of various sectors of civil society who continued to work to prohibit metal mining despite intense resistance from the mining companies themselves, and the assassinations of several leaders of the anti-mining movement in the northern department of Cabañas. Many SERES youth leaders participated in the most recent campaigns and events that led to the passage of the prohibition.

One of the goals of the SERES leadership process, particularly for the ambassadors who form an international network of change-makers in Guatemala and El Salvador, is to increase civic and political participation in order to effect systemic change aligned with ESD values.

The youth leaders’ presence and participation in such an important national and worldwide achievement for sustainability is indicative of the myriad of ways in which SERES leaders are engaged in civic and political spheres as ESD change agents.

“To know that we now have a law that prohibits mining fills me with satisfaction,” said Wendy Pérez, SERES ambassador who was present in the capital for the historic decision. “This day will remain marked in our minds and hearts, and all of us who are part of this cause to create a more just and sustainable world.”

“To have achieved today the passage of this law has lit a candle of hope for all of the Salvadoran people. Today we can say, ‘Yes we could!’” said Yeymy Ruíz, SERES ambassador and youth representative on the executive board of Asociación SERES who was also present for in San Salvador when the announcement was made.

Civic commitment and political advocacy remain on the agenda for SERES youth leaders and ambassadors in El Salvador. On 28 May, a popular referendum will be held in the municipality of Suchitoto on the designation and protection of water as a human right. SERES team members, ambassadors, and youth leaders are currently working to mobilize other youth and members of their communities (link is external) to take action at the end of this month and say yes to the human right to water in order to secure a more sustainable future for their communities.”

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