We were in Akwesasne on February 2nd, 2020, to celebrate alongside the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the World Wetlands Day. A tradition held since 1971 on the adaption of the Convention of Wetlands – last Sunday was a beautiful opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of wetlands in Canada and around the world.
We held a booth at the Snye Recreation center and facilitated a workshop on environmental negotiation as part of the ‘’Akwesasne Youth Mobilized and Committed to the Environment’’, a project implemented with the support of the ‘’Secrétariat à la Jeunesse’’ of the Quebec Government, Montreal International, the Government of Québec, the Minister of International Relations and Francophonie of Québec.
Over 100 people approached the booth, interested in learning about wetlands in Canada – which in many parts are endangered, and how they could, as citizens, act. These conversations were also an opportunity to discuss and present our role of the issue of our youth strategy #WaterGeneration, in Canada and around the world.
Due to their geographic localization, the Akwesasne youth will inevitably encounter difficult situations regarding the protection of the wetlands part of their community. In order to strengthen their capacity in the matter, we facilitated a workshop on environmental negotiations to prepare Akwesasne youth to advocate for the protection of Wetlands.
Environmental negotiations are complex and consist of multi-stakeholders’ agreement – with this in mind, the participants had to take of the role of multiple actors. The workshop consisted of role play, where the participants had to play the role of either entrepreneurs or the government in order to reach an agreement on the use and eventual concession of a section of the Saint-Lawrence River. In a second exercise, they took on the role of organizations’ representatives that had to convince the Prime Minister to implement a law proposal critical to the environmental sustainability of the country.
The workshop was a great success, leaving the participants asking for more – they requested that the workshop be held again, for a longer time. The booth and workshop were animated by our colleague Vladimir Arana.
Thank you to our partners and all the participants!