The Young Professionals in Local Development (YPLD) is a network of young professionals that set its mind to change the world. We started from a small idea of aggregating the local population towards building their community to a much bigger objective: that of creating a global network of young, but also experienced professionals that, by fostering communities` growth through innovation, can help solve some of the biggest challenges today: food security, climate change, poverty.
On February 18th 2012 we decided to “Raise the stake” and, with the support of our three strategic partners: YPARD, Connect4Climate and Groupe de Bruges, moved the discussions from the virtual environments directly into the hands of the people that are affected by decisions and decision-makers.
Invited at this conference were people from different environments from local business, local public authorities, NGOs` and iNGOs` and, among the speakers, members of European think tanks and the European Commission represented by Director Mihail Dumitru from Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development.
This diverse crowd stimulated a great debate from the beginning when the future of the agriculture in the local context was discussed. The views of YPLD are that agriculture should be a building block for the future, but with limiting its present impact on the environment. Presently, more than 30% of the food is waste because of its poor quality, frequent disregards of European standards, massive consumption of fast food and frozen products and others and also with 70% of all fresh drinking water being using for industrial agricultural systems.
By changing this, we give our people, our communities a better future. The options are introducing alternative food systems regulated through city or regional level food policies, metropolitan and/or periurban agriculture and others.
Following such a complex debate where the exchange of ideas was very fast pacing, switching from food security to climate change effects locally and from young people to more experienced professionals, it was just normal to talk about … social media and e-learning tools.
Starting with a video presentation of Connect4Climate and moving towards the E-learning course of Groupe de Bruges on the Common Agricultural Policy given by Bart Soldaat, we learned from all partners what is social networking and how can this be used by individuals and organizations alike to promote their initiatives. Marina Cherbonnier from YPARD, while discussing the involvement of young professionals in international agricultural research for development, has presented the new image of its organization, that of a multi-cultural community, where diversity is welcomed and where all and every opinion is taken into consideration and valued.
“Raising the stake” in all its projects, YPLD has grown to becoming a global networking, reaching three continents, over 30 countries and more than 10 fields of expertise among which: international cooperation, community-led local development, local economic development, urbanization, governance, food security, climate change.
Have you been attending this conference? Would you like to emphasize some aspects we have not discussed here, or you simply would like to add on? Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you haven’t been attending the conference but you are interested in knowing more about the Young Professionals in Local Development or you would like to share about your own experience on that matter, your comments or questions are very welcome too!
Codrin is the President of YPLD and consults on agriculture and rural development for a number of organizations.