October 25, 2021

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Young people demand action on nature, after the first IUCN World Youth Summit – Global Issues

Young people demand action on nature, after the first IUCN World Youth Summit - Global Issues

UN Secretary-General Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake told IPS that the Summit has achieved an important goal of bringing institutions and political conversations closer to young people. Clockwise from top left: Jayathma Wickramanayake, Swetha Stotra Bhashyam, Emmanuel Sindikubwabo, Diana Garlytska. Courtesy: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • by Alison Kentish (United Nations)
  • Inter Press Service

Under three umbrella themes of diversity, accessibility and intersectionality, they ask countries and companies to invest the necessary resources to rectify environmental racism and climate injustice, create green jobs, engage communities for the protection of biodiversity, safeguard the ‘ocean, achieving gender equality for the climate, mitigation of change and empowerment of under-represented voices in the definition of environmental policies.

“Young people talk about these key demands they have and most of the time they are criticized for always saying ‘I want this’ and being told ‘but you’re not even sure what you can do'”, Global South Focal point for Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) Swetha Stotra Bhashyam told IPS. “So we linked our demands to our actions through our ‘The campaign Your promise, our future and we are showing world leaders what we are doing for the world and asking them what they will do for us and our future. “

Bhashyam is one of the young people dedicated to climate action and conservation. A zoologist who once studied rare species from the field in India told IPS that while she hoped to someday return to wildlife studies and research, her defense and youth mobilization skills are urgently needed. Through his work with GYBN, the youth constituency recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, he proudly stated that the network has truly become “base”, with 46 national chapters. He said the IUCN global youth summit, which has taken place since April. From 5 to 16, gave youth networks like his an unprecedented platform to reach tens of thousands of young people around the world.

The Summit was able to create spaces for young people to express their views. We in the space of biodiversity have these spaces, but we cannot reach the numbers that the IUCN can do. The IUCN not only reached a larger subgroup of young people, but it gave us an open space to talk about critical issues, “he said.” They even allowed us to blog about it on their IUCN main page. IUCN Crossroads. They tried to ensure that young people’s voices were truly mainstream in those two weeks. “

UN Secretary-General Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake told IPS that the Summit has achieved an important goal of bringing institutions and political conversations closer to young people. During his tenure, Wickramanayake advocated a common set of principles for youth engagement within the United Nations system, based on adequate rights, security and funding. He said it is important that institutions open their doors to meaningful engagement with young people.

“I remember in the eighth or ninth grade in one of our biology classes, we were taught about endangered animal species. We learned about this organization called IUCN, which works on biodiversity. In my head, this was a great organization that was out of my reach as a young man.

“But having the opportunity to attend the IUCN Summit, even virtually, to engage with its officials and engage with other young people, has really given me and perhaps has given other young people a sense of belonging and a feeling of getting closer to the institutions they seek. to achieve the same goals that we are as supporters of young people “.

Youth Envoy said the Summit was timely for young people, allowing them to meet virtually after a particularly difficult year and during a pandemic that cost them jobs, education opportunities and raised anxieties.

“The young activists felt that the momentum we had created from years of campaigns, protests and school strikes would be dampened due to this uncertainty and the postponement of major negotiations. To keep the momentum high and keep the pressure on institutions and governments, summits like this are extremely important, ”Wickramanayake said.

Other World Youth Summit outcomes included invitations to:

  • Promote food sovereignty for marginalized communities, which included recommendations to promote climate-smart farming techniques through direct access to finance for marginalized communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and extreme events
  • motivate creative responses to the climate emergency e
  • designing sustainable futures through citizen science, which included recommendations for developing accessible educational materials that promote the idea that everyone can participate in data collection and scientific knowledge creation.

The event was advertised not only as a summit, but as an experience. There were a number of sessions streamed throughout the two weeks, including youth engagement in conservation governance, a live story slam event, yoga, and a session on starting and expanding a style business. of sustainable life. There were also various networking sessions.

Diana Garlytska of Lithuania represented Coalition WILD, as co-chair of the youth-led organization, which works to create lasting youth leadership for the planet.

He told IPS at the Summit it was “a very powerful and engaging experience”.

“I am impressed with how knowledgeable young people of different ages were. Many have talked about recycling projects and entrepreneurial activities starting from their own experiences. Others shared ideas on how to use different art forms to communicate climate emergencies. Somehow, the conversation I remember most vividly was about how to reveal environmental issues in theatrical performances. I take it with me as food for thought, “Garlytska said.

For Emmanuel Sindikubwabo of the Rwandan organization for reforestation and environmental education of young people We Do GREEN, the Summit provided excellent networking opportunities.

“I truly believe that young people around the world are more connected thanks to the Summit. It’s scary because so many things are going wrong with the pandemic, but exciting because there was this invitation to cooperate. There is already a lot of youth action taking place. We have to do better to show it and support it, ”he told IPS.

Sindikubwabo said he was ready to put into practice what he learned at the Summit.

“The IUCN Global Youth Summit has provided my team and I at We Do GREEN with new insights and perspectives from the global youth community that will be useful in redefining our programming in Rwanda …. As the world faces the triple crisis; climate, nature and poverty, we have created many new connections that will bring significant and positive change to our communities and our nation in the near future. “

The Global Youth Summit took place less than six months before the IUCN World Conservation Congress, scheduled for Sept. From 3 to 11. Its results will be presented to Congress.

Reflecting on the just-concluded event, the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy hopes to see more of these events.

“I wish this became the norm. This was the first IUCN Youth Summit, which is fantastic and I hope it will not be the last, which will be just the start of a longer and more sustainable conversation with IUCN youth … his work , its strategies, policies and negotiations, “Wickramanayake said.

© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service