Advocating for the power of youth at the Conference on Biodiversity

In the video above, Peter Pueschel, International Fund for Animal Welfare Programme Director, describes the massive impact climate change is having on animals across the globe and what can be done to protect endangered species.

After one and a half stressful weeks in Hyderabad, India is over and still there are many unsolved issues.  

This does not come as a surprise, when one takes a closer look at what is at stake or can be gained and for whom.

14,000 delegates to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) representing the interests of almost every state on earth, rich and poor, industries and business, large and small, indigenous or small communities and big cities, and all sorts of stakeholders.

Amongst them conservation organisations like us, of which most still fail to share the animal welfare concern.

Some of the key topics discussed at the CBD conference include:

  • Young wind and new drive - The youth are moving in, which is very exciting! Young people from many countries have organised and form one of the major groups:  “Youth” (which is exactly what it sounds like – the younger generations who stand to lose the most if we fail to take action to protect wildlife and other biodiversity). They requested to be recognised as stakeholders in national and international policies and action plans to protect biodiversity. I support this vigorously, and in fact am negotiating that IFAW becomes an official education partner with CBD
  • Climate change mechanism must protect wildlife - The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme, which derived to combat climate change.  It is so needed that the programme be a mechanism to protect wildlife keystone species, like forest elephants , and their habitats to reduce emissions, though others want to continue with destructive industrial and monoculture forestry, which devastating for wildlife as clear-cutting.
  • Far too many wild animals get killed for “bushmeat” - More than 750.000.000 mammals are approximately killed for bushmeat in Central Africa alone each year. While historically this has been a needed protein source for the forest people, today this is very commercialised and send to markets. Modern hunting methods, with firearms and wire-slings,  is out of control in many areas, victimising one species population after the other, draining biodiversity on a large scale. Guidelines are adopted, but a “Collaborative Partnership” to ensure implementation in order to halt unsustainable slaughter is still under discussion. If they miss out to include animal welfare standards to address the cruelty and to build in a respect factor for the welfare of each individual animal, the worldwide problems will not be solved. Therefore, IFAW is involved.
  • The problem of “invasive alien species” (IAS) – IAS are recognised to be one of the biggest problems for biodiversity, especially in biodiversity hot spots, like North-East India or the Great Barrier Reef. Managing IAS is important – but the question is where, when, and most importantly:  how? The welfare of animals, even if introduced into an alien environment, must be considered and taken into management plans and action.  
  • Perverse incentives – in 2010, CBD Parties accepted to fade out harmful subsidies and perverse incentives. For example: With billions of €€ overfishing capacity and destructive fishing methods are still highly subsidised, particularly the industrial scale fishing fleets. Deforestation and monoculture plantations for biofuel or palm oil are as well, which undermines CBD objectives and halts progress towards 2020 biodiversity protection targets. Pulling such perverse incentives would decrease destruction and free resources to be used for the good. If done and 1/3 invested in conservation, another to alleviate poverty and raise social standards and the rest to consolidate states budgets, this planet would be a much better place for animals and people.

All of these topics and many more are on the agenda for the meeting, in the video above, I spoke with the Responding to Climate Change team from the conference floor about some of these challenges.

Take a moment to watch and listen.

-- PP

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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
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Erica Martin, Vice President of Communications
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
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Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
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Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
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Jordi Casamitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Manager, IFAW UK
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
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Sonja Van Tichelen, Regional Director, European Union
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