From CITES to CBD: Youth Forum delegates shine

Josephine Crouch and Cécile Tang with IFAW Director of Education and Social Change Nancy BarrDelegates from the Youth Forum for People and Wildlife , held just before the CITES conference of the parties a few months ago, are now making their presence at Cancun's United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity CoP13.

Today, we hosted IFAW’s first side event at the CoP13 venue on “Effective Partnerships for Youth Engagement in Biodiversity Conservation,” with an inspiring presentation from four of our youth delegates, including Josephine Crouch and Cécile Tang.

Josephine Crouch and Cécile Tang speak at IFAW-sponsored side event “Effective Partnerships for Youth Engagement in Biodiversity Conservation.”

But instead of describing their participation in this event, I’ll just share with you a lovely text that they wrote to their network:

Dear amigos,

It is hard to believe that it’s already been two months since the Youth Forum was held in Johannesburg, and - man, we have been busy! Formulating the legacy of the forum has been, and continues to be an exciting and challenging task for us. As steering committee members of the newly formed Youth for Wildlife Conservation (Y4WC), we are at the Convention on Biological Diversity CoP13 in Cancun, Mexico.

You may think we are surfing - but think again! We have been surfing the political waves of an intergovernmental convention and this has so far been even more rewarding. And we are super excited because we just joined IFAW Education Director Nancy Barr at a CBD side event on Effective Partnerships for Youth Engagement in Biodiversity Conservation. Melina Sakiyama also joined us on the panel, representing the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, which is the CBD’s official youth platform. With IFAW’s support, we have joined the GYBN delegation here at CoP 13 to learn how young conservationists can be more involved in global negotiations that affect us all.

The CBD brings together a vast array of topics from indigenous rights to invasive species, coastal biology and even business engagement, and our key message at the side event today was to the importance of diversity within the youth voice. This was one of our main take-aways from Johannesburg: Despite our different cultural backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, we are all working towards the same goal. We have found that to be true also at the CBD and it is in this spirit that we are moving forward with our new youth network and exploring opportunities to establish a youth partnership with CITES.

This has been an invaluable opportunity to re-connect with IFAW and partners and to make new face-to-face connections with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.

Wish you were here!

Josephine and Cécile

PS: Cancun is rainy and cloudy

--NB

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