Biodiversity Needs You(th): The Young Speak Up
When it comes to global environmental governance, challenges often seem too complex, making them impossible to overcome. Our development system, lifestyles and the mindset behind them, coupled with the interconnectedness between the many dimensions of human activities, create a hopeless context in which solutions are difficult to achieve. This is particularly true in biodiversity governance, which is intrinsically linked with poverty eradication, climate change, food security, health, urbanization, or energy.
From all species to ecosystems, oceans and landscapes, political decisions and indecisions impact the relationship with our environment. How can we bring together intergenerational equity, global solidarity and respect for nature? In 2020, at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the world will negotiate a new global framework for Humanity to live in harmony with nature by 2050. Committed young leaders will bring hopes and ambitions for a more inclusive approach to environmental governance.
“Youth is transformation”.
Youth puts the world in motion
Young people have often been associated with stereotypes and judgements: from fierce rebels, to naïve dreamers and alienated fools, but one thing remains: Youth is transformation. We seek wonderful possibilities for a future and while doing that we often question our past and present. Right now we are growing scared and frustrated about what have been presented as our future options by older generations, and we crave to earn a bigger role in shaping our future, in taking the lead to finally live within our planetary boundaries.
Our generation was born facing the rise of some of Humanity’s greatest challenges such as the environmental crisis. However, young people are constantly facing contradictory situations. We saw the Internet connect more and more people, but we also witnessed technology’s shortcomings in changing the world. We are an increasingly international and cosmopolitan generation, but our mind-opening travels negatively impact our planet. We are trying to be more sustainably-minded, but economic pressures and slow political change make it difficult to truly transform our lifestyles.
We were taught in history classes not to reproduce the same mistakes, but we feel excluded from the spaces where decisions are taken. Youth is trapped between ecological and social emergencies and a business-as-usual system where older generations monopolize decisions -without talking to us, without involving us, without thinking about our future.
“…we feel excluded from the spaces where decisions are taken”.
The 21st century has seen the emergence of many youth movements advocating for urgent environmental actions. But we need to go beyond being simply heard. We need to be included in the dialogue, in decision-making, in mainstreaming a viable Earth — where we live in harmony with nature and ourselves. Youth is a creative force that, when empowered, will shape our common future and help us achieve the global deal for Nature and People.
Bringing an intergenerational perspective at the Paris Peace Forum
The Paris Peace Forum will show that everyone, from world leaders to civil society is committed to finding solutions for a better future through international governance. This is where youth needs to be. Youth and environment movements are active and numerous — from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network to Youth for Climate, and many others, — and they can come together to define the future of our planet. This will be the start of an exciting journey, taking us to a Global Youth Forum for the Planet. We hope that this movement will bring to light the many intricate relations between Nature and all aspects of human life. By challenging prejudices and mobilizing all actors, we will find the path to leave a viable Earth to future generations.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Melina Sakiyama, Global Youth Biodiversity Network
Melina is a Brazilian biologist and holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Kyoto University in Japan. She has been involved in numerous research projects on biodiversity conservation, biodiversity valuation and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). She also volunteered for various social and environmental organizations. She is a founding member of GYBN and has coordinated youth participation in the CBD since 2012. Since 2014 she is coordinating GYBN’s Youth Voices capacity building and empowerment programme.
Thomas Bobo, Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework . EU Support, Expertise France
Thomas is a Project Officer for the project Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework . EU Support, funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France, the French international cooperation agency. As a young professional in the project team, he is in charge of youth mobilization and engagement towards a Global Deal for Nature and People. Thomas holds a Master’s degree in Geopolitics from Sciences Po Toulouse University in France and a Master’s degree in Middle-East and Mediterranean Studies from King’s College London. His early professional experience includes working for the United Nations in New York and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in