African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in partnership with Friends of Nature (FON) held the first China-Africa Virtual Youth Dialogue on August 28, 2020. The theme of the dialogue was ‘Building a future where human and natural biodiversity can peacefully co-exist.’ Over 150 young people showed interest in participating but only 50 were shortlisted to create a balanced discussion between the two regions.
The key objective of the dialogue was to build the capacity of the youth on best and sustainable conservation practices and elevate their understanding of Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) processes.
“With the youth comprising 60 percent of Africa’s population, they are best suited to be agents of change. You, the youth, are at risk of being affected in the long term by the outcomes of the current environmental and sociopolitical situation,” AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya highlighted as he delivered the opening remarks at the event.
AWF has committed to mobilizing African and Chinese youth perspectives towards the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. It is impossible to ignore the integral role that China already plays in the economic growth of the continent and this engagement needs to be centered on sustainable development practices.
“Young people are the most vital protectors of biodiversity. They are the future decision-makers and practitioners in the field of biodiversity conservation in the next thirty years. Young people have profound significance in the formulation and implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and the 2021-2030 Global Biodiversity targets,” said Zhang Boju, Executive Director of FON.
In the small groups, the Chinese and African youth leaders discussed various topical issues including sustainable wildlife trade, the threats facing natural protected areas and habitats of wild animals, as well as indigenous people and local communities, environmental education, and ecotourism. They also shared personal experiences and lessons learned from their countries and the future they are currently working towards building.
About Friends of Nature
Friends of Nature (FON) is the oldest environmental NGO in China. We have been working for over a decade to promote environmental awareness about China's most pressing environmental problems. In particular, we have focused on protecting endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope and the snub-nosed monkey; environmental education through camps, field trips, and most importantly, teacher-training; and awareness-raising campaigns such as photo exhibitions and publications.
About African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands.