AWF Co-convenes the Second African Youth Summit on Biodiversity Seeking Sustainable Innovations
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This week, the Second Edition African Youth Summit on Biodiversity (AYSB2023) marked the commencement of an exciting and vital gathering that sought to empower young leaders across Africa in the realm of biodiversity conservation. Organized by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network - Africa (GYBN Africa), in partnership with esteemed organizations such as the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the Moroccan Youth Biodiversity Network, the Moroccan Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, and the EU Post2020 Project of Expertise France, the summit promised to make a lasting impact on the future of biodiversity in the region.
The theme, "From Awareness to Action: Empowering African Youth for Biodiversity Conservation," underlines the summit's mission to move beyond mere awareness-raising and inspire concrete, tangible youth-led actions that contribute to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. This event couldn't have come at a more crucial time, as the world grapples with the urgent need to address biodiversity loss and the global climate crisis. Drawing from global experts who effortlessly expounded on the African context and opportunity to have people-centered solutions that are both sustainable and practical was well received by the African youth that joined the sessions physically in Morocco alongside the hundreds that joined virtually from across the globe.
In his opening remarks, AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya emphasized, “At the African Wildlife Foundation, we recognize African youth as pivotal change agents and leaders in realizing the 2063 Agenda of the African Union Commission and the 2050 vision of the Convention on Biological Diversity. We believe that it is only through the creation of a robust African conservation movement, driven by your collective efforts, that we can ensure the long-term conservation of wildlife on this continent.”
The summit's objectives align with its theme, emphasizing the need to increase awareness about the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and support African youth in designing innovative projects to implement its targets. One of the key highlights was the project pitches that AWF primarily supported alongside development partners who awarded the three finalists.
“I am so happy to have won the first prize from African youth biodiversity conservation,” Folepe Azemo Esther Arnaude from Academie d'Art Oratoire Cameroon shared. “This prize is not only an achievement for the organization I represent, but also the beginning of our long journey in participating in the conservation and protection of our dear planet. Climate change concerns us all and we should all act together to see meaningful change.”
The summit also aimed at elevating African youth participation in biodiversity conservation decision-making processes, and the creation of a project booklet featuring ten innovative youth-led projects aimed at implementing the GBF targets is a step in the right direction. This is a clear indication that the youth remain unafraid to move from paper to action, providing tangible and well-contextualized solutions that will push us closer to achieving the AU Agenda 2063 goals. The impact of this roadmap has the potential to be far-reaching, as it could shape the future of conservation efforts in Africa.
“Reflecting on the three-day hybrid second African Youth Summit on Biodiversity that concluded yesterday, I am inspired by the dedication and passion of the youth who came together to champion our planet's precious ecosystems. Their commitment to biodiversity conservation reminds us that the future lies in our hands. We call on society to nurture our ideas, empower our actions, and pave the way for a sustainable Africa,” Prisca Daka, GYBN Africa regional co-coordinator, shared.
The African Youth Summit on Biodiversity 2023 represents a significant step forward in mobilizing the youth of Africa to take concrete action for biodiversity conservation. By empowering young voices and fostering collaboration among passionate individuals, this summit has the potential to be a catalyst for transformative change. As AYSB2023 continues, we eagerly anticipate the innovative projects and strategies that will emerge, leaving a lasting legacy for the conservation of Africa's rich biodiversity.