14 August 2017

South Africa: Environmental Affairs On Global Youth in Biodiversity Network Workshop

press release

Young conservationists from 18 countries gather in Gauteng for the first Global Youth in Biodiversity Network in Africa workshop

Youth from 18 African countries working in the field of conservation and protection of biodiversity are attending the first Global Youth in Biodiversity Network (GYBN) in Africa workshop in Muldersdrift, Gauteng, to exchange ideas and find possible solutions to preventing biodiversity loss.

The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) is an international network of youth organisations and individuals from all over the world, established in 2010, to work towards the common goal to prevent the loss of biodiversity.

The network, which is the official youth coordination platform in the negotiations under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), raises awareness amongst young people on the values of biodiversity, and connects individuals and youth organisations in order to build a global coalition to halt the effects of climate change on the environment. GYBN represents 343 000 members from 107 countries worldwide.

Co-founder of the GYBN, Christian Schwarzer, said: "It is great to be in South Africa and to see all the energy and creativity of the young people that we have here at the workshop. I hope that this workshop will help the youth to go back to their communities and to become the agents of change that we need in support of the conservation of biodiversity.

We hope that we show to governments that young people can make a difference and can become partners for biodiversity conservation."

The week-long GYBN in Africa workshop in Muldersdrift brings together youth from, amongst others, Morocco, Sudan, Kenya, Ghana, Togo and South Africa, to empower young people to become change agents in support of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the mainstreaming of Biodiversity.

The choice of South Africa as the venue for the first GYBN in Africa underscores the country's position among the most biodiverse in the world, as is the case in most countries in Africa.

The GYBN in Africa is one of a number "Youth Voices" workshops being hosted worldwide to build regional capacity by bringing together young leaders that work on Biodiversity issues in the region. During the workshops, the participants learn about the CBD-process, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) and the importance of mainstreaming Biodiversity into other sectors.

The participants will also have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge about project management, effective communication, advocacy work and fundraising. Each would then develop their own small projects and campaigns that will directly contribute to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

The workshop is a platform for exchange and dialogue between young leaders and experts from NGOs, governments, subnational and other authorities as well as local communities and indigenous peoples to allow young people to discover and understand different perspectives.

"South Africa believes that young people are not just the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today. The youth, therefore, have a central role in ensuring biodiversity protection. In achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the role of the youth is critical," said the Chief Director: Protected Areas and Systems Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs, Ms Skumsa Mancotywa.

The National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) by South Africa is the government's blueprint for sustaining the growth of the wildlife and bioprospecting industries by providing a basis for addressing constraints for growth in the sector; outline stakeholder responsibilities; and monitor progress with regard to Transformative Enabling Interventions.

The Bioprospecting and Biotrade markets, and the wildlife sectors, have the protential to contribute billions of Rands to the economy, through the development and sale of products derived from our natural resources, and the sustainable utilisation of wildlife.

The delegates will develop a Roadmap on how to develop the GYBN in Africa and South Africa in order to ensure conservation is not only addressed at heritage level, but also addresses socio-economic perspectives by ensuring natural resources play a development role in Africa and South Africa.

For media inquiries contact:

Moses Rannditsheni

Cell: 082 448 2450

Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs

South Africa

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