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German youth delegation joins United Nations Conference on Biodiversity in Mexico

Biodiversity – which is the basis for all goods and services nature provides to our well being keeps being degraded and lost at an unprecedented rate. According to WWF Living Planet Report (2016) animal populations have declined 58% since 1970, apart from that, we have been witnessing several critical biodiversity loss events that can compromise the livelihoods of millions: the 2015-2016 global mass coral bleaching event – the third ever recorded – may be the longest and most intense in history, impacting reefs from Hawaii to the Great Barrier Reef, and those of South East Asia and Africa (NOAA, 2016).

In order to address this, policy-makers across the globe convened at the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD is the main international treaty for countries to agree on global commitments to conserve biodiversity, use it sustainably and promote the fair access to benefits coming from genetic resources.

Within the NAJU project “Voice For Biodiv” six young people have been selected to participate in this meeting from December 4th-17th 2016 in Cancun, Mexico, as part of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network international youth delegation. GYBN is the international youth coordination platform for the CBD.

During their mission at the COP-13, Anne, Franzi, Gerrit, Marco, Thiemo and Zarah follow political negotiations in which governments and civil society come together to make important decisions related to biodiversity. In Cancun they are accompanied by NAJU officer Manuel.

Prior to their attendance the 6 delegates familiarized themselves at three preparation meetings with the topics being discussed at CBD COP to be well prepared. They also consider themselves as ambassadors for the important issue of the protection of biodiversity, they state: “The loss of biodiversity is increasing due to human activities. We are the generation that has to deal with the consequences in the future. Therefore we have to raise people’s attention for the protection of biodiversity both in a local and a global context.” The theme for this COP is ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-Being’, which means integrating biodiversity concerns and policies into strategies and planning process in all other productive sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, etc.

The meeting takes place at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, and has the presence of international and national authorizes from several countries and organisations. Together with their GYBN colleagues from all over the world they want to remind politicians and representatives of the several NGOs what the purpose of the CBD is and that it is urgently needed to take a step further: “We have to take action now if we want to halt the extinction of species. The strategies are already made up, now it comes to the crucial point of implementation.”

Within the project, which is being supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany, the German youth delegates report on their experiences in Cancun on NAJU-facebook, NAJU-instagram and their blog.