According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report, wildlife populations worldwide have plummeted by 69 percent since 1970. This figure reaches even more alarming rates of up to 94 percent biodiversity loss in regions scarred by extractivism as a driving economic force, such as Latin America and the Caribbean. As emphatically highlighted by experts and activists for the past three decades, these losses are extremely distressing for the future of nature and security of basic human rights.
To address this, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), established in 1992, will meet for its 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Montreal this month, bringing with it high expectations for its expected adoption of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the core purpose of which is to mainstream biodiversity into national development plans and achieve long-term biodiversity conservation. Yet the question remains: Will countries commit strongly enough to addressing the biodiversity crisis?
Youth movements such as the Global Youth Biodiversity Network have played a key role in the construction of the new framework and are expected to occupy important decision-making spaces in the process of its implementation. And so, in this special CBD COP15 GLF Live, we brought together young biodiversity experts and activists to hear their expectations for the upcoming negotiations, the framework’s implementation, and potential alternative pathways for protecting the variety of life on Earth.
Jessica Micklem-Kolenic has been volunteering as an environmental youth activist in European and international biodiversity policy spaces as the co-founder of the European Chapter of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network. Now she works as youth officer for the EUROPARC Federation, Europe’s largest network of protected areas where she supports the administration and implementation of various youth activities across all of EUROPARC’s activities.
Aiita Joshua Apamaku is a wildlife biologist, writer and researcher from Uganda. He is a senior fellow at Gapeli, a global youth-centered knowledge sharing platform on global health and environmental conservation and awareness. He has volunteered as the Uganda chapter coordinator and member of the Global Youth Parliament. Joshua holds a bachelor’s of science in wildlife health and management from Makerere University.
Xiomara Acevedo is an environmental activist and founder of the NGO Barranquilla+20, which has mobilized more than 8,000 youth to execute campaigns related to biodiversity, water, climate change and environmental education. Under her direction, the group has fought to preserve and defend the local Mallorquin wetland from development and pollution. She holds a degree from the Universidad del Norte in international relations with emphasis on international law and a specialization in climate change and cities.
Pedro (Pê) Magalhães (moderator) is a social scientist, development practitioner and an ecossocialist activist from the Brazilian Savannah’s Cerrado ecosystem. In his career, he has amassed experience in political ecology, social protection, community building and knowledge management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Brasília (UnB) and a master’s in Development Management from the Rühr University Bochum (RUB), having focused his studies on agrarian social movements and the financial inclusion of agroecological producers. He is currently the Youth in Landscapes Network Intern for Latin America and the Caribbean at the GLF and the coordinator of the GLF LAC Project Team.
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