What are the CBD and COP?
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is responsible for the conservation of biological diversity all around the world. The Conference of Parties (COP) forms the governing body which through negotiations and discussions on goals and targets ensure effective implementation. This year, 2022, will see the 15th meeting of the COP, jointly run by the Governments of Canada, Quebec and China to make important decisions on biodiversity conservation.
Why is CBD COP15 important?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES,2019 ) Report, has given us the evidence that over 1 million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction. This has been compared to the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs and nearly 76% of all species. The only difference between the previous mass extinction and the one we are witnessing currently is humans. Human beings are driving the present (sixth) mass extinction, leading to a collapse of ecosystems, extinction of species, resulting in an ecological crisis which is happening on a much smaller timescale (decades) than Earth has ever experienced. The COP15 in Montreal, Canada will set the tone for the next decade, referred to as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), after the inability of Aichi targets to stop the ongoing crisis effectively. The targets and plans discussed and agreed upon during the 13 days of negotiations (from 7 to 19 December) will decide how our planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems should be conserved. This is critical as we cannot afford to have a weak Post-2020 GBF that will not help us conserve our biodiversity the way it should be, enabling it to thrive for generations to come.
Youth participation at COP
About 1.2 billion people (16% of the world) are within the age group of 15–24 and 52% are below the age of 30. These numbers make it clear on how a majority of the population “youth” will be at the receiving end of unplanned and ineffective decisions all the while not being able to represent themselves. The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) is the official youth group to the UNCBD that ensures that, through capacity building, workshops and sessions, the concerns and voices of the youth are brought to the negotiating table. GYBN aims to ensure that youth decisions and priorities are reflected in the goals and targets and that youth remain a key stake/right holder (along with indigenous communities women and children) in the conservation of our biodiversity. We hope that our efforts in Montreal, a city known for effective and powerful strikes/marches, will help turn the tide.
Events Planned by GYBN
The Global Youth Biodiversity Network has planned several events that will take place during the whole duration of Open Ended Working Group 5 (OEWG5) and COP15. The goal of all these events is to mobilize youth, build capacity and to represent youth voices at these international platforms. Here is a list of all the events that GYBN is organizing:
Youth Summit (from 5–6 December 2022), to prepare youth for COP15.
Youth March (10 December 2022), to march for justice for biodiversity.
Youth Pavilion (8–18 December 2022), showcasing several events by youth and other partners.
Youth Day (8 & 18 December, 2022), showcasing several events that will celebrate youth and be a platform to put forth their views/concerns.
Youth Exhibition, highlighting the work done by all national chapters and GYBN members who have worked tirelessly for biodiversity conservation and youth engagement since 2012.
GYBN side events at COP15, stay tuned to get more information on the side events that GYBN will organize along with other partners.