Our Work In
Latin America and the Caribbean
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The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region hosts many of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. Its unique ecosystems range from the coral reefs in the Caribbean to the frozen regions of the Patagonia, the Amazonian rainforest to the Andean mountains, and more.
Biodiversity in this region faces a lot of threats and anthropogenic pressures. Illegal deforestation is increasing, mining activities continuously pollute air and freshwater sources at alarming rates, and oil extraction plans are targeting protected areas and indigenous territories.
In this complex scenario, it is crucial to involve youth organizations and committed young individuals in the design and implementation of biodiversity protection policies at the national levels, especially because most of the governments in the LAC region lack the technical capacities and financial resources to fulfill their environmental-related commitments like the Aichi targets.
To help reach this goal, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) dedicated a Regional Workshop to the LAC region, to work on the capacity-building of young leaders in biodiversity and the development of partnerships between like-minded youth organizations that are already working on biodiversity issues. The workshop took place at the Humboldt Institute in Bogotá, Colombia, and brought together 30 youth leaders from all over the LAC region.
A core outcome from the GYBN LAC workshop is the organization of new GYBN national chapters. GYBN Mexico, which started in 2016 at the CBD COP-13, worked on the analysis of proposing the Mexico Biodiversity Law, involving 105 young people from 14 provinces to present a common position paper to Mexican legislators. Inspired by this, youth leaders from Centro Urbes decided to establish GYBN Perú in order to enhance youth efforts to tackle biodiversity challenges at national and local levels. There was similar interest from Paraguay, where the team from Organizacion Paraguaya de Conservacion y Desarrollo Sostenible has been working on getting into contact with the Paraguayan government’s CBD Focal Point and the technical group in charge of the Paraguay NBSAP. Also, the representatives from Engajamundo in Brazil decided to advance their biodiversity work by translating the GYBN Guidebook to the CBD processes, CBD in a Nutshell, into Portuguese and expanding their network in Brazil.
This is one of the first steps towards the development of a regional youth network for biodiversity protection in the LAC region. More needs to be done, but the results of these days of discussion and the commitments of the workshop participants is an indicator that gives us young people in GYBN optimism to keep working on youth engagement within the region.