The Journey That Led to Our Formation
The idea of establishing an international youth network to link young people interested in preserving biodiversity has existed earlier than 2008, and was raised by numerous youth at various events through many organizations. In October 2010, many of these passionate young people came together at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to officially announce their interest in starting the Global Youth Biodiversity Network.
2008 – Biodiversity on the Edge
The idea of creating a platform for youth participation at the UNCBD was a matter of discussion among the participants of the Biodiversity on the Edge international youth conference which was hosted in Bonn, Germany from May 13th to 19th, 2008. It brought together 60 participants from 25 countries. Representatives presented a youth declaration during the opening ceremony of the 2008 UN Biodiversity Summit, calling upon the 6400 delegates and ministers at COP-9 to bring nature and ecosystems back into balance and to include biodiversity issues in the curricula of all schools. It was the first time young people were given the floor during a UNCBD COP. The conference was organized by NAJU.
2009 – Asian Youth Conference on Biodiversity
The Asian Youth Conference on Biodiversity was organized by the Japanese Ministry for the Environment with the theme of “Maintenance of Biodiversity in the Asian region and its sustainable use”. The conference took place in Nagoya, Japan from August 2nd to 6th, 2009. Seventy-nine participants from 13 Asian countries came together to network and discuss biodiversity. They developed a youth action plan and youth statement, as well as a plan for the establishment of an Asian Youth Network on Biodiversity.
2010 – International Youth Conference on Biodiversity
The goal of this conference, held by the Japanese Ministry of Environment, was to produce a Youth Statement as well as a Youth Action plan, building upon the outcomes of the Asian Youth Conference held the year before in 2009. One-hundred participants from 62 countries attended the conference held in Nagoya, Japan. A working group held at the conference developed a rough concept for Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) under the tentative name “Global Youth Biodiversity Organization”.
2009 – The second International Youth Symposium on Biodiversity
The second International Youth Symposium on Biodiversity was held in Ottawa, Canada from July 5th to 9th, 2009. The aim of this conference was to bring youth from around the world together to create the Youth Accord on Biodiversity, to be presented at COP-10 of the UNCBD as well as provide a platform to celebrate youth initiatives on biodiversity. It was attended by 100 young people from 10 countries. The Accord was later translated into 25 languages and received over 5000 signatures from 83 countries at COP-10. Guided by the vision “that biodiversity will be protected to sustain global ecosystems and life on our planet, now and in the future”, the Global Youth Accord was a pivotal youth action plan on biodiversity and called for the inclusion of youth in international decision-making processes. The conference was jointly organized by two Canadian youth NGOs: BiodiversityMatters and Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources (POWER).
2010 – European Youth Perspective Conference on Biodiversity
From July 1st to 6th in 2010, the YouPEC conference, organized by Jeugbond voor Natuur en Milieu (JNM), gathered 130 young people from 36 European countries in Olen, Belgium to discuss and learn about biodiversity. At the end of the conference, participants adopted a youth declaration, urging the European Union and its member states to significantly increase their efforts and resources to protect biological diversity, and to show strong leadership on both the European and the international level. In front of the European Commission in Brussels, this declaration was handed over to Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment who promised to take the concerns of young people into consideration.
2010 – UNCBD COP-10
The tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-10) took place in Nagoya, Japan, from October 18th to 29th. With 18,650 participants, COP-10 was the largest Biodiversity conference in the history of the United Nations. In preparation for this meeting, several youth who had attended the previous conferences met online to plan how they would make their vision for a participatory youth platform at the UNCBD a reality. These discussions culminated in a youth-held side event at COP-10 where the idea was unveiled.