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Can Youth Halt the Loss of Biodiversity?

As we come to the end of the 2011-2020 decade on biodiversity, we have to acknowledge that still the rate of environmental damage is increasing.

At the end of The strategic plan of the convention on biological diversity (CBD) which comprise of 20 Aichi Biodiversity targets in 2020, it is expected to adopt the New Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

So far the commitments and actions towards environmental conservation have been promising and controlling the loss but requires a significant step up in commitment, and build synergies in both policy making and implementation. Despite the conventions, agreements, frameworks and legislations we have to acknowledge that much of the failure to mitigate bio diversity loss to date is due failure to implement the decisions. Therefore, it’s a time that we should double the efforts to tackle global biodiversity loss cause or else it would become the Earth’s sixth mass extinction on the coming years.

The post 2020 will allow countries to make innovative strategies and approaches for conservation and to focus on setting an agenda after 2020 ensuring harmony with nature. Furthermore, to make strategies learning from the current strategic plans/ goals will cause to establish a long term conservation commitment in order to Halt the loss of biodiversity and climate change. Thus to reassemble, reform and align with national level policy frameworks, identify the major shifts in environmental sciences and come up with a new agenda to abate the biodiversity crisis.

On the face of 4th industrial revolution it is utmost important to adopt widespread systems of social and environmental protection to ensure sustainability. In fact, the 4th IR and global developments have begun to affect civic at all levels but young people are the ones whom will face the direct consequences in future. Therefore, young people have a crucial role to advocate, embark and provide recommendations on adapting the shifts in technology and industry whilst ensuring sustainability.

Young people’s interests are often disregarded in public policy. Often their concerns are less heard, less respected and treated as baby boomers whom are capable of nothing. The refusal of adults to join hands with the millennials; presumptions of their intellectual capacity, insignificance of experience has broken down bridges and distract them from effective dialogue. Young people cannot engage meaningfully in the decision making processes if they are isolated from consultation, policy formulation and policy implementation through which decisions are made. But this is a time for bold, innovative approaches, concrete solutions, even radical thinking so that there will be a wider discussion and brainstorming between the generations.

Young people have different needs priorities and aspirations that need to be hard. But this demand is a profound challenge to many contexts across the globe. Placing young people as protagonists in the exercise of rights and engaging in policy making will share the ownership with them. This sense of ownership makes the young people credible and accountable to stick to the decisions that they made on behalf of youth and environment thus to implement each on the ground.

Engaging young people in Post 2020 Biodiversity plan will secure holistic responses over standalone responses which would create an optimum impact for young people and bio diversity. Giving the agency and power relations to young people would build a general culture of respect for young people specially marginalized young people. Mainstreaming young people in post 2020 biodiversity targets will facilitate young people to establish transparent mechanisms to hold the governments accountable and credible for these coming challenges and consequences.

Young people born with and can also share their vision for a robust framework to ensure biological diversity conservation. It brings policy formulation process to reach a wider constituency whereas youth and civic are meaningfully engaged. IUCN has also recognized the need for increasing commitments from parties and stakeholders, increase a sense of responsibility, accountability and commitment from parties and stakeholders for implementation without hindering national sovereignty. This addition of a youth lens to post 2020 action plan will be key moment to assess the policy impact, review and evaluate the most and least productive approaches. Eventually it will strengthen and prioritize commitments for ecosystem restoration and coherence and achieve the vision for 2050.


Wathsaridu Karunarathna – Sri Lanka


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