Amidst the mist and fog surrounding the ancient mountains of Pyeongchang in Korea, a beautiful youth movement has been getting ready to shine its light once again as it contributes towards protecting biodiversity for the coming generations. This youth movement comes under the family name of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN).
GYBN is an international network of youth organisations and individuals from all over the world whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. As the official major group for youth in the negotiations under the CBD, GYBN aims to represent the voice of global youth in the negotiations under the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Moreover, it aims to raise awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity in addition to connecting individuals and youth organisations, in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.
GYBN’s Youth Delegation filled with the spirit of the Korean Tigers during their Preparatory Meeting the day before the official opening of COP-12
The idea of creating an international youth network to link young people in preserving of biodiversity immersed in 2008, however it wasn’t until the Tenth Conference of Parties (COP-10) in 2010 that youth came together to announce their interest in starting a Global Youth Biodiversity Network.
GYBN was officially established at a conference hosted by NAJU in Berlin, Germany, which brought together 36 youth representing various organisations from 22 countries in August 2012. One of the many valuable outcomes of this conference was a position paper for the CBD COP-11, which was hosted in Hyderabad. Two years down the line, GYBN had established a strong presence especially following the Montreal talks, which took place last June 2014. Four months later, within the short time since its establishment, GYBN succeeded in bringing together a youth delegation consisting of a representative from every inhabited continent to the CBD COP-12 negotiations for the first time.
On the first day, despite the cold temperatures in Pyeongchang, the youth meeting room radiated with warmth erupting from the team’s excitement as they commenced their preparatory meeting for COP-12. The CBD framework and decision making process was discussed followed by an overview of the COP-12 agenda items and working groups. The team was treated to inspiring and wise words on how can youth influence the CBD process from a group of amazing panelists including Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana - the South African delegate, Mr. Horst Korn – the SBSTTA German Focal Point and Ms. Chantal Robichaud – a member of the Secretariat.
Right to left: Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana, Ms. Chantal Robichaud and Mr. Horst Korn
The team also worked on defining youth positions on various topics along with their strategy plan for COP-12 that covers various aspects such as interventions, campaigns, side events, press conferences and much more. After a long day of team building and educational sessions along with discussions around members personal goals and GYBN goals during COP-12, and ways to achieve them; the generous Korean Council for Biological Diversity (KCBD) treated the team to a delicious Korean traditional style dinner. As the night took over and temperatures dropped lower, the team’s excitement soared as they looked forward to all that is to be experienced and gained in the next two weeks.