Y4WC at the UN HQ IN New York celebrating WWD2017
We the youth, might not have as much experience or skills, but we provide a unique perspective.
By Swetha Stotra Bhashyam - 3rd of March 2017
Let me give you some context first: World Wildlife Day is observed on the 3rd of March every year, with events organized all over the world. This year's theme was "Listen to the Young Voices" As a youth organization catalyzed by our common love for wildlife, it was only natural for us to want to create our own virtual event by using social media!
When we were approached by the CITES Secretariat and shared our media campaign initiative, we had no idea it would be such a success. Members of the network from China, Uzbekistan, Peru and many more shared why they think it's important for youth voices to be heard. What resulted was a genuine and honest call for youth to be more involved, expressed in many languages. A real illustration of youth's eagerness and readiness to be involved in decisions affecting our world's wildlife!
After becoming official partners of WWD, our video was to become the official PSA for the day. Additionally, we had - thanks to the CITES Secretariat - the opportunity to participate in the United Nations General Assembly WWD event held in New York. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a youth panelist addressing how to promote youth involvement in tackling wildlife crime!
It is a well-known fact that over half of the world’s population is under thirty. Children and youth will be most negatively affected by the loss of wildlife and it will be our responsibility to manage these challenges in the future. However, when it comes to young people’s contribution to wildlife conservation, we see two very different pictures: On one hand, studies have shown that awareness and personal responsibility towards wildlife conservation is shockingly low among children and youth. On the other hand, thousands of young people all around the world are taking action to conserve, protect wildlife and their habitats. This is where Y4WC's core belief comes from: the world should ‘Listen to the young voices’ not simply because youth are underrepresented in conservation and international conventions, but because we are already making positive impacts in our communities and may have new solutions and perspectives on conservation matters.
We applaud the first step taken by CITES and its parties in the adoption of the first ever Resolution on Youth Engagement during the COP17 in South Africa. We urge parties and the CITES Secretariat to take the next step by working with universities, youth groups, and other relevant associations and organizations such as Y4WC to engage youth in wildlife conservation efforts.