+ Eeerm .... so what is Y4WC?
In its most simplist form Youth for Wildlife Conservation is a global network of early-career conservationists.
Our mission is to support early-career conservationists by empowering them to become catalysts for change in their communities and the future conservation leaders the world needs.
+ What does Y4WC do?
As an organization, Y4WC promotes youth engagement and leadership within policymaking processes at the international level, most notably the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
We aim to facilitate an international network of peer to peer support and recognition, provide leadership and skills development resources and promote the sharing of diverse experiences, opinions and perspectives on the often complex issues of wildlife Conservation.
+ What is your affiliation with CITES?
Unlike other Conventions CITES does not have any formal youth platform or youth representation ….. yet. But, during CoP17 with the generous support of the CITES Secretariat, the governments of the United States and South Africa and IFAW, the inaugural Youth forum for people and wildlife was held and a Youth Resolution was introduced by one of our Youth Delegates.
It is one of the aims of Y4WC to push forward this resolution and to engage the next generation of conservation leaders and policy makers into the global policy making process that is CITES. We encourage parties and organizations and work alongside us to achieve this aim.
+ Why did you create Y4WC, what is the need?
Y4WC was created by the need for early-career conservations and their youth-led conservation projects worldwide to increase their visibility, funding opportunities and overall capacities.
By building a network and investing in early-career conservationists, Y4WC aims to give them the support, recognition and skills they need to advance their careers and take their conservation projects to scale. Y4WC is building a supportive network of strong, capable, future conservation leaders, allowing them to envisage a long and successful career in conservation, working for communities and wildlife around the world.
There is also the need to address the lack of youth participation in the international decision making conventions. These young conservationists will be future policy makers, advocates, researchers and experts …... To engage, educate and empower them now.
+ What do you want to see when it comes to CITES and youth engagement?
We call upon parties to acknowledge that today’s youth will one day be in decision-making positions and that organizations responsible for wildlife conservation decisions must engage these people now to equip them to be stronger leaders in the future. Youth around the world are already creating positive impacts for wildlife conservation and by pairing the energy and innovation of young minds with the wisdom that comes with experience, we can offer a rich diversity of ideas and solutions to decision makers. We therefore invite parties and the CITES Secretariat to work with us, universities, youth groups, and other relevant organizations to create educated and engaged youth networks that can inform and influence conservation decisions, and we invite Parties and observer organizations to work with us to include youth delegates on official delegations and provide learning opportunities at CITES meetings.
+ What is your relationship with IFAW?
The International Fund for Animal Welfare have been very supportive of us in our start-up phase and we do have a personal connection with them and their staff as they were the ones that held the Youth Forum in South Africa, but, as an organization Y4WC is a separate entity and works with multiple advisors, NGOs, Governments and youth groups across the world.
+ Experts have been dealing with these issues for years, why do you think you can make a difference?
Chaanging World New Enery and new ideas If we are to succeed we must fully harness the innovation and the energy of youth and combine it with the wisdom that comes with experience.