March 3rd 2017
After many months brain-storming about how we will celebrate World Wildlife Day (a day that marks the adoption of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) as a network,
we're so proud of what our WWD media campaign has achieved.
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! [ add WWD listen to youth voices poster]
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 sent in videos of them expressing what they do, as well as 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! [ put 3 min video]
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. Swetha and Knowledge (our youth representatives from Asia and Africa respectively) would both be panelists addressing how to promote youth involvement in tackling wildlife crime. Sadly, due to difficulties in obtaining a visa, Knowledge from Zimbabwe was not able to join us on this special day.
Josephine and I, as coordinators of our WWD campaign, arrived in New York a few days before, excited to showcase the diversity of voices youth can bring to the table. As Swetha prepared a youth statement calling parties and the CITES Secretariat to action, we prepared the best we could for what was our very first trip to the UN New York HQ.
A core belief of Y4WC is that 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.