What is it all about?
Unlike other Conventions CITES did not have any formal youth platform or youth representation. 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. Y4WC aims on hosting more youth forums ahead of each CoP and are present at certain Standing Committee meetings to advocate for youth empowerment and engagement, and to educate on and push for the best wildlife conservation policy and grassroots practices. We encourage parties and organizations and work alongside us to achieve this aim.
Y4WC promotes youth engagement and empowerment within policy making processes at the international level. We aim to bridge the gap between existing and future policy makers and grassroots conservationists so a new generation of doers and thinkers can contribute to effective policy and management of wildlife that translates to practical, grassroot conservation efforts on the ground.
Finally, we invite Parties and the CITES Secretariat to work alongside us to achieve these aims.
With the generous support of the CITES Secretariat, the governments of the United States and South Africa, a Youth Resolution was introduced by one of our founding Youth Delegates during the CITES CoP17. In this resolution (Resolution Conf. 17.5) we called upon parties to acknowledge that today’s youth will one day be in decision-making positions and that we as youth, coming of age in a generation different to those before it, can contribute different skills and opinions to wildlife conservation today to ensure that wildlife trade is legal and sustainable. We encourage Parties and observer organizations to include youth delegates on official delegations and provide learning opportunities during CITES meetings.
Photos taken during CITES Cop17 and the Youth Forum VIP Event in Johannesburg, South Africa September 2016
Decisions in CITES are collectively made by Parties to CITES at the international level. At the national level, some Parties have established mechanisms to solicit public comments on draft amendment proposals and resolutions for consideration at meetings of the Conference of the Parties. Youth and youth organizations should take advantage of such opportunities and Parties should also alert the youth of such opportunities. 23. The Secretariat is of the opinion that, due to the complexity of the Convention, the youth will benefit from some guidance from Parties on the basics of the Convention. For example, youth should be made aware that science and rule of law are the backbone of the Convention in its decision-making process as they participate in CITES meetings
We call upon parties to acknowledge that today’s youth will one day be in decision-making positions and so governments and organizations responsible for wildlife conservation decisions must engage these young people now to equip them to be stronger leaders for our 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 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.