+So, what is Y4WC?
In its most simplist form Youth for Wildlife Conservation is a global network of early-career conservationists.
As on organization 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.
See more at About Y4WC
+ 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.
Through our platforms, events, programs and campaigns 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.
+ Why did you create Y4WC, what is the need?
Over half the world's population is under the age of 30 😮! Look at all the potential there is out there for these young people to get inspired, protect and conserve our wildlife and work for a more sustainable planet! But, if not given the proper network, tools and support this generation, our planet and it's wonderful wildlife will suffer. Therefore, Y4WC was created to provide that network, those tools and the much needed support for early-career consevationsts. It was created by early-career conservationsts for early-career conservations and their youth-led conservation projects worldwide to increase their visibility, funding opportunities and overall capacities.
There is also the need to address the lack of youth participation in international decision making conventions. We as young conservationists will be future policy makers, advocates, researchers and experts in the field of wildlife conservation and the international trade of endangered species. It is imperitive that we are engaged, educated and empowerd now for the present and the future of wildlife conservation.
By building a network of 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.
+ Do you work with younger children, what do you mean by youth?
We get this all the time, and we get it, the term 'youth' can be confusing. No we do not work with younger children, there are many great groups that do - even within our own network - but, like a lot of countries, Y4WC defines youth as 18-30 years of age.
+ So are there any age restrictions?
Whilst our programs are aimed at those between the ages of 18 and 30, anyone can sign up to be a part of our network and take advantage of our resources. We recognize that the inspiration to protect wildlife or even start a career in wildlife conservation can happen at any age. And if you are a teen just starting to dip your toe in to the complex world of Wildlife Conservation (in particular the issues surrounding trade and trafficking of endangered species) we hope our network of conservationsts can inspire you and help guide you down the right path (in just a few years you will be in the same position as us, doing amazing things in the world for wildlife and communities).
+ What is your affiliation with CITES?
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.
+ 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 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.
+ What is your relationship with IFAW?
The International Fund for Animal Welfare were the organizers behind the first Youth forum for people and wildlife where Y4WC was born. They have been very supportive of us in our start-up phase and we do have a personal connection with them and their staff. We thank them for all their support and now Y4WC is as an entirely separate entity we work with multiple advisors, NGOs, Governments and youth groups across the world. 🌎 👍