Our hat is in the ring. The new Y4WC plans for CITES CoP18.


There is just one week to go until the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). After a year of project planning, our strategies and objectives have been formed, the funds raised, 2600+ applications read, delegates assembled, logistics booked, visas obtained and policy positions discussed.

It is the 12th and final round, and we feel like the wildlife Rocky Balboa.

*Insert training montage here


Our Plans round by round:

  • Hosting an in-person Youth Delegation

  • New Breakfast Side Event

  • Wider Engagement with the Global Network


When the CITES CoP18 was postponed due to the tragic events in Sri Lanka, we have to admit, we considered not hosting a Y4WC delegation at this event at all (read our statement from April). We were on the ropes. But, knowing how important this project is to catalysing the engagement and empowerment of early-career conservationists in policy and practice - as well as this being the very first-time youth are formally represented at CITES - we knew throwing in the towel was not an option. So we rolled with the punches and followed our wild relatives, adapted and evolved our initial program and have broken it down for you:

Hosting an in-person Youth Delegation

*Insert ring entrance music (Eye of the Tiger by Survivor obviously)

After a tumultuous summer, we are pleased to announce that on Friday the 17th on August, Y4WC delegates from across the world will be heading Geneva, Switzerland. They’re ready to make their debut and take in the discussions and negotiations at the CITES CoP18. This new generation of wildlife policy makers and practitioners will collectively explore the processes, issues and conservation solutions surrounding wildlife trade and trafficking from their own perspectives and personal experiences. They will learn the ins and outs of how international policy making relates to their work and lives in their own communities.

Unfortunately, because of the last-minute change in location as well as capacity restrictions (welcome to the world of NGO start-ups) we regret that we cannot take all the original 20 selected delegates to the CoP in person with us. The Y4WC delegation will consist of seven international delegates and four early-career staff members. Still, we are working closely with all 20 delegates and will ensure they are all engaged in the discussions and empowered with new knowledge and skills to contribute to the protection of wild animals from unsustainable trade. The seven in-person delegates were selected from the original 20 based on their availability and initial applications.


New Breakfast Side Event

There is an added opportunity for networking as CITES attendees and representatives will have the chance to meet and hear from our delegates during our breakfast side event ‘Showcasing the next generation of conservation leaders’.

Yes you read that right. It is a breakfast side event, which we know is a little unconventional, but after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

18th August
08:00 - 09:00 am
Room W

Free coffee and breakfast will be served.

Y4WC side event 4 (2).png

Wider Engagement with the Global Network

The first rule of Y4WC at CITES is: you talk about Y4WC at CITES.

To engage, our delegates, and also our entire global network, we will be sharing key information on our digital platforms and asking our network their opinion on selected topics of conservation. We will have a blow-by-blow account of the Y4WC experience at CITES CoP18, allowing everyone in the Y4WC network a ringside seat to the discussions and negotiations.

Over the duration of the CoP, our team and delegates will take a deeper look at specific species and strategic matters to help build the understanding around CITES and how international discussions relate to practical conservation efforts at a national and local level.

We aim to promote a culture of ongoing peer-to-peer support, knowledge sharing, and collaboration in order to better protect both animals and people from the impacts of unsustainable wildlife trade.

#CITESCoP18 #IamY4WC #StayWild

See you in Geneva.

Ding, Ding, Ding!

Josephine CrouchCITES, CoP18, youth