Summary of GYBN’s First Week

The first week of the CBD COP12 talks has come to an end, its been hectic for our GYBN Team members who have been busy following the negotiations on various issues being discussed at this meeting.

Our GYBN delegation has within the short five days of the talks succeeded in delivering their opening statement at the opening plenary followed by interventions on each of the following items, namely: marine & coastal biodiversity, ecosystem conservation & restoration and stakeholder engagement (with particular focus on youth inclusion) in addition to submitting a written intervention on synthetic biology. Moreover, GYBN has sent an open letter to Mr. Martin Schulz the President of the European Parliament in regards to the next European Commission. The letter urges the EU to adopt certain recommended improvements to its next European commission’s structure and mandate.

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GYBN’s team members delivering their interventions at the negotiations

Moreover, GYBN has successfully launched its “Speaking for a Species” Campaign, which has witnessed a warm welcome by many. We were very pleased that the beautiful badges that has a photo of either a threatened or an endangered species, when presented to the delegates drew a smile on their faces. Of course, the first badge was presented to Dr. Braulio Dias, the Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

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GYBN members presenting the badges to the delegates

Moreover, our team members are currently working along side the CBD Alliance on preparing for the Dodo and Busy bee awards – which are two awards started by the two networks as a way used to recognise good work and shame poor work by governments participating in the negotiations. The Dodo award is usually awarded to countries obstructing biodiversity conservation whilst the Busy Bee is given to countries that take positive action. Moreover, our team has been busy updating GYBN’s social media accounts on both twitter and facebook in addition to keeping the blog posts coming! They have also been working with the CBD Alliance contributing towards putting together the ECO newsletter through translation and writing articles. Moreover, on Friday the 10th of October 2014, GYBN has launched its “GBO4 -Youth Voices” Project whereby it organised a successful side event bringing together youth voices from around the world that showcased examples of how youth globally are working on implementing and achieving the Aichi Targets.

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On the same day, Dr. Braulio Dias took time to meet with all youth delegates to discuss the role of youth in the negotiations along with answering many of our questions. Dressed in a traditional Korean costume, provided by our partners from KCBD, Dr. Dias said that “We need to change the attitude of people and it is good to start working with you.”

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As the first week of the negotiations came to an end our team headed towards Woljeongsa Temple, which is located within Mt. Odaesan National Park. The group was treated to the generous and overwhelming hospitality of the Koreans especially of the KCBD members who organised an unforgettable and priceless experience through the temple stay. The team witnessed the Odaesan Culture Festival, which kicked off on Saturday the 11th of October 2014 – also known as the culture & biodiversity day, the day also marked the 2014 Pyeongchang Buddhist Declaration for Life-Peace which was released to coincide with the CBD COP12 talks. The team spent the rest of the day in reflection and meditation as they immersed themselves in nature and all the benefits that come with it. Hiking through the mountains of the national park, experiencing a tea ceremony, listening to traditional Korean music which all contributed towards relaxing the mind and feeding the soul. The team made their way back to the convention this morning recharged and ready for what will be a hectic yet exciting second week!

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