GYBN’s Second Week at COP12

The current CBD negotiations in Pyeongchang are getting ready for a decrescendo as COP12 is nearing the end. On Monday (the 13th), the week began with a reminder from the COP President that the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the CBD came into force the day before – 12th of October 2014 – hence, declaring the start of the First Meeting of Parties to the Protocol (COP/MOP1). Following the official plenary, the negotiations divided into two working groups to discuss topics on financial mechanism, resource mobilization, global multilateral benefit-sharing mechanisms and cooperation with other conventions under the Nagoya Protocol along with compliance. The Nagoya Protocol offers a legal framework to ensure that the access and utilisation of genetic resources is fair and equitable under the basis of the ABS agreements. Moreover, prior consent is required from countries and communities that are providing such resources under the CBD – more than 50 parties are said to have ratified the Nagoya Protocol already.

High Level Panelists at the opening of the UNDB Day Celebration Ceremony
High Level Panelists at the opening of the UNDB Day Celebration Ceremony

Tuesday, the 14th of October 2014, marked the UN Decade on Biodiversity Day (UNDB Day), which was celebrated by the Japan Committee for the UNDB, the CBD Secretariat and other Partners. It aimed at focusing and showcasing the utilisation and promotion of the UNDB at both the global and national levels. In addition to contributing to the scale up of the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets whilst further elaborating on the Pyeongchang Roadmap 2020. GYBN was invited to contribute and participate to the panel, which consisted of high level delegates such as the CBD Executive Secretary Dr. Braulio, the Deputy Minister for Environment and Energy of the Maldives, the IUCN Secretariat along with a CITES representative and others.

GYBN’s Melina Sakiyama addressing delegates and COP12 participants at the COP12 UNDB Day
GYBN’s Melina Sakiyama addressing delegates and COP12 participants at the COP12 UNDB Day

Yesterday (Wednesday), the 15th of October 2014, marked the official opening of the High Level Segment that brought together Ministers and high profiled politicians to the talks. GYBN proudly presented its intervention and presentation at the High Level Segment on the importance of youth participation whilst introducing its “Youth Voices” project urging governments to partner with youth and not use lack of funding and resources as an excuse to not engage. We must say, we are so proud of our North & South Focal Points (Christian Schwarzer & Melina Sakiyama) who have both done a wonderful job representing global youth!!! Moreover, GYBN presented a 10-minute presentation explaining how the “Youth Voices” project intends on translating GBO4’s findings into understandable language for youth and other members of the public to connect and easily understand the messages. Furthermore, they spoke about how youth are contributing globally to achieving the Aichi Targets – GYBN proudly stated that for the first time, in the short time since their establishment, they have succeeded in bringing together a delegation team that has a representative from every inhibited to COP12.

GYBN’s Focal Points: Christian Schwarzer (Global North Focal Point) & Melina Sakiyama (Global South Focal Point)
GYBN’s Focal Points: Christian Schwarzer (Global North Focal Point) & Melina Sakiyama (Global South Focal Point)

Moreover, our team along with NAYU also met with the German Vice-Environmental Minister Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter along with Carsten Träger and Klaus-Peter Schulze (both members of the German Parliament) as well as Elsa Nickel and Nicola Breier from the German Ministry for the Environment whereby GYBN thanked the German government for their continuous support of GYBN and resource mobilization to enable youth participation at the COP. This was followed by discussions on youth participation and Germany’s role in lending support to enable youth to raise their voice took place. Minister Rita stated that she is proud and impressed by GYBN’s work and encouraged the team to continue working towards achieving biodiversity conservation even though at times it might seem like a lengthy process with not much change. GYBN asked members of the German delegation to choose the species they are going to be represent at this COP as they made their way to the opening of the High Level Segment.

Front row from Left to Right: Frau Dr. Elisa Nickel, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Carsten Träger and Dr. Klaus-Peter Schulze
Front row from Left to Right: Frau Dr. Elisa Nickel, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Carsten Träger and Dr. Klaus-Peter Schulze

Lastly, NAYU in collaboration with the Japanese Youth Biodiversity Network (JYBN) and the guidance of GYBN delivered a great side event on youth’s contribution to ocean conservation bringing examples from three different networks based in three countries namely: Germany, Greece and Japan. Currently GYBN is getting ready in collaboration with the CBD alliance to conduct the Dodo award and also we are following the negotiations so that we can summarise and bring you the outcome decisions of this COP! Stay tuned as there is so much more to come!

GYBN at their daily co-ordination meeting past 9pm at the Alpensia Convention Center
GYBN at their daily co-ordination meeting past 9pm at the Alpensia Convention Center
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