Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is the main coordination body of our network and ensures that the mission and goals of GYBN are achieved.

It consists of 12 members from eleven countries, representing all world regions. Two Steering Committee members are also acting as Focal Points (contact persons) between the network and external bodies such as the CBD Secretariat.
The members of the current Steering Committee have been elected in September 2013 and are serving a two-year term, ending in 2015.

The Steering Committee can be contacted at:
If you should have any specific requests or if you would like to cooperate with GYBN, please get in touch with our Focal Points: and

The following individuals belong to the GYBN Steering Committee:

Christian Schwarzer
Country: Germany
Position: Steering Committee Member representing Europe and Global North Focal Point

Christian is one of the founders of GYBN and has dedicated most of his life towards environmental issues. In recognition of his activities on Biodiversity, he has been appointed as Youth Ambassador for the UN Decade on Biodiversity. He is a member of NAJU and Co-Chair of Germany’s NGO working group on Biodiversity policy. Christian is currently studying for a double major in History and Political Science. His main research interest lies on Global Environmental Governance. So far he has participated in 21 rounds of UN negotations under the UNFCCC, IPBES and the CBD and published numerous articles and studies on environmental policy issues.
Swetha Stotra Bhashyam
Country: (India)
Position: Steering Committee Member representing Asia and Global South Focal Point

Swetha Stotra Bhashyam is a budding wildlife biologist from India. She has dedicated the past 7 years towards working with several grass-root and the international organizations to help conserve biodiversity. She has been a part of Global Youth Biodiversity Network and has been works on policies issues under the Convention on Biological Diversity since 2012. In the future, Swetha hopes to channel her energies into working on international projects which have high-impact on the ground.




Mirna Ines Fernández
Country: Bolivia
Position: Steering Committee Member representing Latin-America

Mirna lives in Bolivia and is an environmental engineer. She has been involved in environmental issues since being very young and is a member of Reacción Climática as well as VAM and In collaboration with Indigenous groups, Mirna has coordinated several campaigns to safeguard protected areas and is one of the founding members of the Bolivian youth environment network. She is currently working as a professor at the Universidad de Aquino and is focussing her research on Tropical Andes ecosystems’ conservation and restoration.


James Propa
Country: Uganda
Position: Steering Committee Member representing Africa

James is a 25 year old Ugandan Radio DJ. My passion for Biodiversity links to way back in my childhood as I loved the fact that we grew our own food. It was always magical at the time of harvest, to see the food we had planted yield so much.

I was sparked a few years back when I went home and realized the land could no longer produce enough food to hold the family through drought. The reasons are partly because of cutting down trees for firewood and charcoal.
I then decided to use my tools and platforms as a Radio DJ with a youth following to sensitize young people about protecting the environment and now am running a project aiming to teach young people about bee keeping as these are key in ensuring more crops are pollinated and also an alternative source of income for the young people. We raise young people’s interest in the project through the things they love, like entertainment and people the like, like musicians.
Dodé Heim
Country: Benin
Position: Steering Committee Member representing Africa
Dodé Heim is a Beninese holding an Engineer degree in Forestry sciences and a Master in Protected Areas management from Senghor University (Egypt). At the beginning of this year, he is working as Technical assistant for IUCN Regional Director for west and central Africa region and BIOPAMA. The Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) programme aims to address threats to biodiversity in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, while reducing poverty in communities in and around protected areas. He is involved in the Biodiversity conservation specifically Wildlife conservation with IUCN-WCPA (World Commission on Protected Areas). He is also WCPA young professional and he works closely with team of Nature For All team. Dodé Heim is GYBN (Global Youth Biodiversity Network) Steering Committee Member representing West and Central Africa and has participated in a wide number of international conferences and expert meetings as youth delegate.


Adrian Watson
Country: Jamaica
Position: Steering Committee Member representing the Caribbean 

Adrian is establishing his social enterprise called Honai Beez Apiary which focuses on establishing urban apiaries within the city of Kingston Jamaica starting with his home community. This is to ensure that honey bees have habitats to survive whilst still providing a source of income for young people within cities.

Adrian has been a member of the Kingston and St. Andrew Beekeepers’ Association for three years. He has played a significant role in the re-establishment of the association in which he spent just a year on the Steering Committee responsible for the revival of the association. He was then elected as the Public Relations Officer which sees him mainly engaging members aiding with the development of the associations business plan creation. In this role he also mainly performs the task of advocacy when engaging external organizations and persons.
NLA Bio Pic
Shailyn Drukis
Country: Canada
Position: Steering Committee Member representing North-America

Shailyn Drukis is an environmental studies graduate at Wilfrid Laurier University, currently living in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Shailyn participated in COP10, COP11 and the IUCN World Parks Congress, and is a founding member of GYBN. She has a particular interest in how protected areas can help protect biological diversity, especially protected area connectivity. Shailyn is passionate about connecting people to nature and has leadership roles within the Natural Leaders Alliance of Canada, GOT Parks, the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, and the Environmental Education Association of the Yukon. Shailyn has focused her academic research in the Yukon Territory on protected areas, and has been working on her thesis that assesses the needs, gaps, and obstacles to better addressing cumulative impacts on wildlife.  In recognition of her activities on biodiversity and protected areas, she has been appointed as a youth representative of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Committee for IUCN.

Nolties in Colour-37
Dayna Noltie
Country: Canada
Position: Steering Committee Member representing North-America

Dayna became involved with biodiversity through creating educational conferences for over 300 local youth with the Ontario-based organization Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources (POWER) . She has also attended international youth conferences such as the 2nd International Youth Symposium on Biodiversity in 2009. Dayna prepared the Canadian Youth Delegation to CBD COP10 and was one of the key persons in the establishment process of GYBN. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and is currently attending Medical School in London, Ontario.



On 23 September 2013 the Elections Committee that facilitated the election of members of the first GYBN Steering Committee announced the results.
The election was conducted from 3 to 16 September 2013 after a call for self-nominations opened in August and encouraged all young people worldwide to submit their applications. Many individuals representing all world regions and different backgrounds underwent a vigorous screening process in order to be shortlisted to run for the election.  Only young people aged 30 or younger who registered themselves in the network membership database by 4 August 2013 were allowed to vote. A total of one hundred eligible voters were given fourteen days, from 3 to 16 September to cast their vote online and elect the best and suitable candidates. The Elections Committee met from 17 to 22 September in order to announce the results.
The members of the Steering Committee are serving a two-year term, ending in September 2015.

Melina Sakiyama
Country: Brazil
Position: Head of the GYBN Alumni Board

Melina is a Brazilian biologist and holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Kyoto University in Japan. She has been involved in numerous reserach projects on biodiversity conservation, biodiversity valuation and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Melina also volunteered for various social and environmental organizations. She is a founding member of GYBN and participated in CBD COP10, COP11 as well as WGRI-18 and SBSTTA-18. Melina represented GYBN at numerous conferences worldwide and is currently working as a Science Officer for DIVERSITAS and is especially interested in Science-Policy Interfaces.


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Youth platform for participation at the Convention on Biological Diversity