All posts by swethastotrabhashyam






The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) is the biggest international network of youth organizations and individuals, which common goal lies on the biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of it.

Among the main goals of this network is to raise social awareness about the values of biodiversity, as well as the importance that the new generations play on the solution of this planetary crisis.  


The Latinamerican and Caribbean (LAC) region is home of one of the richest bio-cultural diversity of the Planet. However, it is also one of the regions with the highest deforestation rates and bio-cultural diversity loss. Through this campaign, we make a call to all those “silent heroes” that lead participatory projects and promote the conservation and sustainable use of the local biodiversity. We want to know your story and share it worldwide. We want to share your success story and be able to inspire and connect the new generations in the construction of a better/sustainable planet.


Showcase internationally those latinamerican youth projects and initiatives that successfully promote the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity, as well as the shared access of the benefits of its proper use.

  • Award those initiatives that work to fulfill the Aichi targets for the LAC region.


  • Young professionals (17-29 years old) from Latin-American that lead their projects within the LAC region.
  • Individual and collective proposals are welcome.
  • Proposals should be submitted in spanish.


We look for projects that are developed around the following topics:

  • Conservations and sustainable use of biodiversity.
  • Capacity building and community governance.
  • Endangered species conservation.
  • Endangered ecosystems conservation.
  • Inspiring and reconnecting new generations/audiences.
  • Promotion of community participation and minorities integration.
  • Rescue of traditional knowledge.

Participants should follow the GYBN LAC Facebook page where all the information and link of the campaign will be posted. Participants must fullfill the online survey and share the requested information to the following email:

The stories of the winners will be posted and shared in many of the most important websites and digital platforms of Nature Conservation organizations such as the GYBN, GYBN LAC, WildVoices, CoalitionWild, IUCN-World Commission on Protected Areas, KiekariTerra, Dimension Natural, etc.


Starting Date: March 2nd

Receiving Propoasals: March 2nd  – April 2nd

Winners Announcement:  May 1st.


It will be formed by a multidisciplinary group of expert young professionals that lead conservation projects within the LAC region.


We will choose those projects that stand for their creativity, social impact, and their effectiveness in preserve nature and inspire new generations.

The overall criteria used will be:

  • Project Impact.
  • Creativity used to solve environmental problems.
  • Engagement with the local communities.
  • What does the project do to reach the Aichi Targets?


The Aichi Targets (CBD) will be the main reference to evaluate the impact of each project, no matter if it is a local, regional, national or international projects.


  • Winning projects stories will be shared in the GYBN, WildVoices, CoalitionWild and IUCN-WCPA digital media (websites, newsletters and social media).
  • A gift package will be send to each winner. The package contains:
    • “CBD in a nutshell” (GYBN book).
    • Dimension Natural (book).

Join us at the United Nations Headquaters for the World Wildlife Day 2018

GYBN in partnership with the UN Major Groups for Children and Youth is organizing a lively youth consultation on the occasion of the World Wildlife Day 2018 at the United Nations Headquarters at New York. 

We would like to invite all of you to join us online during the discussion to provide your inputs. The event will be broadcasted on Facebook Live and also have a live Twitter chat. 

Anyone who wishes to virtually join and speak during the event, please send us an email at or join us directly on facebook or twitter. The discussion will be on 2nd March at 3pm following the World Wildlife Day 2018 event at the United Nations Headquarters at New York. 

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Meet our speakers for the event


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Launching Youth Biodiversity Heroes GYBN Project

On this year’s World Day of Social Justice, GYBN LAC is launching the trailer for its project, the Youth Biodiversity Heroes!

Biodiversity is under threat in some of the regions with the biggest diversity of species and cultures. In these places, anonymous environmental defenders protect biodiversity and human rights using the best of their capacity and sometimes very limited resources.
Youth Biodiversity Heroes is a project that seeks to share stories of young indigenous and peasants on the defense of the territory and the conservation of biodiversity and youth advocates for indigenous rights.
The stories will be collected in video clips in order to visualize the experiences from the Biodiversity Heroes and spread these through social media and during relevant events. The goal is to inspire more young people around the world to take action against biodiversity loss and in the fight for social justice. We also want decision makers to understand the scope of the biodiversity and human rights crisis in some of the most threatened regions in the planet.

GYBN Communities celebrating the World Wetland Day 2018

 We are very excited to share with you photos of GYBN members across the globe showcasing the wetlands they love on the this World Wetland Day. 
The World Wetland Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February and this year’s theme is Urban wetlands: prized land, not wasteland.

As cities expand and demand land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands. They are degraded, filled in and built upon, yet when left intact or restored, urban wetlands make cities livable (Check out the infographics below).  

〰See how young people are taking action to play their part in saving the wetlands! 📢〰
Tuni-Condoriri Andean Mountain Range, Bolivia
  Why I care about this wetland? Although this is not an urban wetland, the water of the city of La Paz-Bolivia depends of this wetlands to help conserve and keep the glaciers of the Tuni-Condoriri system which is the main system of water distribution for one of the highest cities in the planet.

Picture: Carmen Capriles/Reacción Climática


Lake Olbolosat, Kenya

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Lake Olbolosat in Central Kenya.  The guest of honor for the event was Mr. Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.
Why I care about wetlands? They are home to biodiversity, which may not be on the endangered list, but as we encroach them, we risk losing those species.
Social-economically, they are viable for tourism which employs a lot of local people through activities such as boat rowing for profit.


Macoun Marsh, Ottawa, CANADA
Macoun Marsh, Ottawa, CANADA
Located in the southeast section of Beechwood Cemetery, the Macoun Marsh is a unique urban wetland named after John Macoun, a pioneering Canadian naturalist buried at Beechwood. To date, over 1,400 wildlife species have been recorded at Macoun Marsh.
The magnetic attraction of the Marsh as a unique teaching tool started in earnest in 2004. Led by science teacher Michael Léveillé, students attending the St. Laurent Academy and Jean Vanier Catholic School began to visit, photograph and document the many natural wonders of the Marsh. In so doing they not only captured local attention but the notice of the international community.
Pinegrove Productions created an educational film about the Marsh, and the Marsh spawned a number of biodiversity-related high-profile projects and events. Students from St Laurent Academy have visited various countries, including Sweden and Japan, where they have promoted the Marsh and the importance of preserving biodiversity.
Dekar Haor wetland, Bangladesh 
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Urban wetland Bogota, Colombia
Jaboque Wetland, Bogotá – Colombia.
Jaboque wetland is the second important ecosystem and one of the biggest wetlands in Bogotá. Its name means land of abundance in Chibcha and it has been considered an ancestral place, where the Muiscas lived a thousand years ago. Sadly, this ecosystem has been distroyed by the people that live nearly and in my view this situation affected the way that Jaboque Wetland worked. First, because this wetland has been impacted by settlements and it is used like a waste dump, and secondly because some endemic animals have been disappearing due to some people doing ilegal trafic of animals in order to earn money easier.
Wetland Colombia 

Colombia. Wetlands are important places for water birds and crocodiles, without them, these creatures would have very few places to live. Save the wetlands.- Alejandra Echeverri 


Quetenas, Sud Lipez- Bolivia   

                                                              Quetenas, Sud Lipez- Bolivia                                                       
 Why I care about this wetland? The small communities of indigenous peoples in Quetena Grande and Quetena Chico in Sud Lipez- Bolivia, depend on the peat bogs, wetlands that offer food to the camelids that are the main source of income for these families. Sadly, these peat bogs are drying up because of climate change and the mining activities that have a direct impact on the water supply for these ecosystems. I have been studying the biodiversity in these wetlands and documenting traditional techniques for their restoration as an adaptation measure to climate change as part of my bachelor’s thesis. 

Picture: Mirna Fernández

Lake view park, Islamabad, Pakistan 

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 Akanyaru wetland, Rwanda

The Akanyaru wetlands remain unprotected ecosystem, where biodiversity is seriously threatened mostly by human activities_Prudence Ndabasanze_2016.jpg
Akanyaru wetland, Rwanda
Akanyaru wetlands are located in the south of Rwanda on the international border with Burundi. These are important in terms of local community welfare of about 100,000 people; providing goods and services to the local community such as improved ecological conditions like clean air, water, agriculture productivity, fish, traditional medicine, a source of handcrafting among others. Also, it is home of endangered bird species including Madagascar Pond Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, and the “Statunga”, Papyrus provide shelter of blue monkeys and snakes, whereas waterways host hippopotamus, crocodiles, and fishes.
However, it is seriously threatened by invasive species such as water hyacinth, anthropogenic activities resulting from pressures from increasing population like agricultural, hunting, burning, extraction of vegetation, uncontrolled fishing, and others, as natural phenomenon. Therefore, there is a need for enhancing it’s sustainable conservation.

GYBN at UNESCO Ocean Literacy Conference

UNESCO Ocean Literacy Conference in Venice, Dec 4-5, 2017

Yoko Lu January 18, 2018 20:50 EETZ

Ocean Literacy (OL) Conference was one of the most inspiring conferences which I have attended. I am pleased to represent as GYBN member to attend the conference. The venue was at the headquarter of UNESCO in Venice, with a diverse range of unique buildings and narrow streets, crowded with housing units and shops. Getting to the venue was zigzagging through the maze of twisting alleys and I was lost in no time.

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OL Conference lasted two days with the first day involving extra activities which were visiting the arsenal in the central location and enjoying cocktail getting to know each other. Cocktail, however, turned out to be proper dinner style, with small dishes of Italian style fried meat, seafood, and vegetables. At the arsenal, unique approaches such as using satellite imagery and remote sensing were introduced.

The conference started with the UNESCO representative and host of the conference, Francesca Santoro, followed up with OL experts from various ocean-related organizations of all levels, including NGOs, NPOs, government, and private sectors. Around 100 attendees from all over the world, both young and old, attended the conference with the majority from EU. Attendees and speakers included Mariasole Bianco from IUCN, Paula Keener from NOAA, and Peter Tuddenham, one of the original OL initiators.

Not only did the conference emphasize the importance for the marine education especially at the young age, but it has also placed key focus on cultural and social aspects in the field of oceans, as well as viewpoints from politic and scientific community. Many of the conference attendees and speakers were not from scientific background, whereas some of the attendees were researchers and professors. The key message was that it was essential for the non-scientists, scientists, and politicians to implement the systematic approach towards ocean literacy. Artists were present at the conference, with several speakers being creative innovators themselves, showcased their organization’s work for the oceans. It was important to spread out the word to the public about the oceans that it is not just the only ocean that matters, but also the rest of the waterbody.

At the end of the conference, attendees were grouped up and discussed about the next steps that should be implemented into the OL initiative of the UNESCO. Groups were first divided into different sections discussing what should be improved and incorporated into the OL. Second part of the group discussion was divided into five groups: formal education (schools), information education (non-school), private sector, government and politicians, and scientific community.

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Francesca Santoro (Right) is the main representative of OL

Each attendee had the option to choose the group and contribute to the discussion. Results were then presented in front of everyone. Some key results were:

  1. Policy & Government:
    1. Encourage mandatory inclusion of OL in school curricula at global/commonwealth level
    2. Identify OL specific commitments to offer collaborative assistance
    3. Brief shortly on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for policy makers linking OL across all SDGs
    4. Share country index of OL strategies internationally
  1. Formal education
    1. Set OL as top action priorities for schools
    2. Train teachers and hold teacher conference on OL
    3. Involve OL leaders in discussion and develop communication strategy
    4. Integrate OL into school curriculum (new and existing)
  1. Informal education
    1. Implement capacity building and training for youth education
    2. Build toolkits to address gaps within reigons
    3. Develop adaptive management strategy for each region
    4. Create baseline surveys on gaps in OL by country and/or by region
  1. Private sector & civil society
    1. Integrate groups and integrate OL
    2. Develop material and tool kits
    3. Design modules
    4. Implement capacity development in each sector
  1. Scientific Communities
    1. Collaborate between scientific community and stakeholders
    2. Develop policy for scientific community (i.e. guidelines and regulations)
    3. Design evaluation model of OL
    4. Promote fundraising opportunities

These results will be in the process of the OL implementation, along with the initial information input by the attendees a few days prior to the conference, and these are currently in the update process.

Overall, it was an extremely positive experience and highly recommended opportunity for everyone to attend, especially the youth, as it was an excellent chance for networking with professionals. Such opportunity is the starting point for the youth to connect with professionals and the stepping point for the career. It is important to note that education at school is not the only life path that leads to career, but also professional opportunity with such major actor in the field, and of course, smaller and less known conferences are the key to success as well. It is crucial to experience beyond the basic step and extend beyond the niche and challenge yourself to the new world.

Francesca Santoro (Right) is the main representative of OL

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 10.23.48 PMGroup discussion stage

Useful links:

Online version of toolkit:

Link for SDG14:

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)


Interlinkages between the Aichi Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals

Mirna Ines Fernández

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity is a ten-year framework for action by all countries and stakeholders to safeguard biodiversity and the benefits it provides to people, and the implementation of its 20 ambitious but realistic targets is on its way at the national levels. Now, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed by the 193 States Members of the United Nations, seems to add new challenges to the development and implementation of national policies for Sustainable Development, but after a closer analysis of the full scope of these goals and targets many synergies appear. 

The achievement of the SDG 15 – Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss – will not be possible without taking into account the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. According to the Technical Note developed by the CBD, FAO, The World Bank, UNEP and UNDP titled Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDG 15 is related to half of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15 & 16).

It is easy to point out how related are the indicators of this goal with some of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. For example, the indicator 15.1.2 – proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type – is directly related to the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, which seeks that by 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water will be conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Another example is the SDG target 15.9 – By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts – which has the same objective as the Aichi Biodiversity Target 2, and its indicator is the progress towards national targets established in accordance with this Aichi Biodiversity Target of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

The annual progress report of the Secretary-General on SDGs shows that despite improvements towards a sustainable management of forests and protected areas, the declining trends in land productivity, degradation, biodiversity loss, poaching and trafficking of wildlife are still concerning.    

The challenges identified by countries on their Voluntary National Reviews with regards to the SDG 15 are related to habitat loss, invasive alien species, poaching and trafficking of endangered species and products, lack of expertise and knowledge on complex issues such as Access and Benefit Sharing, integration and mainstreaming of ecosystem and biodiversity conservation into sectoral plans, land degradation, threats to mountain ecosystems and pollinators, to mention some of them. All of these challenges are also addressed within the full scope of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.  When it comes to implementation, the challenges that have been repeatedly identified by countries include inadequate institutional capacities and the lack of participatory coordination frameworks in land and forestry management. These are quite common in countries with small teams in charge of the implementation of multiple environmental related commitments and will need multi-stakeholder collaboration to succeed.

Given the challenges of implementation that countries face, especially when the most biodiverse countries have also great challenges in the fight against poverty, it is essential to tackle these connected goals and targets with an integrated approach. The design of the SDGs has been done in a way that ensures that these and the Strategic Plan are mutually supportive and reinforcing so the teams in charge of the development of national policies to ensure the achievement of this goal can be sure that their actions will support the advances on the related Biodiversity Targets.


Synthesis of Voluntary National Reviews 2017: Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) United Nations

Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General

Biodiversity and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Technical Note from CBD, FAO, The World Bank, UNEP and UNDP.

Three takeaways from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network’s Asia Capacity Building Workshop

By Mohammad Arju, Bangladesh

Hello people, who are reading this post, please be informed that on May 27 we’ve just wrapped up one of the most important events in Asia this year. I know, most of you never heard of it, but don’t be surprised; we know, relying on mainstream media as the only source of information has its own limitation- in many cases, the media fails to report on real important things.

So, please let me convince you about how the recently held Global Youth Biodiversity Network’s Asia Capacity Building Workshop will shape the future of Asia and the Ocean planet.



One of my fellow participants at the workshop, Naseem Sultani from Afghanistan already written about it; the week-long workshop held in Singapore (with generous support from Singapore’s National Parks Board and Japan Biodiversity Fund) had a wide range of participants from the Central, South, Southeast, West and East Asia, and all of them are back to their home countries with a very specific homework. And the homework is not just about same-old-same-old romantic environmentalism about biodiversity; it is not about photogenic environmentalism of just holding another conference. The organizers were very clear about it, and this policy position was well reflected in all of the training sessions of the workshop (See the Schedule: PDF File).

The workshop was designed to train the youth leaders in real down-to-earth efforts for utilizing the already available multi-national process and mechanism (Convention on Biological Diversity, for example) on local, national and regional level to minimize the impact of market-economy on the diversity of life our planet hosts, and eventually help the governments in successful drafting and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Goals.

With this homework, the trained participants are out, therefore, more learning and real work, in their respective countries.

Using ‘System Thinking’ approach, they’ve built a scenario of current status and identified best possible leveraged to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in Asia as a youth group. They’ve conceptualized several programs for the coming years to establish ASEAN and South and Central Asian sub-regional networks, to build a knowledge network, and to run a grassroots conservation program through Participatory Action Research led by youth organizations and fellows. In the coming months; they will design, develop and start implementing the programs.

So, in a brief, with the goal to secure more diversity of life on the planet, this workshop just deployed a team of well-trained youth leaders in the field to take part in political and decision-making processes at local, national, regional and international levels. The team’s work will certainly help the national governments in Asia to bring sustainability in the development process, also achieve many targets of the Sustainable Development Goals in the process and reconnecting the people with nature.



In these times of growth-hungry economy devastating the people and the planet, being a conservationist means you are engaged in really down-to-earth activities to reverse the process. The Convention of Biological Diversity’s stated role is to ‘prevent and attack the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity at source’, you know it. And it’s not easy, rather daunting, oftentimes exhaustive too. But this workshop was a forum where we met the people face to face who are building their lives around this daunting task, it was really comforting.

Even in places like Singapore, where the economic violence affected the social-ecological systems severely, things have started to change, we’ve met several groups of people who are working for reconnecting people with nature. Even within such an extremely modified landscape, as a result of orchestrated efforts by government authorities and citizen-science groups like Otter-Watch and NUS Toddycats, the Singapore River is now hosting at least two large families of the smooth-coated otter. We’re aware that, there is no final victory in conservation, there will not be, but this sort of conservation-optimism story once again shows us the way.

And, it’s not just that, you listen to others’ stories, experience, and observation or go visit successful conservation initiative, which in some ways, or in many ways may be reasons to you, inform you about how people around the continent is bringing positive change for the conservation of biodiversity. One of the most important parts, for me, at the workshop was, I’ve learned a lot while articulating mine to others. Also, can sense that other participants were also re-discovering themselves by explaining their experience and ideas to others.

So, it is about self-motivation, as one of my fellow participants, Xu Waiting from Singapore was saying during their group presentation; ‘It’s the self-motivation what keeps you running to achieve what you believe in.’


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The most important aspect of the forum was, I should say, together, we can now think of ourselves as a people, the people for advancing conservation in Asia. By taking parts in a number of self-organizing tasks (System Thinking, Project Concept Developing for example), through the process of feedback and evaluation, we’ve already started to work collaboratively.

As a team, now we know about our internal resources, strength, expertise we can offer to each other; and we have already come up with concepts about how to get easier access to this team and keep collaborating.


A conservationist and journalist based in Bangladesh, Md Kutub Uddin (Mohammad Arju) is a Trustee of Save Our Sea.



An Afghani take on the GYBN Asia workshop

By Naseem Sultani, Afghanistan

The GYBN Capacity Building Workshop for Asia – 2017 has been well objectively designed with a wide range of participation across the Central, South, Southeast, West and East Asia to address technical issues with the respective countries on implementation of NBSAPs. It brought in youth with various backgrounds to share and discuss their knowledge for improving implementation quality of NBSAPs for biodiversity protection of the respective country across the region.

The workshop provided me with an opportunity to get connected with other young people from all over the region in Asia. More importantly, now, I better understand the CBD role and its potential to support and protect the biodiversity of Afghanistan and the region through widening youth participation.

Moreover, the workshop enabled me to understand and explore new ways to enhance the country’s engagement with the CBD through improvement of networking within the GYBN community.

Particularly, the workshop improved my capacity to understand targets and strategies of Afghanistan’s NBSAP. It also facilitated discussions on how to engage with complex challenges and leverage more efficient solutions. We also discussed priority issues for the region and how to address it.

Additionally, I also enjoyed visiting the Commonwealth Secondary School where we were exposed to a wide range of environmental education program including student engagement for academic credit and also, we were inspired by a comprehensive methodology to keep kids close to the nature.

​As a result, this workshop has been a great networking opportunity for me and also improved my understanding of strategic actions, prioritization and youth participation across the region.

Here are some of my views on how we can strengthen these regional workshops:

• For sustainable approach, maintaining and following of such events is important to be considered.

• For more effective use of resources, more practical topics to address current needs of biodiversity conservation including working on a typical target of a NBSAP for designing, implementation, monitoring & evaluation of a project to be considered.

Madagascar’s biodiversity being plundered

The beautiful island located in the Indian Ocean is well known for its unique Biodiversity. Sadly, this unique biodiversity is facing a heart-breaking high rate of species trafficking. One such species facing serious threat is the Radiata Tortoise.

Radiata Tortoise  Photo.Credit. Kyle Bedell


Radiata Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata) locally known as Angonoka is the most common species in the specialized pet market of Bangkok, Thailand known as “Chatuchak”. Its trafficking story started in 1996 at Roissy Airport in France when Radiata Tortoises were found in a traveler’s luggage. The trafficking has been rampant and has continued since the late 90’s.

Radiata tortoise in luggage ceased by authorities 


In 2015, fourteen tortoises were intercepted by the Hongkong police and later transferred to Perth for safety. In 2016, the trafficking is still an on-going issue in Madagascar. With the intervention of the State the Civil Society “Alliance Voahary Gasy”, their members raised their voice and acted on ground to drive the environmental justice concept. Their effort has been fruitful as many lawsuits have been placed on the “Species dealers”. According to midi-madagaskara, three people have been arrested for trafficking 227 tortoises and a sentence of 18 months has been served to the chief trafficker, Mrs. Hanrita.

While I applaud this work, according to WWF, around 5000 Turtles are illegally exported from Madagascar monthly. This only shows us how much more we need to do.

Thus, more action should be enforced as this is just one species of the several that get trafficked from Madagascar.


By GYBN Member,

Rasoamanana Alexandra