Category Archives: Capacity Building

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.

THE HOMEWORK

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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.

THE STRENGTH

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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.’

WE THE PEOPLE

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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.

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

Email: arju@saveoursea.social

 

Latin American and the Caribbean Capacity-building Workshop

By Mirna Inés Fernandez (Bolivia)

(español debajo)

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The Latin American and the Caribbean Capacity Building Workshop organized by the Global Youth Biodiversity Network and hosted by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, in Bogotá, Colombia has started.

It is gathering around 30 youth leaders from 11 countries of the LAC region with different perspectives and capacities, but all of them focused on the biodiversity conservation and the empowerment of youth people to help on the implementation the Convention on Biological Diversity objectives and the Aichi targets.

IMG_7724We had the honor to have Brigitte Baptiste, the director of the Humboldt Institute, opening our workshop.

The talks started with the presentations of Melina and Christian, the members with the most experience of our network, to share the work that GYBN has been doing to bring youth voices to the CBD and reach the main actors and processes within this Convention.

After this, we had Hesiquio Benitez, from CONABIO, to share with us the perspectives of the Mexican Government on the COP presidency and the work they developed towards their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.  We also had representatives from the Colombian Ministry of Environment sharing with us their youth strategy.

IMG_1816As an invited expert, Isis Alvarez, from the Global Forest Coalition, shared with us some perspectives on the implementation of the CBD on the ground from the perspective of the civil society.

Finally, all the participants had the chance to share their perspectives about their national NBSAPs in small groups, to afterwards share with everyone its similarities, differences, best practices and the potential actions that we as youth can propose in order to be engaged on the development and implementation of the NBSAPS in our countries.

There is still a lot to discuss and joint actions to be developed, but we are very optimistic – this group is not just young and enthusiastic, but proactive and experienced. We are sure that here there is a lot of potential to be unleashed in order to rethink the youth biodiversity movement for the LAC region.

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Ha iniciado el Taller de Capacitación en América Latina y el Caribe organizado por la Red Global de Jóvenes por la Biodiversidad, teniendo como anfitrión el Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, en Bogotá, Colombia.

El Taller reúne aproximadamente a 30 líderes juveniles de la región de ALC con diferentes perspectivas y capacidades, pero todos ellos enfocados en la conservación de la biodiversidad y el empoderamiento de los jóvenes para ayudar en la implementación de los objetivos de la Convención y los objetivos de Aichi.

Tuvimos el honor de contar con Brigitte Baptiste, directora del Instituto Humboldt, para inaugurar nuestro taller.

Las conversaciones comenzaron con las presentaciones de Melina y Christian, los miembros con más experiencia de nuestra red, para compartir el trabajo que el GYBN ha estado haciendo para llevar las voces de los jóvenes a la CDB y los principales actores y procesos dentro de esta Convención.

Después de esto, Hesiquio Benítez, de CONABIO, compartió con nosotros las perspectivas del gobierno mexicano sobre la presidencia de la COP y el trabajo que desarrollaron para su Estrategia Nacional de Biodiversidad y Plan de Acción. También contamos con representantes del Ministerio de Medio Ambiente colombiano compartiendo con nosotros su estrategia juvenil.

Como experta invitada, Isis Alvarez, de la Coalición Mundial para los Bosques, compartió con nosotros algunas perspectivas sobre la implementación del CDB sobre el terreno desde la perspectiva de la sociedad civil.

Finalmente, todos los participantes tuvieron la oportunidad de compartir sus puntos de vista sobre sus NBSAP nacionales en pequeños grupos, para después compartir con todos las similitudes, diferencias, mejores prácticas y posibles acciones que nosotros como jóvenes podemos proponer para participar en el desarrollo y la implementación de las ENBPAs en nuestros países.

Todavía hay mucho por discutir y acciones conjuntas a desarrollar, pero estamos optimistas porque este grupo no es solo joven y entusiasta, sino proactivo y con experiencia. Estamos seguros de que aquí hay mucho potencial por ser explotado para repensar el movimiento de biodiversidad juvenil para la región de ALC.