Tag Archives: #Biodiversity

Homo sapiens, biodiversity and climate change in the Arabian Gulf

“In order to understand, I destroyed myself.”  ― Fernando Pessoa

For the past 4.5 billion years, the world we today call “Planet Earth” has been undergoing constant change since its formation especially in terms of climatic changes driving evolutionary change whereby species and ecosystems work on adapting to survive or face extinction.  This constant fluctuation between the climate being extremely cold and covered in ice to very hot and vice-verse has in the past 10,000 years come to equilibrium, thus, making the planet’s climate more stable.

This has led to the flourishing of diverse flora and fauna creating what we know as today’s biodiversity and subsequently to the explosion of the Homo sapiens species population. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines biodiversity as the variety of life on earth and the natural patterns it forms, this refers to ecosystem, species and genetic variation.

In the past approximately 650,000 years, temperatures and greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 levels are known to have changed following cyclical patterns over a large span of time. However, over the past century following the industrial revolution, human activities have started affecting the natural climate balance negatively whereby COlevels have now reached 400 ppm in comparison to the 80 ppm rise in COconcentration at the end of the past ice age which took over 5000 years to occur.

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Climate change impacts are already being felt around the world with projections of dramatic shifts in the states of many ecosystems; climate change has also been linked to well documented changes in physiology, phenology, species distributions and others (Watson, 2012). Moreover, it is also seen to be one of the main contributors to the global loss of biodiversity and has already caused accelerated rates of species’ extinctions along with changes to ecosystems worldwide (Sala et al., 2000; Thomas et al., 2004; Pimm, 2008; Watson, 2012).

Known to host the world’s hottest sea, the Arabian Gulf in recent years has become an attraction hub for scientists, economists, energy experts and researchers from various fields due to the region’s interesting and challenging nature (Riegl & Purkis, 2012). Despite the harsh environmental conditions, the region harbours a rich biodiversity bringing together ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds and sabkhas whilst being home to numerous endemic species. Moreover, the Arabian Gulf also fosters many migratory species of turtles, whales and other species and is considered to be of international importance in terms of biodiversity as it hosts the second largest population of dugongs following Australia and the largest breeding colony of the Socotra Cormorant in the world in addition to many other reasons…..Continued here

GYBN arrives in PYEONGCHANG

Amidst the mist and fog surrounding the ancient mountains of Pyeongchang in Korea, a beautiful youth movement has been getting ready to shine its light once again as it contributes towards protecting biodiversity for the coming generations. This youth movement comes under the family name of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN).

GYBN is an international network of youth organisations and individuals from all over the world whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity. As the official major group for youth in the negotiations under the CBD, GYBN aims to represent the voice of global youth in the negotiations under the United Nations Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). Moreover, it aims to raise awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity in addition to connecting individuals and youth organisations, in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.

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GYBN’s Youth Delegation filled with the spirit of the Korean Tigers during their Preparatory Meeting the day before the official opening of COP12

The idea of creating an international youth network to link young people in preserving of biodiversity immersed in 2008, however it wasn’t until the Tenth Conference of Parties (COP10) in 2010 that youth came together to announce their interest in starting a Global Youth Biodiversity Network.

GYBN was officially established at a conference hosted by NAJU in Berlin, Germany, which brought together 36 youth representing various organisations from 22 countries in August 2012. One of the many valuable outcomes of this conference was a position paper for the CBD COP11, which was hosted in Hyderabad. Two years down the line, GYBN had established a strong presence especially following the Montreal talks, which took place last June 2014. Four months later, within the short time since its establishment, GYBN succeeded in bringing together a youth delegation consisting of a representative from every inhabited continent to the CBD COP12 negotiations for the first time.

On the first day, despite the cold temperatures in Pyeongchang, the youth meeting room radiated with warmth erupting from the team’s excitement as they commenced their preparatory meeting for COP12. The CBD framework and decision making process was discussed followed by an overview of the COP12 agenda items and working groups. The team was treated to inspiring and wise words on how can youth influence the CBD process from a group of amazing panelists including Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana – the South African delegate, Mr. Horst Korn – the SBSTTA German Focal Point and Ms. Chantal Robichaud – a member of the Secretariat.

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Right to left: Ms. Christine Von Weissäcker, Ms. Malta Qwathekana, Ms. Chantal Robichaud and Mr. Horst Korn

The team also worked on defining youth positions on various topics along with their strategy plan for COP12 that covers various aspects such as interventions, campaigns, side events, press conferences and much more. After a long day of team building and educational sessions along with discussions around members personal goals and GYBN goals during COP12, and ways to achieve them; the generous Korean Council for Biological Diversity (KCBD) treated the team to a delicious Korean traditional style dinner. As the night took over and temperatures dropped lower, the team’s excitement soared as they looked forward to all that is to be experienced and gained in the next two weeks.