African youth and partners launch the “Projects Catalogue” showcasing youth-led projects to implement The Biodiversity Plan


Ahead of the IUCN Africa Conservation Forum, held on June 26-28, the African Chapter of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN Africa), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) together with our Post2020 Biodiversity Framework-EU Support project released the brochure entitled “From Paper to Action: African Youth implementing the Biodiversity Plan”.


‘Projects Catalogue’ presented during the Cultural Night, within the IUCN Youth Pre-Forum

Hosted on the 24th of June 2024 during the IUCN Youth Conservation Forum for Africa, this official launch was attended by youth and senior delegates, including the Dr Grethel Aguilar (Director General of IUCN), Frederick Kumah (Vice President of Global Leadership at AWF), Ben Nyabira (Programme manager Rule of Law at Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and Vongani Maringa (South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment),among others.


Opening the event, Dr Grethel Aguilar mentioned that Africa has the world’s youngest population, with the median age of the continent at only 19 years old. This, combined with the fact that Africa is home to a quarter of the world’s biodiversity means there is a huge opportunity to create a new and sustainable model of development which allows people and nature to thrive.

Dr Grethel Aguilar emphasised that “IUCN is committed to work hand in hand with youth as partners in conservation. You are the future and the present, and we need to hear your voices and achieve a better planet for all together. We are ready to continue learning from you and providing tools and guidance, for example through the IUCN Academy and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication.

Speaking on behalf of GYBN Africa, Irene Natukunda, Co-coordinator – Uganda Youth Biodiversity Network (UYBN), reiterated that African youth are ready to partner and collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure that youth-led initiatives are implemented and that they contribute towards reversing the trend of biodiversity loss.

Grounded by a youth led publication on Young Africans: Agents of Change in implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, she also emphasized that partners should increase youth engagement and capitalize on their innovative capacities while  meaningfully involving them in all policy development, resource mobilization, implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation to track progress and impact in conservation.

It is crucial to give African youth access to the right fora of governance, but also to equip them with the resources and skills necessary to become effective agents of change on the ground, for achieving the Biodiversity Plan goals.“- stated Natalia Mendes, Project Officer from Post 2020 Biodiversity Framework – Eu Support, in charge of the Coordination with Youth. 

Why the catalogue and What’s in the catalogue?

In the words of Simangele Msweli, Senior Manager of the Youth Program at AWF, “The contribution of youth in environmental action is often reduced to all talk but no action and this publication is testament to the role of youth in championing ground action and specifically implementing the 4 goals and 23 targets of the Biodiversity Plan.

The catalogue contains 10 projects coming from 9 African countries. It was designed to both showcase the willingness of African Youth in implementing the Biodiversity Plan as well as a call to action to partners and funders to support youth-led actions.

Projects were selected through a competitive process that included grading projects against the criteria. This competition was run as part of the African Youth Summit on Biodiversity, hosted in Morocco in September 2023 with the intention to mainstream The Biodiversity Plan and mobilize youth for action. In addition to being featured in the catalogue, project’s leaders have been offered guidance and support by AWF and Post2020 Biodiversity Framework-EU Support project’s experts on how they could improve their proposals and be better positioned for conservation funding.

Our Project team leader, Hugo Rivera, intervened online, to wish our partners GYBN Africa and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) all the best for their Cultural Night-event at the Pre-Youth Forum, as part of the IUCN Africa Conservation Forum.

He expressed his confidence in African youth and praised their ambitious initiatives, in line with the Biodiversity Plan.

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