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International Day for Biological Diversity 2018: Youth in Action

Enggar Wardani teaching in a primary school

Themed  “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity”, today’s International Day for Biological Diversity highlights progress made since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into force on 29 December 1993.

Saving biological diversity from natural and human-induced decline requires concerted effort at every level. Such action can take place at the highest levels, such as the CBD which is a global effort of 196 nations, but it can similarly take place on any level, down to the local and even the personal.

Enggar Yulia Wardani, a young environmental advocate from Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia, provides evidence that youth, who are the inheritors of our near future, can be a catalyst and an active force for good in driving sustainable development and protecting biodiversity.

Anchored on experiences and knowledge gained at the East Asian Seas Congress 4th Youth Forum in Da Nang, Viet Nam, in November 2015, Enggar initiated two programs to conserve coastal and marine resources: restoring mangrove areas along the coasts of Subang, and developing coastal education programs for elementary schools in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi.

Smart Blue Action, a team of just five young people, started from Enggar’s dream of doing something for the environment. Winning the PEMSEA’s Small Grant Competition in 2015 aided Enggar in turning her dream into reality.

Since the projects launched in 2017, school children from 14 elementary schools have had access to education about the importance of conserving coastal and marine resources, learning that even they can help protect and conserve their coastal environment. Mangroves planted through this project in the coastal area of Subang have shown an impressive 90% survival rate after six months, due in large part to the care given by the local community.

“We, as young leaders, should be taking real action to protect the environment”, Ms. Wardani encourages her fellow youth. PEMSEA, too, has a high regard for the impact youth engagement can have in facilitating change for the sustainability of the environment.

Keeping this in mind, the East Asian Seas Congress 2018 Secretariat continues to encourage youth applicants to apply for the Fifth EAS Youth Forum (YF5), to be held at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo, Philippines, on 27-30 November 2018.

The theme for the Fifth EAS Youth Forum, “Moving as One with the Global Agenda: Active and Engaged Youth in the EAS Region”, offers youth an opportunity to develop their skills and grow as young environmental leaders, ocean professionals, and future integrated coastal management (ICM) practitioners.

‘Healthy Habitats and Biodiversity’ is one of the topics  included in the forum’s creative workshops, where attendees will have the opportunity to interact and engage with a thought leader on habitat protection and restoration.

We hope that you can follow Enggar in taking your turn to take action to shape the future of your environment and the future of our shared seas. Be an EAS 5th Youth Forum delegate this November!

Send your application form and endorsement form at the EAS Congress Secretariat at eascongress2018@pemsea.org.

Originally published on the EAS Congress 2018 website on 22 May 2018.