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Got your morning coffee? Hear about the latest youth led IUCN Green List Coffee Chat

Posted Thursday 22 April 2021
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For the IUCN Global Youth Summit, two networking “Coffee Chat” sessions were organised on the IUCN Green List to discuss the role of Standards for conservation success with the example of its Global Standard.

Young professionals (defined as 35 years or younger by IUCN/UN) from the IUCN Green List secretariat and operations team moderated these sessions: Nadine Seleem and Belen Valenzuela with the assistance of the community manager Deviah Aiama for a more intergenerational conversation.

The sessions of the Coffee Chat introduced the IUCN Green List Standard and the ways the international certification process lands on local actions with national and global conservation impact through inclusive and equitable participation of key actors.

In the first session, the topics in focus were how the Green List can contribute to global sustainability goals with an emphasis on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UN Biodiversity Convention’s Aichi Target 11 and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework draft target 2 of 30% effective protection of terrestrial, freshwater and marine areas / land and water. This shed the light on the gap between ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ when it comes to meeting global protected area coverage targets, and how the Green List Standard can contribute to addressing this gap. Interesting questions followed from participating young professionals, dealing with Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) principles to how the standard manages risks of ‘greenwashing’ to the difference between the standard and Management Effectiveness Tracking Tools (METT).

The second session of the Coffee Chat focused on the Amazon biome and region. IUCN is currently implementing the Amazon Green List Project with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The aim is for 20 protected and conserved areas to achieve the IUCN Green List in five countries of the Amazon: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

One important step towards achieving the certification process in the region is the creation of Expert Assessment Groups – Green List (EAGL). EAGLs have a critical role to play in the IUCN Green List, they provide the main expert scientific and technical evaluations of candidate sites for the certification process. Currently, in the Amazon region, there are five EAGLs, one for each of the five countries that are part of the Amazon Green List project. In each EAGL, there should be one young professional and in that session, we had the pleasure of having Oscar Luna, a young professional EAGL member from Ecuador as a key speaker. Oscar talked about his experience as an EAGL member and how the IUCN Green List is a great opportunity for intergenerational conservation efforts. In his own words:

“It is time for there to be a true paradigm shift in protected areas. We need more inclusive conservation models, with a more human face. The IUCN Green List is an International Standard that improves the management of protected areas and recognizes the efforts of multiple actors aimed at this new vision of conservation. In this process, young people have the fundamental task of contributing with an intergenerational approach that responds to the complexity of current global changes.”

With the shared experiences and information, it was important to discuss how to include the viewpoint of civil society youth groups involved with protected and conservation issues. A key group in Latin America is RELLAC – Joven (Red de Jovenes Lideres en Áreas Protegidas y Conservadas de Latinoamerica y el Caribe). The session concluded? counted with the participation of Luciano Regis Cardoso a member of RELLAC from Brazil where he mentioned that the IUCN Green List has created tools for conservation actions form a civil society stand point as youth:

The Green List is a source of inspiration where civil society and especially young people can turn to find solutions for problems that we face both in Protected and Conserved Areas and outside of them”

In both sessions, the participants had a wide interest in what the Green List means and were very engaged with the session. This opened the door for how youth can engage in the process, whether as stakeholders or youth-led civil society associations. Mentoring and awareness raising opportunities were especially appealing to the audience.

The sessions had great geographical diversity with participation of youth from Chile, France, Switzerland, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and many more through a dynamic multilingual session where conservation and equal participation were the main concerns for youth around Latin America and the world.

These coffee chats have not only allowed to present the IUCN Green List as an opportunity for intergenerational conservation engagement and efforts, but it has also presented the growing interest and powerful will and commitment of youth around the world towards fair and effective conservation efforts towards a sustainable future.

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