Building peace in the minds of men and women

MAB Youth

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©Christian Leone

2nd MAB Youth Forum 2019

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and the UNESCO Beijing Office organized and MAB Youth Forum from 15 to 18 September 2019 in the Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve, China. Under the theme ‘Committed to Biodiversity’ the forum mainly worked towards the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) which will be held in Kunming, China in 2020. After the succesful 1st MAB Youth Forum, which took place in September 2017 in Po Delta Biosphere Reserve in Italy, the MAB Programme hereby demonstrates its commitment towards youth engagement.

The Forum was organized by the UNESCO MAB Programme and the UNESCO Beijing Office in close cooperation with the Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve, which provided most of the support to the young participants. The 2019 MAB Youth Forum, implemented in partnership with the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, was made possible thanks to the support of the Chinese MAB National Committee and of Shimao Property Holdings Limited.

The fifteenth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) will be held in China in 2020. it is expected to adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework - a "New Deal for Nature" for the entire international community. Inscribed in the 2050 Vision "Living in harmony with Nature", it will address the challenge of biodiversity and ecosystem loss and to ensure that the solutions and benefits nature provides are integrated in systemic, inclusive, and transformative actions to benefit human well-being, the economy, and the planet. The decisions to be taken on that occasion will be of great relevance to youth, whose future daily lives will be strongly impacted by those desired transformations, but also considering the crucial role they will play in shaping and implementing them. UNESCO and its partners are committed to support youth raising their voice and taking action in this arena. The organizers will also pay particular attention to gender equality interrelated issues.

The Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve is located in the northeast of China on the border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The topography is composed of a basalt platform, basalt slope highlands and cone-like volcanoes. Craters produced in the distant past now form lakes, which are surrounded by sixteen mountains.

About 65,000 inhabitants live in the biosphere reserve. the nearest major towns are Erdo town, Antu County, Fusong County and Changbai County. Tourism has become a key activity with 170,000 tourists visiting the biosphere reserve every year. The authorities of Changbaishan work together with local communities to diversify the local economy, for instance, through the cultivation of economic and medicinal plants.

The 2019 MAB Youth Forum Declaration was divided into 4 sections consisting of demands by and commitments from MAB Youth. The Declaration is divided in sections on: the MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves; the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework; Biodiversity and Climate Change; Other topics.

2019 MAB Youth Forum Declaration

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Youth at the 2019 MAB Youth Forum developed a four-parts declaration that addresses different issues regarding biodiversity, climate change and the MAB Programme and it’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. They also further elaborated and adopted an Action Plan, with the aim to commit themselves to take concrete actions in line with the demands and commitments formulated in the Final Declaration. In the course of the elaboration of this Action Plan, the participants decided that referring to 5 Regions would be more meaningful, more practical, and more efficient to further engage with the MAB Youth community on the ground. This would as well help overcome linguistic barriers while leveraging on regional, environmental and cultural specificities. The regional action plans will be further coordinated by selected regional focal points that will act as spokespersons for their region, and will act in this function until a next MAB Youth Forum will take place. They are thus ambassadors of their regional MAB Youth Community.

​​MAB Youth Action Plans