AYSB by Oumaima Ait bella

Taking Place in one of the countries with the highest terrestrial biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin, the AYSB 2023 held in Morocco from 19 to 21 September was the second edition of this continental summit. under the theme "From Awareness to Action: Empowering African Youth for Biodiversity Conservation ".

The first day of the 2nd African Youth Summit on Biodiversity in Morocco dawned with an official opening ceremony highlighted by insightful speeches from distinguished representatives. The stage was graced by voices from the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, underscoring the host nation's commitment to environmental stewardship. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) lent its global perspective, emphasizing the international significance of the summit. Additionally, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Expertise France, the EU Delegation in Morocco, and the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) Africa chapter shared their valuable insights, collectively forming a united front in support of the event's mission to empower African youth to champion biodiversity conservation. The convergence of these voices ignited a sense of purpose and collaboration that would shape the days to come.

the first day of the 2nd African Youth Summit on Biodiversity in Morocco extended beyond the main ceremony, as it featured a rich tapestry of side events. One particularly inspiring event was hosted by the Kenyan Youth Biodiversity Network.

The second day of the summit, September 20th, unfolded as another information-packed day. Plenary panels and side events continued to captivate attendees, offering a diverse range of perspectives and insights. One such enlightening session was hosted by Manal Nadim from UNDP, shedding light on the crucial Nagoya Protocol. Attendees had the privilege of delving into the intricacies of this international agreement, exploring its significance in protecting biodiversity and ensuring equitable access to genetic resources giving examples of protected species in Morocco.

As the day's discussions and knowledge-sharing sessions came to a close, the evening took on a more festive and celebratory note with a cultural night. This event showcased the rich and diverse cultures of Africa and its youth participants. It was an opportunity for attendees to bond, and appreciate the cultural richness of Africa while forging lasting connections that transcended borders and languages.

The third and final day of the summit brought a culmination of ideas and efforts as delegates engaged in a co-creation workshop following a series of enlightening plenary panels. This workshop allowed for the synthesis of insights gathered throughout the event, fostering collaborative solutions and innovative approaches to biodiversity conservation.

As the day progressed, the participants gathered for the eagerly anticipated closing ceremony. Here, the stage was graced by prominent organizations that pledged their unwavering support for youth-driven initiatives in biodiversity conservation. Notable voices included the Ministry of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Expertise France, and the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN). Their impassioned expressions of commitment underscored the importance of empowering young leaders in the global effort to protect and preserve our planet's precious biodiversity.

Following the closing ceremony, the delegates embarked on an enlightening field trip to the Sidi Boughaba Biological Reserve. Here, amid the beauty of nature, they deepened their understanding of Morocco's critical role as a biodiversity hotspot and the significance of this region as a vital resting point for migratory birds. The reserve's status as a wetland, crucial for both resident and transient wildlife, served as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance that conservation efforts aim to maintain. It was a fitting conclusion to the summit, providing participants with a tangible connection to the importance of their mission and the enduring beauty of our natural world.

The 2nd African Youth Summit on Biodiversity in Morocco stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and youth-driven initiatives in the realm of biodiversity conservation and teaches us that now, more than ever, the world needs individuals and communities to take concrete steps in preserving biodiversity.


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