CSE side event in CBD-Hyderabad focuses on views of the youth on environmental negotiations

Panel discussion focuses on rights of communities over resources

Sunita Narain moderates discussion; panelists include young students

CBD, Hyderabad, October 17, 2012: As the world gathered in Hyderabad in yet another global negotiation exercise to discuss contentious issues surrounding biodiversity and its protection, a group of young students and environmental enthusiasts came together to debate what role the youth would have in all such parleys in future. In a side event organised here at the ongoing Convention on Biodiversity on October 16 by New Delhi-based research and advocacy body, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), these young minds participated in a panel discussion on ‘Future role of the youth in global environmental negotiations: Passive observers or active partners?’.

Fashioned as an event “for the young, by the young”, the panel discussion was anchored and moderated by CSE director general Sunita Narain. The panelists included a group of young men and women who have been selected by the government as ‘Prakrithi Mitras’ (Friends of Nature). These young people have also been covering the CBD for the summit special of Gobar Times, a magazine for the young on science and environment that CSE helps publish.

The side event began with the release of the special edition of Gobar Times by Sunit Narain, followed by an address by W G Prasanna Kumar, director of the National Green Core and the brain behind the Prakrithi Mitra group.

The panel discussion focussed on a wide range of issues, all of which are being discussed in the Convention. The young panellists, who have been attending these discussions and reporting on them, gave vent to their opinions on concerns such as sand mining; state of urban lakes and how they can be preserved; neem and its diverse applications and uses; and benefit sharing and access to resources for local communities.

Said Sumita Dasgupta, programme director-Environment Education Unit, CSE: “Clearly, the nub of most of the major official dialogues, meetings and side events at CBD has been access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation. Since these young men and women have been already reporting on this issue extensively, we felt it would be worthwhile to listen to their views and understand their perspective.”

Addressing the young panelists and the audience, Narain pointed out: “The best education you could ever get, you got it here at CBD. Looking at this young group, I am going back with a sense of hope. These men and women should all become a part of the change that we are fighting for and that — I am sure – will come about.”