Report of the First Meeting of Youth Engaged in Wetlands

During 17-20 January 2020, seven representatives of the new Youth Engaged in Wetlands (YEW) team held their first meeting in Tokyo, Japan to discuss the strategic development of YEW and the team’s key priorities for 2020, and building up to the Ramsar Convention’s 14th Conference of the Parties (2021, China). The meeting was generously hosted and supported by Youth Ramsar Japan.


Members of the core-team meeting for the first time in Tokyo


Since its creation in 2018 during the Ramsar COP13 (Dubai, UAE), YEW has gone a long way with the creation of its strategic plan and the establishment of a new core-team of volunteers to achieve its mission: providing a platform for young people to enable and empower them to protect wetlands and promote wetland conservation worldwide. This meeting was a critical opportunity to review YEW’s accomplishments, identify key areas of development and strengthen its strategic direction and activities.

This four-day meeting combined in-person and virtual presentations, workshops on understanding policy development and campaigning, and a field trip to the Yatsu tidal flat Ramsar Site. Here, the YEW team had the opportunity to meet the Yatsu youth group. The team was very pleased to welcome representatives from the Ministry of Environment (MoE) of Japan working on Ramsar matters, the World Wetland Network (WWN), the Ramsar Network Japan (RNJ), Wetlands International (WI), the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) and the Japan Biodiversity Youth Network (JBYN). The diversity of presentations contributed to better understanding the multiple dimensions of youth engagement. Participants learned about the current efforts delivered by a diversity of stakeholders, with a particular focus on Japan around wetland Communication, Education, Participation, and Awareness raising.

YEW team meeting with Yatsu Higata Wetland Youth Group


In addition, this was a unique opportunity for the YEW team members to get to know each other better and build new friendships, which allowed participants to fully explore the great potential of YEW. Sharing personal stories, they also confirmed that young people have a meaningful impact in their community and for wetlands in multiple ways. This meeting has been a great source of inspiration and constructive ideas, creating even greater expectations for YEW and the impact it can have on wetlands around the world through mobilizing youth.


KEY OUTPUTS FOR THE MEETING

- A clear direction for 2020 - YEW’s roadmap to 2020 and the COP14 focused on three priority objectives:


1. YEW develops as a strong Youth Network supporting youth

2. Youth contributes to providing constructive solutions to the Ramsar table

3. Reinforce wetlands’ attractiveness and importance in innovative and creative ways



- A strengthened strategic plan for YEW and continuing financial support from Youth Ramsar Japan for key planned activities in 2020 including participation at key meetings of Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the IUCN World Conservation Congress and Asian Wetland Symposium



- Activities to build synergies with existing groups such as the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, and



- A Meeting Declaration


WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT?

The YEW team has a lot of activities in store for 2020, including…

- A fresh new look! The YEW communication team has prepared a fresh design for 2020 with a new website launched on World Wetlands Day. Check it out here: https://www.youthengagedinwetlands.com/


- Getting to know more about you! Our work will be strongly based on greater knowledge and understanding of the successes and challenges of youth engagement in wetlands around the world. We will, therefore, be launching a multilingual survey to collect the diversity of initiatives and projects of young people working/living/enjoying wetlands. Additionally, we will be conducting interviews to build case studies and share lessons learned.


- A YEW membership! Answering the strong demand from young people worldwide to participate in YEW, we will be launching YEW’s membership in March 2020. This membership will include multiple benefits, such as access to webinars, a newsletter, and opportunities to chat with other YEW members among many other activities.

YEW members with Yatsu Higata Wetlands Youth Group



Make sure to follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss any of our activities: https://www.facebook.com/youthengagedinwetlands/



"We are here today and we will be here tomorrow, committed to this urgent mission to save our wetlands."

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