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Youth representatives from 10 ASEAN countries attend the Youth Biodiversity Leaders Academy to develop recommendations for decision-makers in biodiversity governance in ASEAN

Follow-up event by Youth Leaders on the COP 15 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework


The 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity adopted 23 targets for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in December 2022, including the historic 30 by 30 goal in which countries pledged to protect 30 per cent of the world’s land and sea by 2030 in an effort to stem biodiversity losses around the globe. As a follow-up event, the Hanns Seidel Foundation supported the Youth Biodiversity Leaders Academy in Singapore from 30th January to 5th February 2023. The event was organized by the official youth constituency to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) in collaboration with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). The Academy was hosted by the Singapore National Parks Board (NParks).

The Youth Biodiversity Leadership (YBL) academy forms part of a larger ASEAN Youth Biodiversity Programme (AYBP), funded by the European Union. The program facilitates the representation of youth from all 10 ASEAN countries in order to influence international biodiversity policies. The YBL program provides in-depth capacity building and mentorship to youth leaders in the region in order to increase youth participation in biodiversity governance and strengthen youth-led conservation efforts in the ASEAN. Each year, 20 youths from the region who are passionate advocates of biodiversity and leaders of conservation efforts in their respective countries join as Youth Representatives for the YBL programme. The long-term objective of the program is the recognition and involvement of youth in biodiversity strategies and action plans at the local, national, and regional level.

This year’s YBL academy provided training to 22 selected youth leaders on biodiversity governance and policies like the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as the recently-adopted Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework (GBF), and explored how these connect to their conservation work on the ground. The event was also attended by 10 alumni from past YBL programmes (2019 and 2020), GYBN facilitators, Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), ACB staff, as well as selected resource persons from regional and local NGOs, international organizations, government offices related to biodiversity and conservation and invited ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes. The academy also offered skills training on systems thinking, leadership development, and meaningful youth engagement in policy-making.

 (Group photo of selected youth from 10 ASEAN countries )

Target 19 of COP 15 is to implement the National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plan (NBSAPs). COP 15 also mandated to updating the NBSAPs until 2024. These strategies are a planning instrument that reflect how each country intends to fulfil the objectives of the CBD at the national level. Target 22 further "mandates the Youth also [to] be involved in the representation and participation in decision-making and access to justice and information related to biodiversity". Therefore, one key output of the YBL academy was to increase the participants’ knowledge on how to contribute to the formulation and implementation of policies like the NBSAPs in their individual countries to ensure that youth will play a vital role in the updating process.

During the YBL academy, participants and their ACB and GYBN mentors worked on developing individual roadmaps for each country which were later presented to the forum to kickstart the Kunming-Montreal GBF implementation in ASEAN with youth taking the lead. HSF, GYBN and ACB will collaborate in the future to further strengthen the role of ASEAN youth in this process.

(Tree planting by the participants (One Million Trees Movement programme)

Quote by the Youth:

“I have learned a lot from the academy such as how important biodiversity is and why we must protect biodiversity. Youths also play very important roles in biodiversity conservation, and how to think in systematic ways. Hence, the academy provided a platform for me to expand my network and get to know many young people who have the same goal, which is to protect and restore biological diversity, getting to know people who work in the global community and regional as well as at the national level. Now, I am aware that NBSAPs exist in my country.”

Learning Cities: Drivers for Meaningful Youth Participation in Climate Change Governance

Study Visit with Youth Representatives from 10 ASEAN Countries


The ASEAN Youth Development Index indicated in 2017 that 33% of the population in the region fell into the category of youth between 15 -35 years. Yet, youth are often not represented in policy making and implementation in ASEAN countries, although many youth initiatives exist on the ground level. To address this gap, the Hanns Seidel Stiftung (HSS), in partnership with the ASEM Lifelong Learning Hub (ASEM LLL Hub)the ASEAN Youth Organisation (AYO), the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) selected 21 youth representatives from 10 ASEAN countries to join a study visit on Learning Cities as drivers for meaningful youth participation to Bangkok and Manila from 6th to 16th November 2022 with support from the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

The ASEAN study visits on "Learning Cities: Drivers for Youth Participation in Climate Change Governance" focused on the role of cities in ASEAN in tackling the climate crisis, particularly through engagement and collaboration with young people. Strengthening their engagement provides new perspectives on how youth can play a significant role in ASEAN whilst highlighting the need for a more evidence-based policy on youth development. 

During the trip, the participants learned about existing structures and processes of policy-making & implementation in the field of Climate Change & Environment field, analysed multilevel governance approaches from the municipal to the global level and discussed how youth participation could be enhanced in these fields for a more significant impact. The programme included workshops & training on youth engagement and learning cities, on-site visits and engagement with local communities & international experts, as well as meetings with representatives from the municipal & national governments and representatives from the ASEAN secretariat. 

In Thailand, participants had the chance to discuss with representatives of the city government & with the Environment Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administrative (BMA) Bangkok's plan on cities and people engagement on the environment, learn about UN agencies and their engagement with young people & on climate change governance, and witness a vivid example of the effects of climate change during a field trip to Bang Khun Thien, a district being affected by the rise of sea water. Further highlights included trainings by experts from AYO, ACB and the ASEM LLL Hub on youth participation and learning cities, a discussion with Mr. Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, Member of Parliament as well as a meeting to the Stockholm Environment Institute.

In Manila participants had the opportunity to meet the National Youth Commission, visit the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and have a discussion with prominent youth and climate activists like Save Philippine Seas, an NGO who implements youth-led projects, designed to help the environment and communities.

As an output of the study trip, the participants mentioned “[…] through the program I had many self-reflections and realized that I need to learn more in all areas covered during the trip.  During the study visit, I got the chance to improve soft skills, such us communication and public speaking which I can apply back in my studies and work after the trip. I also became more flexible, more confident, and more independent.”  Further take-aways included increased knowledge about decision makers & experts in ASEAN and how to engage with them for a possible collaboration in the future as well as an increased open-mindedness in general.

A summary of the key outcomes and recommendations from the ASEAN study visit can be found in the upcoming ASEAN Youth Report 2023. See more under


A Milestone of youth Participation in High-Level meetings in ASEAN

ASEAN Youth Representative Join Regional Meeting on Biodiversity


After 33 years of meetings of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB), youth representatives were invited for the first time to discuss biodiversity issues with environmental officials from the ASEAN Member States (AMS). Selected youth from five ASEAN countries shared their experience in biodiversity conservation and management and presented their ideas about how youth can be meaningfully involved in biodiversity discussions at the ASEAN level.

The AWGNCB was established by ASEAN leaders to intensify cooperation in addressing problems associated with the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and further strengthen regional coordination and collaboration in addressing issues related to biodiversity. The AWGNCB meets annually and is part of a broader institutional framework of cooperation on the environment of the ASEAN Secretariat. It is a technical advisory body to the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB). The AWGNCB also monitors and develops a joint ASEAN stand, where applicable, on international and regional conventions and agreements related to nature conservation and Biodiversity.