Driving Change, Inspiring Tangible Solutions

Bringing together indigenous youth for the sustainable use of nature

August 18, 2022
Event Details

17 August 2022

14:00-16:00 (CEST) / 08:00-10:00 (EDT)



Indigenous peoples and local communities hold deep, intricate knowledge of climate, biodiversity and ecosystems that often stretches back over generations due to their sustained connection to nature through nature-based livelihoods (i.e., hunting, fishing, herding and gathering) and spirituality. Indigenous peoples own, manage, use or occupy about 25% of the global land and approximately 35% of all remaining terrestrial areas with very low human intervention. These figures increase substantially when contributions of local communities are accounted. Despite intensifying pressures on indigenous territories, nature managed by indigenous peoples and local communities is declining less rapidly compared to other lands (IPBES, 2019). However, indigenous and local knowledge, a key enabler for sustainable conservation, is at risk of disappearing. This loss of indigenous and local knowledge is largely associated with communities being displaced from indigenous territories, lack of documentation and a decline in transmission to younger generations.

Indigenous youth act as a conduit for indigenous and local knowledge – as custodians and vocal advocates, practising sustainable use of wild species as a key part of their identity and for their well-being. Indigenous youth today are navigating both traditional and digital spaces simultaneously. Yet, there are few avenues for their voices to be included in the dialogue and decision-making processes around nature conservation or in research and programmes. Therefore, this event has been designed to act as a platform to highlight some voices and lessons among indigenous youth who are leading the way in the adopting and amplifying solutions in the sustainable use of nature. p These themes are very much in line with upcoming thematic assessment on Sustainable Use of Wild Species undertaken by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the foremost global authority working to strengthen the science-policy interface on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and long-term sustainable development.

Overview of the Event

The virtual Indigenous Youth and Intergenerational Wisdom Storytelling Event was held jointly by BES-Net and the African Wildlife Foundation on 17 August 2022. It provided a platform to bring together indigenous and local youth to share knowledge and discuss experiences and solutions on the sustainable use of wild species in biodiversity conservation and ecosystem restoration.

Five local youth champions from different countries shared their stories and the reason behind their belief in the importance of biodiversity in a fireside circle.

Given indigenous youth are often under-represented stakeholders, this event offered a learning opportunity to hear their deep-rooted perspectives, expertise and experience in sustainable use. Inter alia, the event will highlight how youth can be drivers of change and inspire tangible solutions to sustainably using wild species, including the ways in which they document and preserve their peoples’ and communities’ indigenous and local knowledge.

The event recording is available here