International Children’s Conference on Biodiversity (ICCB) 5
The biodiversity map was just a start towards the main outcome of the ICCB, a formal children’s statement to be delivered to participating nations at COP10. Joined for a special day-long session by 200 Japanese schoolchildren, the delegates worked to generate lists of problems and solutions for conservation and sustainable use. The groups chose the most prevalent and urgent issues threatening biodiversity – such as global warming, poaching and deforestation – to be addressed in the final statement, which detailed how both children and adults should act to help preserve biodiversity.
The children pledged actions such as tree planting, educating themselves about nature, recycling and not wasting food. They asked adults to commit to using local resources and avoiding development in the habitat of rare species. The children’s declaration was approved at a final ceremony attended by the mayor of Nagoya, and presented by UNEP Junior Board members Annie Collins and Francesco Govender to world leaders at COP10.
The week wound down with a final day of field trips to a Toyota automobile plant, the forests of Mount Fuji and a Japanese elementary school. But when asked what was most unforgettable about their experience, most agreed on the pond-dredging, proving that the only real way to appreciate nature is to immerse yourself in it. Francesco Govender, 14, from South Africa, summed it up nicely, saying, ‘When I waded into the water, the mud came up to my hip. It was disgusting – but it was also exciting!’