There are a thousand ways of looking at Africa, but there's one image that everyone shares: that of its exceptional nature, its untamed flora and fauna. This continent is one of the richest regions on the planet in terms of biodiversity: 4,700 species of mammals, a fifth of bird species, and a sixth of plant species. Africa is home to the planet's 2nd green lung: the Congo Basin forest, which alone accounts for 10% of the world's biodiversity and covers more than 3.6 million km2 spread over six countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
However, the needs of the population continue to grow, the fragmentation of environments is accelerating, and natural areas are becoming increasingly scarce. Against this backdrop, pressure on natural resources is increasing rapidly, including on protected areas, and their capacity to conserve biodiversity over the long term is increasingly uncertain.
By 2030, young Africans are expected to represent 42% of the world's youth and 75% of those under 35 in Africa. With such a large youth population, it is more essential than ever to put in place policies and programs to support inclusive youth development. The latter will need information, knowledge, skills, and opportunities to take up leadership positions as their countries strive to achieve economic growth and reach the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to give them the chance to contribute to changing the continent, the Africa we want.
So, in terms of regional priorities, CEESP's work in Africa focuses on the need to increase the participation of young people in CEESP activities. One of our key activities is to reach out to the various youth platforms and talk about CEESP and its role. We will use the youth engagement strategy developed by CEESP as a basis for implementation.
Three activities are proposed:
- Increase regional membership by engaging regional leaders in regional events to promote CEESP. This could also be done through social media.
- Implement the CEESP youth engagement strategy in the region, given that the African continent is young.
- Increase youth participation in CEESP activities by supporting and helping to strengthen measures to recognize, elevate, and uphold the rights, responsibilities, and roles of young people in nature conservation.