African youth urge world leaders to commit to protecting biodiversity now

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Kigali/Volcanoes National Park/Nairobi, 05 June 2010- Young people from across Africa called on world leaders on World Environment Day to act now to protect biodiversity.

In a statement addressed to global leaders for the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), the young delegates, aged 14 to 24, expressed their frustration that no government has met the 2010 biodiversity targets, while pressures driving biodiversity loss are either constant or increasing in intensity as indicated by the Global Biodiversity Outlook report.

The statement, which culminated a four-day Tunza African Youth Environment Network (AYEN) Conference - also emphasized the need for strong vision and leadership.

'We, the youth of Africa, have witnessed the depletion of our fish stocks, clearing of our forests, conversion of more than half of the world's wetlands and emission of enough green-house gases to keep our planet warming for centuries to come. You are the decision makers and leaders of our societies, holding the power to make a positive difference and to combat biodiversity loss. We urge you to promote sustainable development and to reduce direct and indirect pressure on the environment and to increase efficiency in natural resource utilization to meet the development demands of society,' read the statement.

Africa's young environmental leaders also exhorted leaders to tackle biodiversity loss as a priority as many of the world's poorest and most vulnerable groups of society depend mainly on the earth's natural resources for survival.

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