For the first time, the Oceania region has secured a top award recognition from The Ramsar Convention Wetland Conservation.
In particular, the Ramsar Convention Award for Young Wetlands Champions 2018 has been snatched by none other than the Youth Climate Action Network of Samoa (Y.C.A.N.) amongst the other two awards for Wetland Wise Use and Wetland Innovation.
Y.C.A.N. Samoa is a non-governmental organisation which was established in 2015 to encourage community based youth led climate action initiatives that are practical and custom made to tackle climate change threats facing small islands development states (SIDS) in villages and districts of Samoa.
The winners were selected by members of the 54th Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention who met in Gland from 23-27th April 2018 says the release from the Ramsar Secretariat.
Among the winners were N.G.Os from Mexico and Spain now sharing the world stage of recognition alongside an N.G.O. from the island of Samoa representing the Pacific and Oceania region.
The Award acknowledges a young person or a group of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who have contributed to the wise use of wetlands.
“We are very excited that our team has snatched this award for us and our young people in our region as we are most impacted by climate change as small islands nations”, says Samantha Kwan, President of Y.C.A.N. Incorporation.
“We have shown the world through our climate actions that we are fighting for the survival of our wetlands and environment in general in our respective communities in order to adapt to the changes of the climate,” she added
“Youth Climate Action Network has been instrumental in leading wetland conservation efforts in communities including their support in mangroves and marine biodiversity audits and rehabilitation which the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme has been supporting since 2015,” says Simona Marinescu, UNDP RR and UN RC for the Samoa Multi Country Office.
“It is a product of the South South Cooperation hosted by UNDP GEF/SGP in 2015 for the islands of Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau where youth representatives from Samoa decided to formulate their NGO to tackle climate related challenges head on by our communities. We are very proud of YCAN and hope that their climate stories will become models for other youth groups in the region.”
“Samoa is spearheading youth and environment work and we look forward to seeing more of these initiatives as the GEF SGP Headquarters Central Programme Management Team recognizes the leadership role SGP Samoa is playing in the Pacific,” says Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager of GEF SGP
An Evian Special Prize of US$10,000 granted by the Danone Group, will be presented in Dubai during the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands taking place 21-29 October 2018.
The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards were established in 1996 in order to recognize and honor the contributions of individuals, organizations, and governments around the world promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non - governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds. It was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.