BudgIT Liberia Celebrates International Biological Diversity Day with Young People in Monrovia

As part of our climate governance program, BudgIT Liberia, in partnership with Farmers Associated to Conserve the Environment (FACE) and Books Before Boys Inc., organized a one-day event to celebrate International Biodiversity Day (IBD). The event was held on May 22, 2024, and brought together 27 participants, primarily youth, with 90 percent being female. The theme was “Be Part of the Plan to Conserve Biodiversity. 

Emmanuel J. Kollie, Program Officer of BudgIT Liberia, provided an overview of the program. He explained that the celebration was a collaborative effort to educate students, especially females, about the importance of conserving biodiversity.

Celebrating IBD originated from the  1992 Rio Convention on Biological Diversity in Rio De Jairo, Brazil, initially observed on December 29. However, the United Nations later changed the date to May 22. The event encouraged the sustainable management of Liberia’s biological diversity, highlighting the urgency to protect endangered species facing extinction. The event emphasized that managing biodiversity is everyone’s responsibility, urging all to contribute to the conservation efforts for future generations.


Panel Discussion

The event featured engaging panel discussions, with experts from various fields sharing their insights on biodiversity and conservation.

David D. Dennis, Program Manager at Conservation International, emphasized the critical importance of biodiversity during his panel discussion at the International Biodiversity Day event. He explained that the term “biodiversity,” coined by J.J. Thomas, gained prominence after the 1992 Rio Convention. Dennis highlighted that biodiversity involves conserving the variety of life forms within ecosystems. He stressed the need for a balanced approach to human activities to ensure human survival and nature conservation. 

Dennis pointed out that people often prioritize the extrinsic economic value of resources over their intrinsic environmental value, leading to a conflict between human needs and ecological preservation. He warned that species extinction, driven by climate change and human actions, ultimately impoverishes humanity. Emphasizing the role of youth as future leaders, Dennis urged youths to protect the environment and sustainably manage biological resources for the benefit of future generations. He underscored the collective responsibility to conserve biodiversity and prevent the loss of valuable species.

Ms. Pearl-mai Dunbar, Programme Coordinator from the Nature Compact, discussed the role of women in Biodiversity Governance, advocacy, and career opportunities in biodiversity conservation. She emphasized the importance of women in managing biodiversity and focusing on the sustainable use of nature. Dunbar highlighted the impact of Rachel Carson, who challenged the notion that humans could control nature through chemicals, bombs, and space travel. Her book Silent Spring (1962) warned of the dangers of chemical pesticides like DDT, which were banned in 1970. Irene Voker is working with communities to establish the Community Forest Management Board, protecting endangered species in forests. Grace Zonzie works with the East Nimba Forest Reserved and is also working to conserve forest and wildlife. Dunbar concluded by encouraging women to be champions in preserving nature and playing a part in their communities.

Josep M. Worlo, co-founder of Liberia Eco Solution, spoke about youth’s crucial role in biodiversity governance and advocacy. He emphasized that 40 percent of the world’s population comprises young people. He urged young people to take concrete steps to protect biological species, warning that our actions are causing serious environmental damage. If we are not careful using natural resources, especially those in limited quantities, they may become extinct.

Worlo highlighted that the role of young people should focus on innovation, passion, and being long-term stakeholders.

In conclusion, Hellen S. Momo, Chief Executive Officer of Books Boys Inc., and Jesse B. Glagbar, Jr., Program Officer for Farmers Associated to Conserve the Environment, expressed their gratitude to BudgIT Liberia for the partnership in celebrating and discussing the importance of biodiversity conservation. They both stated that they are open to future collaborations. 

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