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RSPO is pleased to announce the winners of the Youth Impact Project global competition. Held on 25 August 2021, this competition was organised by RSPO and WildBound with guidance from the UN CBD COP15 (the fifteenth meeting of the United Nations Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity) Working Group. This landmark competition was focused on the role of global youth in enhancing the awareness of protecting biodiversity and increasing demand for sustainable palm oil. Over 100 entries from youth around the world submitted videos explaining their projects for a chance to win funding opportunities and support. More than 9,000 attendees joined the final virtual event to watch the finalists present their projects.
RSPO extends its heartfelt congratulations to Punasloka and Sanjeevani from India, who are seeking to launch a nationwide Climate Olympiad to impart climate education through reward-based incentives for Indian school students; Yang Yang, a documentary filmmaker from China, whose film showcases her commitment to only consuming sustainable palm oil; and Shell Lin from the United States of America, whose project aims to influence US grocery chains to commit to avoiding commodity-driven deforestation with a focus on palm oil, soy and beef supply chains. These three winning projects will have a chance to present at global events and will also be eligible for seed funding to scale up and/or improve their respective projects.
Championing the youth’s role in biodiversity protection
During the keynote speech, Joko Arif, Senior Advisor for Climate and Land use at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation said, “We need to work together with multi-stakeholders and all people around to make positive impact, and I encourage all to be warm to the people around and keep being positive especially during this pandemic.”
Isabel Nepstad, Founder and Chief Strategist of BellaTerra Consulting, introduced the Changemakers for Nature programme and shared many positive impacts in China. “Changemakers for Nature are expecting more international communication and joint activities in the near future, by working together with the RSPO,” she said.
Online attendees of the event (“Colourful”, “Little Fruit”, “End of the season”, “Smiling”) likewise expressed their enthusiasm, saying, “Amazing! We are glad to see the youth bring a bright future to sustainability”; “It is so inspiring! We have a good start from the younger people”; “I didn’t know we are using so many palm oil products”; “Palm oil is very useful but we need to choose sustainable palm oil!”
The concluding remarks were given by Guan Jing, Programme Manager of the Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center (FECO), Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), People’s Republic of China, who said “The UN CBD COP15 will formulate the ‘Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’ and we strongly support the role of youth as one of the most important stakeholders in global environmental governance, and their active participation in this significant international event will advance the formulation and implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
The winners of the competition will have the opportunity to speak at the RSPO Youth Summit for Sustainable Palm Oil, The UN CBD COP15 and/or other international conferences in the future to make their voice heard among industries, policy makers, consumers and other stakeholders. RSPO champions the leadership and influence of young people on biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and global environmental governance in the future.