China will host the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming city, Yunnan province for the first time in late 2021. Exploring the theme, ‘Ecological Civilisation: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth’, it will be the biggest biodiversity summit in a decade to negotiate an accord for the natural environment similar to the Paris Climate Agreement.

At the pre-session of the NGO Parallel Session of the CBD COP 15 - Towards Kunming: Symposium on Non-State Actor Actions for Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Conservation’ held in Beijing from 25 to 26 July 2021, RSPO was invited by the Global Environment Institute (GEI) to attend a sub-forum of “Transformative Actions and Best Practices in Biodiversity Conservation by Diverse Contributors”. RSPO  Deputy Director of Market Transformation, Kamal Prakash Seth, gave a presentation of “Palm Oil Sustainable Production Standards and Youth Participation in Biodiversity Conservation”, as an opportunity to support  biodiversity conservation. After introducing RSPO and sustainable palm oil, Seth elaborated on the importance of market transformation of palm oil and how sustainable production standards contribute to biodiversity conservation. Finally, Kamal discussed the important role played by the youth in demanding that food and home and personal care products contain sustainable palm oil.

Recognising youth’s role in biodiversity protection

In recent years, the United Nations has recognised young people as a key stakeholder in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). From 19 to 25 July, RSPO’s partner for the youth programme ‘Changemakers for Nature’, WildBound, together with the Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo,  Nanjing City Government and RSPO, led a summer camp for high school students to learn about forest and biodiversity protection and the connection between wildlife and sustainable consumption. 

The “Changemakers for Nature” summer camp was part of a larger initiative leading up to the Nanjing Peace Forum and the UN CBD COP15. Seth carried out a presentation  on RSPO youth programmes aiming to raise awareness of sustainable consumption, sharing experiences from other countries. RSPO Head of North America, Cameron Plese introduced RSPO’s work in North America with zoos such as the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and youth groups like Rainforest Partnership’s ‘Gen Z for the Trees. . RSPO China’s Stakeholder Engagement Representative Wan Jian introduced RSPO’s work in China and the expectation for the  zoos in China, as well as recommendations to the ‘Changemakers for Nature’ during the final workshop.

By working closely with the key stakeholders and partners in China, RSPO is supporting the preparatory work of CBD COP15, and empowering young people with the knowledge and tools to drive real change in supply chains for a more sustainable palm oil industry.

RSPO continues to contribute to the protection of biodiversity and the environment by advancing the production, procurement, and use of sustainable palm oil products as well as minimising the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on local communities in palm oil-producing regions. Join CBD COP15 events to discuss the RSPO’s strategy towards making sustainable palm oil the norm with a wide group of stakeholders in the following months.

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