15 December, 2019

Youth Camp Highlights Biodiversity Conservation

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By: June Cadalig-Batang-ay

Indigenous youth representatives celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) by enhancing their awareness on biodiversity conservation through interactive dialogues, photo essays and seed and cultural exchange in a youth camp held in Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines on May 21-23, 2018.

“Indigenous Peoples have a very long and tight relationship with their environment,” Jaime Dugao, the Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative of Sagada said, in his welcome address to the 31 youth campers who came from 13 partner communities of Tebtebba. He also challenged the youth to become environmental stewards in biodiversity and environmental management.



The camp, which was organized by the Ugnayang Pambansa para sa Katutubong Kaalaman at Talino (UPAKAT) Inc. in collaboration with Tebtebba, Pidlisan Tribe Organization (PITO) and the Local Government of Sagada, Mountain Province is a part of the global celebration of the  annual day of biodiversity with this year’s theme: “Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity” to mark the 25thanniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

A month before the activity, a photo-essay competition was launched and invited youth representatives of partner organizations who are interested in photography to submit their photo entries accompanied by a short essay in relation to the theme. Those who have participated in the photo-essay competition have been invited to participate in the activity. All submitted photo-essay were displayed at the venue of the activity and were presented during the first day of the activity where the municipal mayor also welcomed the campers.

The interactive discussions were facilitated by Tebtebba staff and the participants had conversations about their identity as indigenous peoples and their indigenous knowledge, systems and practices (IKSP), the link of biodiversity  to climate change and the different ecosystem services that nature contributes to the overall human wellbeing. June Cadalig-Batang-ay also gave an overview of the basic concept of biodiversity, benefits people get from biological resources, status of biodiversity, threats, and conservation approaches. She emphasized the values of biodiversity and the role that indigenous peoples, women and youth plays to conserve biodiversity.

The camp also included a transect walk for the participants where they passed by the backyard gardens, rice fields, community sugar mills and the mining site of the community. The transect allowed the participants to appreciate and identify possible threats of   the different flora and fauna in the forest and grassland ecosystem of the community. This was followed by an interaction of the campers with community members to learn how the community depend on nature and its products and how they manage their natural resources.

The participants interacted with the representatives from the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) and the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council office) who shared their programs and activities on environmental conservation and protection, the challenges that the municipality faces regarding conservation and the existing instruments and actions taken for the conservation of biodiversity.

The activity culminated with a seed and cultural exchange to encourage the youth to plant local species of plants and contributed songs and dances from their communities, respectively. Most of the participants reflected that they have gained a lot of information and realized the importance of conserving, preserving and sustainable utilization of biodiversity. Some even decided to create their own biodiversity campaign to promote in their communities.