A teenager from Cameroon (foreground) and a girl from Canada (background) at the UN Summit for Life on Earth (Convention on Biological Diversity.) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Many of the world's ancient forests are being logged towards
oblivion. The culprits are logging companies, often acting
illegally, which are turning thousand-year-old forests into quick
profits. The members of our Kids for Forests Delegation see this
destruction of our shared future in their own regions. They have
come to Malaysia, to the meeting of the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD), to convince politicians to turn words into
One of the delegates Omanie Sakespeso, 18 came all the way from
Papua New Guinea to plead with delegates to help save his home from
international logging companies:
forest is my life and logging companies are taking my life away.
The creeks that we used for medicine are contaminated and our
burial sites have been destroyed by heavy bulldozers."
Omanie pleaded with the delegates: "You must carry out your duty
and protect my last remaining tropical rainforest. It is my first
time out of my country and I came all this way to tell you that you
need to take action now."
Forests - furniture or a future?
At the last CBD in The Hague, 2002, delegates heard politicians
promise to stop the destruction of species worldwide by 2010. In
that time Kids for Forests have continued their campaign to elevate
the level of awareness among their peers on the issues of forest
destruction and ocean degradation.
Buer, 21 from Germany who gave a speech in The Hague two years ago
is not impressed with the lack of action taken by the international
"Two years ago in The Hague I stood before you. Two years ago
you promised to stop the loss of life on earth. But in two years
nothing has changed.
"I am deeply disappointed, but I am back. Because young people
never give up fighting for their future and because I still believe
this place is the right place to make the change.
promise is worth nothing, if you allow the ancient forests to be
boiled to paper or turned into furniture. Your promise is worth
nothing, if there isn't an outcry among you, when huge fleets of
ships take everything out of the oceans unregulated, undocumented
The Kids for Forests youth delegation consists of around 30
young people between 13 and 20 years of age, coming from 13
countries around the world: from Australia/Pacific, Austria,
Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, Russia,
Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. Two to three young people from
each country are invited, accompanied by one Greenpeace
Clara ended her speech with a promise of action: "We are doing
our part. Now, it's your responsibility to set the course for a
global network of protected areas. And let the people affected,
especially indigenous people like Omanie, take part in the
Worth Fighting for
for Forests and Greenpeace are fighting for protected areas at the
CBD in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Protected areas are the backbone of
conserving life on Earth. It is widely agreed that, if we want to
halt that loss of countless plants and animals that are threatened
with extinction, we need an effective system of protected areas in
every country and throughout the world.
The CBD commits each nation to establish such a system. But this
goal has not been met: the system of protected areas is not
comprehensive, it does not represent enough of nature's biological
diversity and it is not big enough.
We want the governments to adopt a strong programme of work on
protected areas with strict targets, specific timelines and clearly
identified responsibilities. We want them to tell us who (which
country, which political institution) is doing what, by when, and
how they plan to establish a global network of protected areas.
These are the demands of future generations, of children who
don't see the words "biodiversity" on a piece of paper but the
lives of the orang-utans, forest deer, monkeys, gorillas, and birds
that share their world -- and whose homes are threatened in exact
proportion to the threat to our own future.
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