Sunday, October 31, 2010


The delegates to the COP10 biodiversity conference concluded agreements early Saturday on access to genetic resources, preserving biodiversity over the next decade, and strategies to mobilize financial resources to meet these goals.  

Convention on Biological Diversity President Ahmed Djoghlaf expressed his commitment to establishing a focal point for youth in the CBD to better engage them in the process.  This is the direct result of the hard work and lobbying by international youth.  These students are now working toward COP 11, slated for 2012 in India.

Youth had many opportunities to participate in the COP 10 activities.  The organization POWER from Canada worked with several groups, giving them an opportunity to present during their side event.  Thank you POWER for your help with this.

Biodiversity in Japan

While in Japan, I was lucky to be able to explore all sorts of neat habitats. While visiting Lake Biwa and the surrounding wetlands covered in reeds I was able to see many birds such as Grey Herons. We also visited the Lake Biwa museum where we got to see some of the fish found in Lake Biwa. Lake Biwa, one of the world's ancient lakes has 60 endemic species!

We were also fortunate enough to visit a semi-mountainous nature conservation area! It was going to be turned into a golf course but it is now being conserved. There were huge spiders everywhere! Sadly it was rainy so I didn't get to see any of the many dragonflies found there but we did find a neat salamander!

COP10- The next steps...

Over the next few weeks we will be exploring how the Conference of the Parties (COP) will be moving forward now that the Nagoya event is behind us.  The youth have an important voice with the Convention on Biodiversity and this voice must continue to be heard.   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

COP10- 5 Minute Presentation with POWER (October 26, 2010)

After doing our Biodiversity Matters Side Event presentation we then had great opportunity to get 5 minute to once again present our Youth Accord on Biodiversity. We only had five minutes so we had to change our presentation to only keep our main goal very obvious which is the Youth Accord. Both Christina and I presented the main part, with some help from Lemuel Vega, who talked about the 1st Youth Symposium on Biodiversity. I would like to thank David for the opportunity to present at P.O.W.E.R.S side event and learn about the other projects happening around the world.

COP10- Summary of Tuesday, October 26th "The Big Day!"

Waking up on Tuesday, October 26th was a stressful morning. We got to the Conference with plenty of time, around 9:30 am and figured out what time and where our side event was. We then had to make hand outs and little posters to inform people we had a side event about our Youth Accord. After doing all that running around, we went over our presentation with the girls from New Brunswick to figure out who says what. We got all of notes ready and had just enough time for lunch. After lunch we had time to talk to Lemuel Vega and Enrique Benavides group from Mexico to give them of time to present there project too. The presentation went great and we collected some more signatures.

Nagoya 2010: LifeWeb Partnership Gives Multi-Million Dollar Boost to Protected Areas

Spain-UNEP LifeWeb Partnership to Raise Incomes and Improve Conservation in Protected Areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America

Nagoya, 28 October 2010-More than fifteen protected areas, including one managing monk seals off Mauritania and another in Sumatra that is home to orangutans, tigers and elephants, are to receive a US$6.8 million conservation boost.
Today, at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, the government of Spain and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced a new partnership for protected areas under the LifeWeb initiative.
The partnership, supporting mainly low income and developing countries, aims to deliver benefits not just for biodiversity but for communities living in and around protected areas.
For example, in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some of the funds will support improved health services for local people.
In Panama and El Salvador, support to the Mesoamerican terrestrial protected areas will help develop innovative economic and legal instruments to promote sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems through their social and economic values, and the ecosystem services.
The partnership will also support the establishment of new protected areas that in turn can generate new streams incomes for local people. This includes improving links between existing national parks and marine reserves in West Africa to create a protected area network for sea turtles, in Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.
Teresa Ribera, Spain's Secretary of State for Climate Change, said: "The growth in Protected Areas is one of the real success stories of conservation over the past half century. The challenge is to ensure that as many as possible of these around 100,000 sites are well-managed and in a way that maximizes livelihood and income opportunities for people alongside securing the biodiversity and economically-important ecosystems found at such important sites.


Our good friend Rieko has been working for some time on owl conservation in her country.  Usually she goes up to a local mountain once or twice a month, but unfortunately frequent bear sightings have prevented her from visiting.  Yesterday she attended an environment seminar in Nagano City.  Also, they have had the first snow of the season (See image)!  Thanks for the update Rieko! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Chafic had the opportunity today to meet some very interesting people and show them our Youth Accord!

 Harrison Ford

Japan's Environment Minister

Music at reception

Traditional costume

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

COP10 Presentation Officially Done

What a stressful day! From figuring out what needs to be done, to inviting people to come to our side event. Last minute stress was tough, but all went well. Really enjoyed the experience! Great success. Here are the pictures, I am off to bed, more info tomorrow! :D

Monday, October 25, 2010

Update from Clara and Emily

On Saturday, Clara, Christina and I had the opportunity to travel to Sheiga Prefecture and visit the Lake Biwa area. After touring the Lake Biwa museum and seeing some of the beautiful scenery of Japan, we met up with the host families we were to be staying with for the night. In the Lake Biwa community, it is common to have what is called a "kabata". It is a sort of traditional kitchen where the water pours from a spout coming from an underground source. The water is called "shozu" and it is delicious! The "sink" part of the kitchen is divided into three tiers. The first has the cleanest water and is mainly used to drink and rinse vegetables. As the water flows through the tiers, it gets less and less pure. In the bottom tier are carp fish! They are used to clean the water by eating particles of food in it and are considered pets. This water then flows through a drainage system throughout the village, always populated with carp for purifying.
It was an extremely interesting part of Japanese culture to experience, and we all loved seeing a more rural side of the country. Thank you to our fantastic host family, who were warm and welcoming.


Update from Japan

It's a busy day at COP 10 today. After a few days of exploring Japan and it's amazing biodiversity it is really exciting to finally be at COP 10.

The culture in Japan is so different from Canada! Everyone is extremely polite and willing to help. Our group from New Brunswick was lucky enough to stay with with a family in a rural area and experience first hand the culture here.

The food here has been quite different from at home, very salty and fishy! The biodiversity is lush and exciting, we've seen everything from brightly coloured crabs to grey herons.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

COP10 UPDATES (A Canadian youth perspective)

So this is a summary of one Canadian delegate- Chafic
Youth have been meeting everyday at 7:45pm.
Chafic went to Mount Fuji this weekend and had a great time and met a lot of awesome delegates. 
Youth presented a statement at the Plenary on Friday which was well received by all the delegates.
Chafic will be attending the high level segments this week. Our side events on the Youth Accord are tomorrow at  2:15-3:00 pm, first floor building 2 Cepa Fair.  POWER will present at 4:30-6:00 pm in room 210.

Day 4 of our excursion in Japan, Shrine and First tea Ceremony

I am so tired after what we did today. It might not have been alot but I still don’t think my body is adjusted to the 13 hour time difference. I get tired at 4 and want to rest. Enough about sleeping, now to what I did today. Well, we arrived to a parking lot this morning, and all our tour guides told us we are going to take the rope way down to a very secluded Shrine. At that point I was a little confused and thought we where going to zip line to the Shrine, well I was wrong. The whole group fitted into a big gondola. We then traversed to this magnificent Shrine that this year is going to be marked as a national treasure. The Shrine’s name is Kunozan Toshogu. After an incredible visit through the Shrine we drove to a building surrounded by a Japanese Garden, to experience a traditional Green Tea Ceremony, where they are very meticulous with the process of drinking tea. How many bows and how many times you sip your tea are very important. I also found out that I am not the biggest fan of green tea but it was an interesting experience.  Jessica

Picture at the tea ceremony

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Fall is a special time of year here in Canada, with colours as rich as a rainbow's arch.  With a day time high of only 8°C, life is slowing down for a long winter's nap.  Birds are migrating south and the last of the flowers and trees are showing off.  Here are some images taken this morning:

The mighty Oak

A kiss of colour from the New England Aster

Geometrid Moth

Evening Primrose bursting with flowers.

White-throated Sparrow contemplating his migration route.

Bull Thistle

My feathery friend- a Black-Capped Chickadee!

A grove of Aspens with golden leaves

Mike Leveille

Day 3: WOW What a site

Today was one of those days where you are left speechless. I got to travel with the COP 10 excursions. Today I went and saw these gorgeous waterfalls (as you can see in the pictures), the water is coming down from the top of Mt. Fuji. After going to the waterfalls I got to go up to the fifth station on Mt. Fuji. Not only did I get to see some amazing things, like lava rocks, but I also got to meet some very interesting people from different countries like Madagascar, Indonesia, who are also attending the COP 10. I talked with a Youth leader today, found out the exciting things that they are working on. I am looking forward to my first Youth meeting. I can’t wait till tomorrow, I will get to visit a Shrine. (Having trouble putting up photos) Jessica

Day 2: The day has finally come!

It feels like it has been forever but the day has finally come. I have officially registered to be a part of the COP 10 conference. I was shocked at how big this conference really is. We attended the plenary, and got to listen to the President for Japan speak on Biodiversity and the Conference. Checked into my very first traditional Japanese Hotel, where I am sleeping on a futon on the ground with a bean bag pillow. We are waiting for the girls from New Brunswick to arrive at the Hotel, aren't they going to be surprised! (Having trouble putting up photos) Jessica

Friday, October 22, 2010

Raptors By The Million

Number of counted raptors to date this season
 I was on Ancon Hill in Panama and I got to meet Laura Reyes, an amazing woman, who taught me all about the raptor migration through Panama. I am really passionate about these migratory birds of prey.
The counters told me they had seen a Cooper's Hawk which is very rare for Panama.  This bird should not have even been in the country. It came here by accident and was perhaps off course due to the wind.
Thousands of birds are in groups while migrating. They circle above in thermals (columns of hot air) until they soar high enough. Then they glide to catch the next thermal. They are coming from North America because all their food sources will go into hibernation. They stock up on food before coming through Central America. They fast the whole journey and do not excrete anything so they don't make a mess.  They do not fly at night, they do not fly when it is raining, and they only fly over land.
Cerro Ancon or Ancon Hill is a favourite area while the raptors migrate, because of the specific thermals and the rainforest corridors.

A few days later, when I went up Cerro Ancon, I got to help count the raptors with a special counter. We count  by tens so if my counter indicates 15 that would be equal to 150 birds.
There are over a million raptors that have passed by since the beginning of October.
A very dedicated counter team goes up every day to count the birds from October 1st until November 18th. They have to record many things during their studies every hour. They record the following: wind velocity, wind direction, temperature, cloud coverage, visibility, precipitation, flight direction, flight distance, # of observers, observation time, and numbers of birds, sometimes classified by different species.

There are 14 different species of migratory raptors that migrate through Panama to South America.
I got to meet one of the top birders in Panama on Ancon Hill.
Raptors in spanish is Rapaces.  Also, the name of their project is "Rapaces de océano a océano"  
I would like to thank Laura Reyes and the rest of the birders that were on Ancon Hill from the Audubon Society of Panama for all the great information that went into this post.

Mr. Panamá    

Poster on Cerro Ancon

Laura Reyes- Coordinator of the Panama Raptors Count

These are all the migratory species migrating through Panama


A huge thank you to Ralph, Christina, Emily, Clara, and all who contributed to this Youth Accord poster for COP10 in Japan!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 1 in Japan: Jess W.M

What a long trip, over 16 hours of sitting in a plane really takes a tole on you. Going from Ottawa to Chicago, Chicago to Tokyo, Tokyo to Nagoya. Then we took a train to where are right now, a village called Takayama. The train system in Japan must be the best in the world. Got a good night sleep in Takayama but not long enough. We woke up early to travel to a near by village called Shirakawa-go Village, where we got to see what it was like for traditional farmers with thatched roofs. What an experience. We also go to tour the mountain, and got to see some amazing waterfalls and fall colours. We had our first Rama noodle meal for dinner and lunch. Also the Japanese people are very friendly but I still cant read a single sign! Tomorrow I am off to register at COP 10. :)

Extra Extra Read All About It!!

The youth currently attending the Tenth Conference of the Parties took part in a public demonstration to promote the target of 0 biodiversity loss by 2020. Youth from Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Belgium among others joined hands in forming a clear message to the delegates. Human induced biodiversity loss must be stopped by 2020. The demonstration is an exquisite example of youth cooperation, and proving there is hope for the future.


Our Keepers are delighted to announce the birth of one of our latest offspring at the park. On October 19th three pied tamarin infants were born and despite the fact that one of the litter did not survive the two remaining babies are now thriving.

Commenting on the new arrivals Mammal keeper Jenna Pick said “The birth of these two infants is fantastic; it represents a great boost to the health of the captive population.”

Deputy Head of Mammals Dominic Wormell said that In the wild, the species is becoming increasingly threatened as it is only found in and around the city of Manaus in Brazil. Over the last ten years the city has expanded greatly impacting on the forest habitat of the Pied Tamarins. Along with its conservation breeding programme Durrell is supporting those working out in the field to conserve this fantastic little monkey of the Amazon.”  Images above from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.

For more information on these rare babies please check

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

COP10 UPDATE: Temples vs. Meetings

Today was one of the longest, most rewarding days I have thus far in Japan. I woke up before the sun and quickly found myself in a peaceful park in front of a five-story temple. It was beautiful and I was able to attend a morning Buddhist ceremony. Then I went to the Congress Center for a working group meeting surrounding climate change and biodiversity. This is where all of the attending Parties (countries) can make statements and negotiate the documents that are intended to protect biodiversity. Following this I was able to go to the Nagoya Castle to absorb a little bit of the culture of Japan and learn about the history of this national treasure. After this quick adventure I attended two side events, one on coral reefs, and the other on the launch of the biodiversity badge. I finished off my day chairing the international youth meeting. I am not only learning valuable information at this conference on various environmental topics, but also becoming more aware on the conference functions. In addition I feel as though I am actually contributing to change. I am thrilled that I can help produce the platform in which other youth can take my place in the future. I am hoping that there are other passionate children out there that will help in the fight to protect biodiversity and our precious earth.


Something for us all to think about:

Assembled at this historical Aichi-Nagoya biodiversity summit, we the 16,000 participants assembled today from all over the world, representing the 193 Parties and their partners, are called upon to address the unprecedented loss of biodiversity seriously compounded by global warming. To do so, let us have the courage to look in the eyes of our children and admit that we have failed, individually and collectively, to fulfil the Johannesburg promise made to them by the 110 Heads of State and Government to substantially reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Let us look in the eyes of our children and admit that we continue to lose biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, thus mortgaging their future.

Ahmed Djoghlaf (CBD Executive Secretary)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation and land degradation addressed as a single challenge at the Aichi Nagoya Biodiversity Summit

As the challenges—and solutions—to climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation and the degradation of the world’s drylands, are interlinked and cannot be addressed in a compartmentalized approach. To this end the three United Nations conventions born at the Rio Summit and the Global Environment Facility have teamed up with 15 partners including Governments, international organizations and civil society organizations to develop a platform to raise public awareness and share information at their respective conferences of the Parties in the lead up to the Rio+20 Summit .

The ―Rio Conventions’ Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion – Linking biodiversity, climate change, forests and sustainable land management‖ will debut at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will take place in Nagoya, Japan, from 18 to 29 October. Launched during the International Year of Biodiversity, the Pavilion will provide a space for delegates, representatives from non-governmental organizations, business and civil society to discuss solutions and approaches to a range of interconnected issues over the two week period.


The final count for Blog Action Day stands at over 5,600 bloggers from 143 countries, reaching more than 40 million readers. It was a remarkable display of support for an issue that gets woefully little coverage in the mainstream media. Thank you for your support on this important issue.  Check out

St- Laurent Academy School students in Canada speak to Youth Delegates at COP10

A special thank you to Biodiversitymatters youth delegates Kirsten, Chafic, David and Jessica for helping to answer the questions of a group of Grade 6, 7, and 8 students from Ottawa's St-Laurent Academy Elementary and Junior High school.  A 13 hour difference with one group waking up and the other group going to bed!  Skype is an amazing tool!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Food and Life at COP10 in Japan- by Chafic

My daily Breakfast, usually looks like this, Its pretty good considering it is included with our hotel so yeah :) its pretty good.
So far I've tried 3 different types of Wasps, Raw Jellyfish, Squid, Octopus, Flat fish, Lots of sushi and rice!
The language is one of the hardest things to coop with when in Japan, not a lot of people know english that well, and most of the restaurants don't have english translation, SOO in other words If there are no pictures for the food its a complete surprise. So yes, Its been a great and different experience.
I quiet enjoy it here, Met a lot of great delegates and youth's, plan on seeing more of the city before I leave hopefully as time between conference and sleep has been quite limited but its been a whole new experience for me and I've learned soo much within the last few days.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


1. MEXICO- 2659
2. CANADA- 1135
4. SPAIN- 88
6. UGANDA- 54
7. CHINA- 20



This is my second day in Japan and I already feel like I have done so much. I also have this feeling that there is so much to accomplish by youth in these two short weeks. I started my first day in Japan by heading over to the Convention Centre where the meetings would be taking place. It was my first experience in the Japanese culture, and it was definitely an adventure. I took the underground all around, they have tracks on top of each other and it is like an underground world. Once at the Convention Centre I met up with many different youth from Japan, Uganda, Indonesia, USA and Canada. We were kindly invited by the Japanese youth to be part of a demonstration they had put together. We used banners and our selves to create the message “Halt Biodiversity Loss By 2020”. It was photographed and filmed by the media and was on the front page of the Nagoya paper today (Oct 18th). I then was able to join the youth again to have a three-hour meeting to create our opening statement. The youth that are here at this conference are determined to make a difference and are thrilled by the acceptance of the Convention. I am excited about our progress and see a great future ahead of us ensuring that the youth voice is always heard.


This weekend was WORLD FOOD DAY (October 16, 2010). 

The theme of this year’s observance is United against hunger, chosen to recognize the efforts made in the fight against world hunger at national, regional and international levels. Uniting against hunger becomes real when state and civil society organizations and the private sector work in partnership at all levels to defeat hunger, extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Did you know that less than 3% of the 250 000 plant species available to agriculture are in use today.  (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)