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EU Roadmap Consultation on Biodiversity Restoration Targets

As the European chapter of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN Europe), we welcome the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and especially the EU Nature Restoration Plan and the commitment to push for a principle of equality in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the CBD. GYBN Europe acknowledges all the work done before us and fully supports all the points in the Position Paper, “Restoring EU’s nature”, which can be read in the attachment. We are especially supportive of the recommendation to “The restoration law should explicitly include obligations for Member States to actively engage the public” (Restoring EU’s nature, page 9).

1. Public participation should always include young people as a major stakeholder

Youth participation in the dialogues, decision-making and actions to tackle the environmental, societal and financial challenges, is necessary to determine whether the planetary conditions that have benefited humanity for thousands of years, will exist beyond this century. As we are entering the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, GYBN Europe firmly recommends that youth involvement should be mainstreamed across all sectors and levels through different initiatives including but not limited to participation of national youth organizations in the planning process and specifically engaging local youth groups in implementation, monitoring and review efforts of restoration plans.

The youth are quick to spot the deficiencies and are in a position to hold society accountable for its promises. If the EU wishes to overturn a history of unkept promises in the environmental field, Member States should be required to grant young people access to decision-making processes. These young stakeholders can be faster to mobilise and renounce any governmental neglect compared to the EU accountability processes - however both actions are equally important and should work together to mutually reinforce their efforts. 2. Young people are not just willing to talk the talk but also walk the talk.

Young people’s participation in decision-making processes should not be limited to inviting them to voice their opinions, but should also allow them to claim roles in the implementation, monitoring and reporting phases that many well-intended biodiversity policies and frameworks have struggled with.

Young professionals can actively contribute to these phases, if accessible tools, grants, capacity-building and mentorship programs, which do not restrict youth autonomy or include bureaucratic hurdles, are established. Lastly, it is also crucial that the spaces created for youth engagement are also accessible to all youth, considering the different degrees of understanding, interest and access to information.

Nature is more resilient and productive with high levels of biodiversity: the environmental sector would benefit from the inclusion of a more diverse range of perspectives. Internships and entry level environmental jobs should be fairly compensated as well as inclusive and accessible for all, especially for young professionals and those from marginalised groups or low-income backgrounds. Ecosystem restoration should be a viable career for anyone and can be a great tool for combating youth unemployment and the rural exodus. NBSAPS and a possible new EU regulation should lay out how governments seek to increase the opportunity for youth employment in conservation and restoration activities, including quantitative targets. 3. GYBN Europe commitment to support restoration

GYBN Europe is committed to providing future generations with the best fighting chance for a resilient, equitable and sustainable world. Therefore, we pledge our support in the robust and fair implementation of the EU Nature Restoration Plan as a necessary step to address the drivers of the climate and biodiversity crises and assist nature in restoring healthy ecosystems that can nurture people’s health and livelihoods.

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