20 Mar Inspiring Southeast Asia’s Youth to Protect Marine Wildlife

CTC Executive Director Rili Djohani was one of the guest speakers at the World Wildlife Day Regional Youth Symposium, held in Singapore from March 3 – 4, 2023. The event was attended by 200 youth from 15 countries (including all 10 ASEAN Member States). Two CTC staff members, Adam Putra and Cikal Qalnar, also attended the event, which was opened by Desmond Lee, Singapore’s Minister of National Development. 

NParks’ Youth Stewards for Nature organized  the World Wildlife Day Regional Youth Symposium 2023 last weekend in Singapore. #WorldWildlifeDay last week commemorated the first signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna CITES. Themed ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’, the #wwdsymposium event celebrated the 50th anniversary of CITES, anchor and grow the youth conservation network in Southeast Asia, encourage environmental stewardship, and raise awareness of nature conservation in Southeast Asia. 

Ms. Djohani presented her ocean story and shared how she was inspired to protect the oceans and marine life during her youth. She then shared about the rich marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle region, the charismatic marine animals that call the region its home, as well as the threats they are facing, and the  important role of youth in protecting the Coral Triangle’s oceans. 

“It was an honour and so much fun to share my ocean story and present our work in the Coral Triangle alongside other speakers to over 170 youths from around the region. Their energy, commitment and passion was so inspiring to see and provided an electrifying atmosphere in the auditorium. Fabulous how this generation of emerging leaders is already engaging in many ways in conservation”. Said CTC’s Executive Director, Rili Djohani.

The conference also included speakers who spoke about protecting endangered wildlife in Southeast Asia. Participants also had the opportunity to share their own ideas and experiences, as well as to learn from others and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing wildlife conservation today. By the end of the discussion, participants collaborate to craft a pledge that reflects their shared values and goals, and which includes actionable steps that they can take to contribute to wildlife conservation efforts and write it on paper. 

On day two, Adam and Cikal wrapped up their participation in the youth conference by attending a half-day workshop each. Cikal attended a workshop called “Conserving Southeast Asia’s Most Threatened” by Mandai Nature at Singapore Zoo, while Adam joined “Storytelling Through the Lens” by Jayaprakash Bojan, who is an ambassador for Borneo Orangutan Survival Deutschland and a NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year awardee in 2017, at Pasir RIS Park.

World Wildlife Day (WWD) celebrates the world’s wild animal and plant species. It also commemorates the first signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 3 March 1973.  Through the event, CTC was able to connect with youth from various backgrounds and organizations, creating opportunities for positive networking. The symposium was a fitting celebration of World Wildlife Day and raised awareness of youths about the importance of preserving our planet’s biodiversity.

Writers: Adam Putra & Cikal Qalnar
Photos: Adam Putra/CTC & Cikal Qalnar/CTC

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