Nineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity

02.06.21 | News
natur och utropstece
Maria Uleskog/Marengdeluxe
As one of the wealthiest parts of the world, the Nordic Region has no excuses. The countries simply must meet their targets for the next global agreement on biodiversity. To do so, they need to set up independent expert bodies that evaluate environmental policies and include young people in the decision-making. These are some of the demands laid out in the “Nordic Youth Position paper on Biodiversity”, to which around 3000 young people provided input.

The position paper containing 19 specific demands was handed over to the environment and climate ministers today. 

“This project has shown that many young people are deeply concerned about the loss of biodiversity and are willing to take action. Now is the time for the Nordic governments to take the lead in the fight for a global agreement that will actually solve the problem,” says Emma Susanna Turkki, Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network in Denmark.     

A “Paris Agreement for nature” 

There are only five months left until the UN summit on biodiversity, at which a new biodiversity agreement will be negotiated. If circumstances allow, it will be held in October in Kunming, China.

According to the young people behind the position paper, the new agreement needs to be a “Paris Agreement for nature”, with legally binding commitments and regular follow-ups.  

They also advocate an international law against ecocidal crimes as one way to stop large-scale damage to the environment.

Rich and well-organised countries such as those in the Nordic Region have a great responsibility, both to drive progress and to help poorer countries finance the preservation of nature and biodiversity, they write. 


The Nordic Region must make demands

“We want the Nordic governments to advocate strongly for a mechanism that guarantees that the nations of the world will receive adequate support to meet the agreed targets. We can’t afford to fail again,” says Gustaf Zachrisson, Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network in Sweden.

The Nordic countries’ environmental impact is too high, and the paper calls for greater incentives to reduce unnecessary consumption and boost the circular economy in the Region,   for example, an environmental-impact tax on production.

Holding governments to account

The young people propose that all the Nordic countries set up independent expert bodies to look at whether their policies promote progress toward the targets in the biodiversity agreement similar to the Swedish Climate Policy Council or the Danish Council on Climate Change. 

Several of the proposals relate to involving young people and representatives of the Nordic indigenous peoples in international negotiations and policy-making at national level.   

In the same way as at the climate negotiations, representatives of young people in the Nordic Region should be part of the national negotiating delegations.   

Nordic youth network involved in the negotiations 

The 19 demands in the position paper are the result of a two-year process involving almost 3,000 people aged 16–30, workshops, webinars with politicians and experts and a survey on young people’s attitudes to biodiversity (2,200 respondents from all over the Nordic Region).  

An editorial team from the Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network compiled the position paper. 

The Network will spend the next few months discussing the proposals in the position paper in public and winning support for them from the Nordic governments. A group of representatives of young people from the Nordic countries will convey the 19 demands when they take part in the final negotiations.