IMPAC5 announces Young Professionals Committee ahead of International Youth Day

Global group of young leaders will help chart the course to protect 30% of the world ocean by 2030

Vancouver, British Columbia – Sixteen exceptional young professionals from around the world are joining the leadership of the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). Chosen through a worldwide competitive selection process, they bring leadership experience, passion for ocean conservation, expertise in marine protection, and a desire to help IMPAC5 change the world for the better.

Young people from all nations and backgrounds are playing ever-more-important roles in leadership, stewardship and decision-making in marine protected areas and ocean conservation as they strive to shape the future that they will inherit. Today—on the eve of International Youth Day—IMPAC5 is proud to announce that a powerful Congress programming stream, by and for young professionals, will be created with these remarkable young leaders at the helm.

Eight of the sixteen Young Professionals Committee members are from Canada, including six Indigenous members from across the country. The remaining eight members come from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North and South America. Between them, they speak eight languages. The Committee is co-chaired by two dynamic young Indigenous leaders. Hillary Hyland is a citizen of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and works for her community as an Environmental Specialist. Sarah Hanson is Anishinaabe of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and works as the North American Regional Director with Youth4Nature.

As they help shape the agenda of IMPAC5, the Committee will also ensure that the voices of young leaders from the global marine protected area (MPA) community, Indigenous groups and other related backgrounds will be heard at the Congress and well beyond.

Youth engagement is a priority for all organizations supporting IMPAC5. By including the voices of young professionals from around the world, IMPAC5 will influence and inspire the next generation of ocean stewards from diverse backgrounds who will help protect 30 percent of the world’s ocean by 2030. 

IMPAC5 will take place in Vancouver, Canada from 23-30 June, 2022 in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Congress will be presented by the Host First Nations—xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh)—together with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), and the governments of Canada and British Columbia.

A call for proposals was launched on 14 June, 2021 for presentations that address the challenges and issues facing the global ocean. Proposals will be accepted until 20 September, 2021.

For the latest news on the Congress, please visit www.IMPAC5.ca and follow IMPAC5 on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.


“IMPAC5 is where we will come together to take a stand to protect the world ocean. Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure young voices, ideas and opinions are woven throughout the narrative of international gatherings like IMPAC5. Young people are choosing nature-based solutions to address the climate crisis and protect blue nature. I’m excited to work with this dynamic group of young people as we prepare for IMPAC5 in June 2022.”

– Sabine Jessen, Executive Director, IMPAC5 Secretariat

Quick facts

  • Held approximately every four years, IMPAC Congresses are a collaborative effort between the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the chosen host country. Canada was awarded the honour of hosting IMPAC5 during the closing ceremonies of IMPAC4 in La Serena-Coquimbo, Chile (2017). Previous IMPAC Congresses were held in Marseille, France (2013); Washington, D.C., United States of America (2009); and Geelong, Australia (2005).

Associated Links


Benjamin Stanford
Communications Manager,
Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5)
+1 604-347-8754


Youth and Indigenous perspectives will help shape and participate in thematic discussions at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5). The goal is to significantly increase the number of young people who participate at this congress and to set a high bar for youth attendance at international conferences beyond IMPAC5. The Young Professionals Committee will work to ensure that young leaders from the international marine protected area (MPA) community, Indigenous groups and other related backgrounds will be heard at IMPAC5 and well beyond. 

Six out of the 16 Young Professional Committee members are Indigenous; two members are from Canada; and the remaining eight members come from Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America.  Inclusion of Indigenous perspectives will help ensure traditional knowledge at the Congress. 

The Young Professional Committee is multilingual, with members who speak English, French, German, Haida, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish. The 16 young professionals come from geographically diverse backgrounds and represent IMPAC5’s priority to ensure that Indigenous and international young professionals play leadership roles at the Congress.

These candidates were chosen due to their involvement in their communities, the networks they lead and their expertise in marine conservation. 

The IMPAC5 Young Professionals Committee are:

NameCountryIndigenous Nation 
Achare Elvis AyambaCameroon 
Erin BlondeauCanada, BCCowichan Métis Nation
Rayne BoykoCanada, BCHaida Nation
Caleigh Delle PalmeCanada, ON 
Carilia HorningCanada, BCGitxsan Nation
Paden LennieCanada, NWTInuvialuit
Cécile TangCanada, QC 
Magena WarriorCanada, BCMétis Nation
Melissa WhiteCanada, ONWauzhushk Onigum Nation
Uraia Matatolu MakulauFiji lslands 
Yandeh Sallah-MuhammedGambia 
Olivia LivingstoneLiberia 
Fabio Arturo López AlfaroMexico 
Thomas DallisonUnited Kingdom 
Sean RussellUnited States, DC 
Ruth MthembuSouth Africa