By Magena Warrior, IMPAC5 Young Professionals Committee member, in collaboration with the IMPAC5 Secretariat
Happy International Youth Day! Did you know that the International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC) events are an opportunity for the global community of marine conservation leaders, managers and practitioners – no matter what age or career stage – to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices to strengthen the conservation of marine biodiversity and protect the natural and cultural heritage of the ocean?
Each year on 12 August, the United Nations (UN) encourages people to celebrate International Youth Day, and this year the theme is ‘Intergenerational Solidarity’. This theme highlights the need to foster collaborative, meaningful, and equitable dialogue across and between generations to work together on global issues such as addressing the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ocean conservation. The theme also focuses on the need to combat ageism as we collaborate to build blue economies, respect Indigenous Peoples leadership and cooperate to create global networks of marine protected areas.
The World Health Organization defines ageism as “the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) directed towards others or oneself, based on age.” According to the UN, intergenerational interventions can be an effective strategy to address age-related barriers caused by the often unaddressed health, human rights, and development issue of ageism.
At IMPAC5, in February 2023, there will be many intergenerational interventions, including visible and embedded young voices in all aspects of the Congress. The IMPAC5 commitment to supporting youth and young leaders of tomorrow is demonstrated in the IMPAC5 stream, “the voice of young professionals,” and the development of the Young Professionals Committee. These will help to ensure that the youth lens is woven throughout the Congress and help to foster intergenerational learning and discussions, build capacity, and improve visibility of young voices and projects.
Additionally, IMPAC5 will host a two-day, in-person pre-congress for young ocean professionals. This event will focus on teambuilding and orientation immediately before the Congress begins. At the Congress itself, there will be a Youth Pavilion, as well as an Intergenerational Mentoring program that will provide a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment to facilitate intergenerational relationship building and knowledge sharing. To learn more about how young professionals will chart a course towards protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030 at IMPAC5, be sure to subscribe to the IMPAC5 newsletter and keep reading IMPAC5 news.
As Sri Lankan marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Asha de Vos once said, “Life is limitless, and it is what we make of it. Be courageous, believe in yourself, support one another, take time to understand each other.”
How can we support one another across generations, and why should we all work together to protect the ocean? Some of the IMPAC5 Young Professionals Committee members share their thoughts on these important questions below.