There is a need to pave the way for youth to become more involved in conservation matters, noted Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of African Wildlife Foundation. He was speaking during the closing session of the first African Protected Areas Congress (APAC) that took place in Kigali from July 18 to 23 with more than 2,000 delegates. The APAC concluded with a Kigali Call to Action that highlighted recommendations from different interest groups, such as the need for financing conservation projects, active inclusion of youth and indigenous people, and the request to African Union Commission to declare July 18 of each year as African Protected and Conserved Areas Day. Sebunya cited that the future is for the youth and generations to come, hence, “the honour is on us, not to empower them but we just need to get out of the way.” “The youth must need to lead the way by tapping into new ideas driven by technology to chart a new path in the conservation journey,” he added. He encouraged young people to step up and disrupt the system of conservation and commit to continuous exposure so that their voices can be heard. Sophumelela Qoma, a youth delegate from South Africa, told The New Times that it is evident that their voices are still not heard appropriately yet they are doing a lot of work that is not spotlighted. “They (leaders) need to stop seeing us as problem causers every time we speak but instead as people who have solutions to bring to the table,” she said. In her remarks, Jeanne D’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, said: “We have recommitted to put people at the centre of conservation and I know the impact of APAC will be felt by generations to come.” The trust fund seeks $200bn for a pan-African trust fund that would ensure sufficient and sustained financing for all of Africa’s 8,500 protected and conserved areas in perpetuity. The conference, co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the African Wildlife Conservation (AWF), saw more than 80 African and overseas countries represented.