Youth around the globe are celebrating the upcoming International Youth Day on 12 August.
Often tagged as creative, optimistic and passionate, youth play a key role in shaping the future of the world. Indeed, their role in local and global efforts addressing pressing issues, especially regarding environmental concerns, are becoming more widely appreciated.
PEMSEA puts on a great importance on youth engagement in facilitating change for the sustainability of the environment.
"They're the future generation. They're the future leaders. They have to be part of the solution", emphasizes Ms. Aimee Gonzales, the Executive Director of PEMSEA.
"They have to feel ownership. They have to be consulted and be engaged in the setting of the policy and the implementation of policy and programs that involve them."
Asia and the Pacific have the highest number of youth around the world according to the World Bank Atlas 2017. Given their potential and capacity to become agents of change, PEMSEA aims to provide an opportunity for them to be exposed, to learn, and to be advocates of the environment, more specifically, of our shared oceans.
Keeping this in mind, the upcoming East Asian Seas Congress 2018 will host the 5th EAS Youth Forum on 27-29 November at the Iloilo Convention Center, Iloilo City, Philippines. The Youth Forum aims to enhance youth's understanding on the environment's current situation and appreciation of the role they can play in sustainable development and the global ocean agenda.
The forum will gather youth from across the East Asian Region to learn and interact with a roster of high-profile speakers and leaders in ocean and coastal management.
To aid in their own environmental initiatives, youth will have the chance to enhance their skills in terms of project development and management. Topics dealing with sustainable ocean and coastal management such as marine plastics, climate change, and the state, issues, threats and solutions to marine biodiversity will be also discussed.
Speakers include Mr. Titon Mitra, Country Director of UNDP Philippines; Dr. Antonio La Viña, Chair of EAS Partnership Council; Dr. Jenna Jambeck, Associate Professor of the University of Georgia College of Engineering; Dr. Sulan Chen, Programme Advisor of GEF Small Grants Programme; Ms. Anna Oposa, Co-founder and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas (SPS); Mr. Hari Mahardika, Coordinator of Pesisir Mengajar; Mr. Kaisar Akhir, Deputy Secretary-General, Indonesian Maritime Youth Association (APMI) and Mr. Pocholo Miguel Espina, Chief Executive Officer of Sip PH.
Themed “Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda: Active and Engaged Youth”, the event will feature peer-to-peer learning discussions, team-building and creative sessions designed to empower the next generation of young champions for the oceans and coasts.
"It will be a remiss of the older generations if we don't raise awareness on the importance of healthy oceans and coasts for food, jobs and peace and security. With understanding, comes actions.", says Ms. Gonzales.
Ms. Gonzales continues to encourage youth to be engaged and become advocates for the oceans and coasts. She reminds youth, “The world is your oyster. Be hopeful for our future and seize opportunities to shape the future sustainably and responsibly”.