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The PEMSEA Youth Program

For the 2022 photo and video competition, see here.

PEMSEA puts great importance on youth engagement in promoting true sustainability of our shared seas, specifically in managing the coastal and marine resources and in the success of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). With this in mind, the PEMSEA Youth Program was launched to provide a venue for the youth to learn, be exposed, and become empowered advocates of the shared oceans. 

The Youth Program engages and empowers youth leaders across the region to take ownership of the health of coasts and oceans in East Asia and to enable their capacity to contribute to ICM at the local level and serve as ocean champions both in their communities and throughout the region. Through the activities, young leaders can enhance their skills and professional development to become effective integrated coastal management (ICM) practitioners.

PEMSEA Network of Young Leaders (PNYL)

One of the essential components of the Youth Program is the PEMSEA Network of Young Leaders (PNYL), which was launched during the Fifth EAS Youth Forum held 27-30 November in Iloilo City, Philippines. The PNYL is responsible for carrying out the Youth Program's policy, advocacy, and campaigns, in coordination with the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF). 

The pioneer batch of the PNYL consists of 70 members from 13 different countries. The PNYL is headed by the elected PNYL Captain, John Carl Alonsagay, who will represent the Council as a whole. Other elected council members serve as official Country Representatives, and act as contact persons between the PNYL and their respective countries in coordinating and promoting the PEMSEA Youth Programme.

East Asian Seas Youth Forum

The EAS Youth Forum (YF) is held every three years as one of the major events of the EAS Congress. The forum highlights the youth’s crucial role in the sustainable development of the Seas of East Asia. Launched in 2006, the YF serves as a platform for young leaders in the region to become stronger environmental advocates and collaborate on innovative solutions for managing coasts and oceans. It is an opportunity for youth to extend their network, learn, interact and share youth-led initiatives and best practices, not only with their co-delegates, but also with various stakeholders, thought leaders, and ICM practitioners who can impart knowledge and inspire future projects.

At the recently concluded Fifth EAS Youth Forum, 70 young leaders from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, RO Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam gathered to showcase their initiatives contributing to the achievement of the SDGs, enhance their skills and strengthen their role in the sustainable development of the oceans and coasts.

Small Grant Competition

The PEMSEA Youth Programme aims to ensure the active engagement of youth in working towards the global ocean agenda. Through the Youth Small Grants Programme, PEMSEA awards up to US$ 2,000 for the implementation of project proposals for the sustainable development of the coastal and marine areas in the EAS region.

The first awardee of the Youth Grant in 2015 was Enggar Wardani, a student at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia, for a “Blue Action Community Project” involving mangrove restoration and environmental education. In 2017, the grant was awarded to SIP PH, a social enterprise youth group based in Manila, Philippines which promotes the reduction of plastic pollution at its source.

Links with PEMSEA Country Programmes

Several young leaders are already actively involved in ICM activities in their local area, including in data collection activities for baseline assessments. Some youth leaders have even graduated to positions as full-time ICM Project Management officers with a direct hand in implementing ICM projects. In some cases, youth participants can apply their ICM experience at PEMSEA sites for credit to fulfill their academic requirements.

Through the PEMSEA Secretariat and the PEMSEA Youth Coordinator, the PNYL will be informed of all PEMSEA Country Programmes happening on their respective countries, which need youth involvement such as coastal clean-up, mangrove rehabilitation, and coral reef surveys.

Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

Sustaining participation, collaboration and sharing of knowledge among the young leaders is an important plank of the PEMSEA Youth Program. A Facebook Page and a Weibo Page is being maintained as a venue where stories can be shared and request for advice can be heard.

Collaboration will be enhanced through integration with other PEMSEA networks, such as the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG) and PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC), especially for members from the same geographic area.Through particular country networks, there is the possibility of collaboration with other youth/environmental/maritime/development organizations operating in similar spaces.

As the PNYL is aimed at being a youth-driven process rather than just a PEMSEA-led one, it is expected that members will come up with their own ideas for activities that the PNYL could undertake or support, with regards to knowledge sharing and otherwise.

Capacity Development: Webinars, Internships and Training Workshops

The PEMSEA Youth Programme aims to provide learning and professional development opportunities for the youth in the EAS region. Conducting webinars is among the identified strategies to promote capacity building and professional development among the PNYL members.

The youth will also gain access to calls for applications and related information on available scholarships relevant to coastal and ocean sustainability. In coordination with PEMSEA Capacity Development and other partner organizations, internships and other training workshops will also be identified.

Today’s youth have great potential to become powerful advocates for our shared seas. They can be effective agents of change by increasing awareness about issues threatening coasts and oceans and rallying for concrete actions in addressing these issues.

For any inquiries on the PEMSEA Youth Program, kindly email info@pemsea.org.