PH initiates ASEAN-wide youth event on climate change and disaster

The Philippines launches the #NowASEAN or Not On Our Watch ASEAN Conference with youth delegates representing the country’s 17 regions and five other member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), today, November 24, 2017, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

The #NowASEAN, a three-day commemorative event coinciding with the ASEAN’s 50th founding anniversary, is organized by the National Youth Commission (NYC), Climate Change Commission (CCC), and YesPinoy Foundation (YPF) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and USAID B-LEADERS Project.

The event aims to cause inspiration and unity among young Southeast Asian youth to lead a culture of climate and disaster resilience, and to propose the establishment of the Southeast Asian Youth in Climate Action Network (SAYCAN) and the institutionalization of the Proclamation, Declaring November 25 of every year as the ‘ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day.’

“We envision this conference as a consultative mechanism among the youth in the ASEAN region in order to harness their perspectives on climate change and disasters, and unite them to support measures that will create a resilient ASEAN community,” Usec. Aiza Seguerra, NYC Chairperson, pointed out.

Seguerra added that the ASEAN youth should serve as climate warriors, who are not only well-informed but are also well-equipped to lead and inspire other young people.

The #NowASEAN Conference also builds on the Filipino youth-led #NowPH or Not On Our Watch Philippines campaign, which supported the adoption of the Paris Agreement during the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP-21) in 2015.

“The #NowPH movement aspired to reach out and empower more young Filipinos and the ASEAN youth, and we applaud the government for continuing the advocacy and turning this into reality,” said climate action advocate and YPF Founding Chairperson Dingdong Dantes.

CCC Sec. Emmanuel De Guzman also emphasized the importance of youth involvement in discussions on climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction management at the local, regional and international levels.

“The worsening impacts of climate change demand greater involvement from stakeholders, including children and youth. In the Philippines, our National Youth Commission is part of the advisory council of the CCC and the Philippine Delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference always considers the representation of the youth sector in international negotiations,” De Guzman added.

UNICEF Supports Climate Change Initiatives

According to UNICEF’s Climate Landscape Analysis for Children in the Philippines, young people are more vulnerable to the increase of diseases like dengue and malaria caused by changing weather patterns; they are more vulnerable to food insecurity caused by drought with longer-term impacts on survival and development; they are more vulnerable to the impacts of increasing and more extreme natural disasters such as Super Typhoons; and they miss out on school more and more because of the recurrent impact of disasters

“In UNICEF, we believe it is crucial to bring to the forefront how vulnerable children and young people are to the impacts of climate change. Children and young people are the least responsible in causing climate change, yet they often bear the worst brunt of it. UNICEF is committed in the Philippines, and globally, to shedding light on these impacts and supporting actions to address them,” Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative said.

“Initiatives like the #NowASEAN Conference pave the way for countries and different sectors of society to discuss and collaborate, effectively tackling climate change in all its dimensions. Importantly, they also bring children and young people to the forefront of climate action, giving them a voice and the power to effect change,” Ms. Sylwander added.

The event also coincides with the Philippines’ National Day for Youth in Climate Action and the National Climate Change Consciousness Week.

It is also made possible through the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2017 ASEAN National Organizing Council (NOC), Philippine Tourism Promotions Board and Education USA.

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