A total of 66 youth participants from the ASEAN Member States (AMS) participated in the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Environment Forum (AYEF) 2018, one of the recurring programmes overseen by the ASEAN Working Group on Environmental Education (AWGEE) from 30 June to 2 July 2018 in Singapore. Organised by the National Environment Agency of Singapore with the theme Imagine. Create. Change., the Forum provided opportunities for youths in the region to build their knowledge and skill capacity as well as expand networking efforts across the region.
The Opening and Plenary Session was graced by the President of Singapore, H.E. Halimah Yacob; Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, H.E. Masagos Zulkifli; Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee; Ambassador of Cambodia to Singapore, H.E. Ngoun Sokveng; and Ambassador of Republic of Indonesia to Singapore, H.E. Ngurah Swajaya.
Addressing the youths in her opening remarks, H.E. Halimah Yacob highlights, The world faces urgent and daunting environmental challenges due to climate change. We require bold leadership, international cooperation and innovative thinking to chart a future together. And you represent that future. I hope the Forum will enhance your understanding of current and emerging regional issues, and encourage collective action to protect our environment.
Likewise, on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, emphasised to the youths that the Forum was an auspicious opportunity for you to inculcate the spirit of protecting the environment, to challenge yourselves as active and informed citizens and to participate in the development of an ecologically sustainable and socially-just society. And to this end, I urge you to transform the way you think and act by joining the movement of Imagine. Create. Change.
Through a series of activities such as plenary presentations by keynote speaker and experts on environmental topics, workshops on behavioural insights and climate change communications, and country presentations and field trip to Singapores installations, the Forum has generated pledges that the participants have committed to the importance of a sustainable future which will be actualised by implementing relevant projects when they return to their respective home countries.
Acknowledging that environmental awareness and participation of youths are critical to addressing global environmental problems and to achieve sustainable development in the region, the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Environment Forum (AYEF) was first initiated by Brunei Darussalam in 2007 and has since been organised regularly to promote awareness and enhance the participation and cooperation of youth in environmental protection efforts. Of 66 youths participating in AYEF 2018, 36 were selected from among 657 applicants to the open call for applications led by the ASEAN Secretariat, while the remaining participants were local youths selected by NEA of Singapore.