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Asian and European youths set agenda for sustainable development

By Joel Carl Contrivida

Victoria, Oriental Mindoro – Young leaders from different countries in Asia and Europe met last Nov. 10 to 17 at the serene municipality of Victoria in Oriental Mindoro to talk and exchange views about Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.

The meeting of 46 young leaders was hosted by Youth for Sustainable Development Pilipinas and funded by Asia-Europe Foundation with counterparts from Ministry of Envronment under the Task Force for Sustainable Lifestyle, Nature and Youth of Sweden, National Council of Swedish Youth Organization and Youth Environtment Europe.

The 46 young leaders reperesents 30 different youth organizations from 24 countries of Asia and Europe region.

The almost eight day meeting held at Villa Ana Resort and Farm came up with a declaration supporting different sustainable development programs that concern the environment.

According to Rior Santos, International Program Director of YSDA, they choose the Municipality of Victoria in Oriental Mindoro as the venue of the meeting being the best example in implementing sustainable development programs such as bio organic farms and fertilizer, but the main reason is the community participation in their struggles againts mining company.

Participants visited bio-organic farms in Oriental Mindoro and interacted with the advocacy group Alyansa Laban sa Mina, where delegates actively joined the locals in expressing opposition to the proposed Nickel Mine to be put up at the foot of Mt. Halcon , one of the protected areas in the said province and serving the town as a watershed area.

For the young international leaders who attended the gathering, the most significant event is the realization and the putting up of an Asia-Europe network of youth leaders who represent different youth organizations and councils in this part of the globe.

Samita Wilson of Changemakers-Pakistan was unanimously chosen as the head for Asia, while Jurgita Silinskaite of the National Development Institute of Lithuania was voted the counterpart for Europe .

The said two will be sitting for three months as interim leaders of the two global regions to finalize the networks.

Among the speakers invited for the gathering were Laiden Pedrina of Young Artists Fellowship for the Environment who discussed Sustainable Production and Consumption and Dr.Mary Racelis of Institute for Philippine Culture who talked about engaging regional and inter-regional bodies towards sustainable development. Piarapakaran Subramaniam of the Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association talked about sustainable consumption.

Sustainable Development was first used in 1987 by the United Nations World Commision on Environment. It was simply defined as a development that fulfills the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations and without outgrowing environmental limits.

The Asia-Europe Youth Dialogue was established in 1997 as a result of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), with Asia Europe Foundation as the main support institution. The summit is held every two years alternately in Asia and Europe.