The PEMSEA Youth Program
PEMSEA recognizes the important role that young people play in the future of coasts and oceans and the success of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). True sustainability of our shared seas can only be achieved if youth are actively involved in managing coastal and marine resources.
The Youth Program engages and empowers youth leaders across the region to take ownership of the health of coasts and oceans in East Asia. Through Youth Program activities, young leaders can build the skills and professional development to become effective integrated coastal management (ICM) practitioners through action projects, supported by the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC). Staying connected via social media online learning opportunities, the youth join together every three years to share experiences and success stories at their marquee event, the East Asian Seas Youth Forum, planned for 2018 in Cambodia.
Youth can participate in PEMSEA’s Youth Program through the following activities:
Small Grant Competition
In 2015, PEMSEA launched an annual competitive small grant for youth projects. During its first year, the grant was awarded to Enggar Wardani, a student at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia, for a “Blue Action Community Project” involving mangrove restoration and environmental education.
Enggar and her team planted 1.5 hectares of mangroves in Subang, an area that used to suffer from floods and coastal erosion. They also developed an educational board game to teach the value of coastal and marine resources in a fun and interactive manner. To further engage their audience, they used conservation cards to illustrate different marine ecosystems. The young students they visited gave positive feedback: now the children know names and characteristics of local fish, and they are enthusiastic about protecting marine life. The team met over 800 students across different elementary schools.
ICM Site Activities
Youth have the opportunity to for hands-on experience at PEMSEA ICM sites around the region. Several young leaders are already actively involved in ICM activities includidng data collection 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 even apply their ICM experience at PEMSEA sites for credit to fulfill their academic requirements.
Professional Development and Community
PEMSEA has community building and professional development opportunities available for youth. These include the use of online communities and webinars by expert speakers to educate and inspire young people.
East Asian Seas Youth Forum
The East Asian Seas (EAS) Youth Forum has been an important component of past EAS Congresses. Launched in 2006, the Youth Forum serves as a platform for young people 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 interact with thought leaders and ICM practitioners who can impart knowledge and inspire future projects.
At the Fourth EAS Youth Forum in Danang, Viet Nam held in November 2015, 60 young leaders from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, RO Korea, Philippines, Singapore, 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.
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 Antonia Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org.