Eco-guardians boost cooperation
By Jon Tampoi

The Asean Youth Forum on Environment, which opened yesterday morning, continued with more presentations in the afternoon at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong.

Among those present were Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah, participants of the forum as well as officers of the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation and members of STEP.

The six-day forum is aimed at enhancing the youths' knowledge and understanding of current and emerging regional environmental issues and cooperative programmes, fostering cooperation and collaboration amongst the youths through exchange of ideas, experiences and networking, promoting youth participation and involvement in environmental endeavours, creating a network between youths across Asean, China, Japan and Korea, helping educate the youths on how results in respective environmental undertakings can best be achieved and working towards a common environmental protection programme for the Asean region. The theme is 'Together Towards Sustainable Development'.

The participating nations are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Singapore and Philippines. In total, there are 100 participants whose ages range from 15 to 20 years old. The event is a project of the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation in collaboration with STEP.

Youths make up a large proportion of the region's population and as citizens and future leaders, they play a very important role in shaping Asean in years to come. Thus their involvement, participation and contribution in implementing and achieving the sustainable development agenda deserve special attention.

The Asean Youth Forum also aims to promote and enhance the participation and cooperation of Asean youths in the fields of environmental protection and management.

The activities include Asean State of Environment presentation, Asean Strategic Plan of Action on Environment, presentation on sustainable development and field trips. (9th January 2007)