ASEAN insight: A glimpse in the eyes of a youth leader

Emman Cleodoro (Rightmost at second row), Coordinator of El Verde Youth for Climate Action and Environment, Disaster Management and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) Environmental Advocacy Officer of the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur, the lone representative of the country , with outer Summit participants.

PILI, Camarines Sur, Dec.06 (PIA) ---  “It’s unbelievable! The experience seemed so surreal but I was there, flesh and body, and have represented the Philippines as one of the delegates to the #NOWASEAN 2017Conference, promoting among others, the significant role of the youth in understanding climate change and disaster resilience in ASEAN countries.”

Emman Cleodoro, Coordinator of El Verde Youth for Climate Action and  Environment, Disaster Management and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) Environmental Advocacy Officer  of the Provincial government of Camarines Sur was the lone representative of the country and was among the youth leaders from different countries chosen to participate in the conference in commemoration of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN and the Philippines’ National Day for Youth in Climate Action  held at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila last November 23 to 26.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the representative of the Philippines in the ASEAN conference in Manila. This conference taught me a lot of things, most especially what can the youth do to create a significant impact on the country’s campaign on climate change and disaster risk reduction management. This experience is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life,” Cleodoro humbly stated.

At the prime of his youth at 27, Emman as he is fondly called by friends and colleagues had been advocating a cleaner and greener environment for the past 5 years under the helm of EDMERO. He owed his achievements to his mentors and points to EDMERO Chief Lucena “Che” Bermeo and the dynamic and young Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte as the source of his fervor to passionately pursue his environmental advocacy and share it with the young crowd.

One of the highlights of the conference, Emman narrated was the adoption of the Southeast Asian Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Network (SAYCAN) Framework Agreement.

The agreement binds the youth in a commitment to advocate youth empowerment on climate action and disaster resilience by promoting education and capacity building, engaging champions and strengthening partnership with other environmental stakeholders through online and on-ground strategies.

““The NowASEAN Conference is an initiative of the Filipino youth-led climate action undertaking dubbed as #NowPH or Not on our Watch Philippines. One of their outputs is the adoption of the SAYCAN Framework agreement.  It played a significant role in gathering signatures for the adoption of the Paris agreement held in France in 2015,” Emman elaborated.

SAYCAN hopes to bring young people towards a common understanding of the ill effects of climate change and what the community can do to alleviate the impact of any catastrophe in their areas.  To do this, education and capacity building, including engaging environmental champions and stakeholders is a must.

It is also important to build partnership, establish and strengthen them by the use of various strategies, both online and on-ground thereby engaging more and more stakeholders to take part in the fight to win back greener days and a safer environment for the next generation.

“In the years that I have served as Environmental Advocacy Officer, I have seen the prowess and competence of the youth to promote a climate and disaster-resilient way of life and pursue sustainable development.  Meeting other ASEAN youth leaders coming from our neighboring ASEAN countries, only proves that we are all attuned towards this one vision of creating a haven of environment loving people who is as concerned as I am in ensuring that our children’s children will still have a place which they can call “home” in the upcoming years.”  (LSMacatangay, PIAV/Camarines Sur)