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Speech of H.E. Mr. HUN MANY
PRESIDENT OF THE ASIAN YOUTH COUNCIL
16th Melaka International Youth Dialogue, Melaka, Malaysia
“Youth for Environmental Sustainability: Our Future, Our Care”
27th June 2016, Melaka, Malaysia
Arunsoursdei and Good Morning!
Hon. Dato Sri Dr. Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Hon. Datuk Seri. Ir. Idris Haron, President of World Assembly of Youth (WAY) and Chief Minister of Melaka
Ms. Ediola Pashollari, Secretary General of World Assembly of Youth
Distinguished Speakers, International Youth Delegates
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my great pleasure to see many young dynamic youths from different places across the world and join with WAY here today to welcome you all to the 16th Melaka International Youth Dialogue under the theme “Youth for Environmental Sustainability: Our Future, Our Care” in this warm city of Melaka, Malaysia
First and foremost, I avail myself of this occasion on behalf of the Asian Youth Council to extend my appreciation and applause to the World Assembly of Youth for the initiative to organize this Youth Dialogue; and Asian Youth Council is pleased to come together along with all the youths from around the globe in organizing and supporting the 16th Melaka International Youth Dialogue.
AYC recognizes the importance of the Melaka International Youth Dialogue (MIYD) which provides opportunity for youth leaders from all around the world to discuss and exchange knowledge and perspectives on this year topic that, I believe, concerns every one of us and the daily life of all for today and many generations to come. This shall also be mentioned as a main reason of why we are all here today, with strong expectation toward fruitful and practical outcomes, in this timely Dialogue.
Environment is commonly defined as everything around us, affecting our lives on earth, which includes ecosystem, biodiversity, climate, natural resources and all the living and non-living things. And given the tradeoff between development and the environment, there have always been challenges in acquiring sustainable development or environmental sustainability.
Taking for instance, population growth alone is already a challenging issue in this regard. The world population has reached 7.3 billion in 2015 and projected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the United Nations Population Prospects1. Given such a rapid growth, the demand and consumption of resources, to the very basic including food, water and energy, are exponentially increasing. As a consequence, a fast and intense development and growth with stronger sense of competition, is well anticipated in any part of the world, simply to ensure the fulfillment of people’s needs.
At the same time, while the economic growth is crucial, environment is also as important. It is apparent to say that the process industrialization and urban development projects bring many impacts on the environment such as air pollution, water contamination, depletion of biodiversity, ruin of ozone layer, and so on.
– Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Acknowledging the impacts of economic development on our environment does not mean that we have to cease developing our country and our society. But we also cannot ignore the concerns affecting our environment. This is crucial for policy decision makers and leaders. And I would ask you as the youth leaders of today and country leaders of tomorrow, what would you choose to do between bringing development to fulfill the need of your society, and sustaining the environment? It is not about choosing whether to stop the development to conserve the environment or boost the development without considering its impact on the environment. It is not an “either-or” question, but it is how to balance it. And in so doing, many endeavors in regard to research on new idea, technology, innovation, have been put forth, and as the result, we have heard of the words like “green technology”, “eco-friendly product”, environmentally-friendly factory, or nature friendly, renewable energy, and sustainable products etc.
Nevertheless, from one generation to another, while supporting our life, our earth also becomes more challenging and encountering to the existence of lives, through forms of global warming, drought, flood, earthquake, tsunami, rainstorm and the most recent phenomena of the hot and dry El Niño that lately severely affected many parts of Asian region, and subsequently, lead to shortage of food, shrinkage of clean water, privation of fresh air and exhaust of the natural energy. These are the problems that we need to address properly for our future and that of our children.
At the end, we want both Development and Environmental Sustainability. In other words, we need sustainable development that meets the needs of the presence without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Such demand for sustainable development has drawn very high attention from the world leaders, in which 193 countries of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on the 25th of September 2015. The new Agenda includes 17 Goals and 169 targets for sustainable development at its core. Those Goals are set to be achieved by 2030, and the ECOSOC Youth Forum, held in February this year at UN Headquarters, was a good way forward that encourages youth to take action to implement the 2030 Agenda (SDGs).
To achieve sustainable development, youths play a crucial role in this momentum. The reason is very simple. According to the United Nations projections, there are more young people between the ages of 15 and 24 today than any other time in human history with a number of over 1.2 billion in 2015, which in Asia alone is 718 million and projected to decline to 711 million in 2030 and 619 million in 2060. Given a large proportion of young population, I strongly believe that youths play a detrimental role in making a difference and are the problem solvers toward any challenges the world is facing, including sustainable development and the environment.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Youth today is the future leader of tomorrow. As a youth, we don’t just talk, but instead we take action; and it starts from every one of us and it starts today. For one by making a change in yourself and your behavior toward environment is worthy enough no matter how small it is, ranging from the daily consumption of water, food, and paper to the proper use of recycled products, does matter a lot to your surrounding environment. And as leaders we should make a commitment toward findings ground breaking and pragmatic solutions to acquiring sustainable development in the benefit of our people while preserving the environment for generations to come. By combining our dynamism, our enthusiasm, our knowledge and creativity with technological innovation, I am sure, as leader youth will play a crucial role toward finding the right balance.
On the topic of sustainable development, we are very excited that since the ECOSOC Youth Forum held earlier this year on the theme Youth Taking Action in Implementing the 2030 Agenda, many supranational and regional organizations have been discussing actively about SDGs. In a similar manner, the Asian Youth Council, as “One Asia” youth voice, has earlier this year organized the Asia Youth Forum on a similar topic, which was “Peace, Democracy and Regional Partnership toward Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, in which we propose that in order to effectively realize SDGs, we ought to come together to address and to achieve the set goals; understanding that despite the differences in the political views and interests, peaceful environment is a pre-requisite for all stakeholders to cooperate in finding solutions and to effectively implement SDGs.
In this regard Asia Youth Council is committed to joining hands with the World Assembly of Youth and many other intra-regional and cross regional level