In 2013, the Asian Development Bank’s NGO and Civil Society Center (ADB NGOC) launched the ADB Youth Initiative. As its primary objective, the ADB Youth Initiative aims to empower the youth of Asia and the Pacific as partners for development by highlighting the youth’s participation in ADB operations.
The ADB NGOC and the ADB Youth Initiative has partnered with ASSIST and AsianNGO in launching the Youth4Asia Solutions Search, which brings together a competition and the inception of an online knowledge platform to be used as repository of solutions to showcase, disseminate and promote the youths’ strategies for development in the Asia Pacific.
In line with theme of the 4th Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Environment Ministers Meeting (EMM4), “Investing in Natural Capital,” Youth4Asia invited the youth of GMS countries to submit solutions under these three areas: Environmental Management; Biodiversity Restoration; and Poverty Reduction and Social Entrepreneurship for environment preservation.
The finalists came from six organizations from each GMS member countries, namely Youthink Center (China), Utokapat Foundation (Thailand), Ruy Bang Xanh (Viet Nam), Solid Waste Management Center (Cambodia), Social Environmental Education and Development (Lao PDR), Environmental Conservation Department (Myanmar).
The ThinkBIG Initiative of Youthink Center (China) “aims to preserve the natural capital through youth-based social enterprise by providing capacity building and project incubation.” This youth-based think tank promotes advanced green technology and environment-friendly system nationwide particularly in Yunnan and Guangxi province. They work with the community by providing technical and capital support to run their enterprises.
The Community-Based Forest Solution of the Utokapat Foundation (Thailand) aims to engage the community in developing, conserving and restoring natural resources for better livelihood and sustainable development. The foundation works on projects on water, disaster prevention and sustainable use of water for livelihood and economic development.
Green Ribbon by Ruy Bang Xanh (Viet Nam) is a project funded by the youth that aims to raise awareness against littering. The green ribbon serves as representation of the campaign to educate and commit the people not to litter. They have successfully launched the Green Ribbon Campaign in different universities in partnership with the youth.
The project by the Solid Waste Management Center aims to review the solid waste management in Phnom Penh City, Cambodia. “It looks at the Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) characteristics, treatments, potentials, benefits and paths for improvement.” It aids in developing the capacity of the youth and encourage projects in the academe and by youth groups regarding solid waste management.
The Social Environmental Education and Development (SEED) works on “awareness-raising of students regarding environment protection and biodiversity.” It works in partnership with the government and NGOs in the field of agro-paddy system. The organization is led by students in Faculty of Environmental Science, National University of Laos. It aims to strengthen youth empowerment, mobilize volunteer group, and involve the youth in activities to support, promote, and raise-awareness about environmental issues.
The Environmental Conservation Department’s (ECD) Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) solution aims to reduce the loss of biodiversity, promote conservation, and implement various activities in preserving the environment. Their projects include awareness-raising campaigns, capacity building initiatives, and networking with various stakeholders to create policies and develop incentives for the public to participate.
The winners were awarded in the 4th GMS EMM4 which was held on 27-29 January in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.