Call for synergy to achieve sustainable development

Youth Essay Winners Call for New Synergy to Achieve Sustainable Development

Manila, Philippines – SOCIETY MUST embrace a new synergy among governments, the private sector, and empowered communities to achieve sustainable development.

That was the message of a declaration presented 2007-05-03 in Kyoto by youth representatives of an ADB-supported series of youth events, including an essay competition, on sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

Some 600 students from 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific entered the competition in 2006. An independent jury rated the essays, and 25 winners were invited to Kyoto to participate in a week of educational events, concluding in the Asian and Pacific Youth Forum on Sustainable Development, held on 17 March 2007.

At the Forum, the winning essayists presented their ideas on sustainable development in a declaration titled "Voice from the Youth." The declaration was formally presented today to ADB Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss in Kyoto, which this week is playing host to ADB’s 40th Annual Meeting of its Board of Governors. The initiative is part of the effort to enhance the participation of a wider public in ADB’s Annual Meetings and allow the voice of youth to be heard.

The essay competition and youth events in March, have shown that "young people from the diverse cultures of the Asian and Pacific region are united in their support for development aimed at improving people’s lives without harming the world in which we live," said Ms. Schaefer-Preuss.

"It is very useful for ADB to learn from across the generations as it considers changes to its business model and operational priorities."

The essay competition as well as the series of events leading to the Youth Forum was sponsored by ADB; ROAD, a network of Japanese university students concerned about development issues; the Kyoto Committee for the 40th Annual Meeting of ADB; Shanghai Center for Economic Research; Kyoto University; and Ritsumeikan University. It was supported by ADB’s Japan Special Fund, financed by the Government of Japan.

Entries for the essay competition were submitted under the overall theme of sustainable development in three categories: addressing economic growth and environmental conservation, development of human resources and institutions, and priorities for industry and infrastructure.

These three topics were taken up in the declaration, which stressed the need for the region to integrate economic development with environmental conservation, with the whole of society sharing responsibility.

"Sustainability can only be achieved when the government, private sector, civil society, and individuals coordinate their activities and work in unison," the declaration says.

On human resource development, the declaration emphasized the importance of high quality education embracing moral and aesthetic development, complemented by adequate employment opportunities. The students also stressed the need for gender equality, focusing on programs to change the traditional mindset at all age levels.

On industry and infrastructure, the students declared that sustainable economic development cannot be achieved through investment in physical infrastructure alone, but must include investment in social development of the community.

"Visionary leadership, exemplary commitment, and social cohesiveness determine the growth, success, and ultimately, the face of the nations," the declaration said.

"We strongly stand by our conclusion that synergy among accountable governments, responsible, private sector and empowered community is crucial to attain sustainable development. It is not only one person or a particular group but the whole community that needs to work hand in hand with collective efforts."

Read the winning entries and declaration

Visit also the Youth Forum site

About ADB

Auteur: Redactie Infrasite

Bron: Asian Development Bank (ADB)