FEALAC Youth Summit 2023: Contributions for Climate Actions

  • Bandung, Indonesia, 09 Jul 2023 ~ 13 Jul 2023

Bandung, Indonesia - The city of Bandung once again made history as the birthplace of a global youth movement. At the FEALAC Youth Summit (FYS) 2023, 38 youths from 19 East Asian and Latin American countries gathered and formulated recommendations and commitments to climate action (9-13/7).

Aptly named the FEALAC Bandung Spirit Declarations for Climate Actions, the declaration calls on governments, private sectors, academia, and society as a whole to collaborate in realising climate action. Moreover, youth participants presented various innovative ideas after visiting climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in Bandung, such as Citarum Harum (disaster resilience society sub-theme), Bersinar Waste Bank (circular economy sub-theme), as well as the Ir. H. Djuanda Forest Park (critical land restoration sub-theme).

For instance, to address waste accumulation, they proposed building a waste management business model involving communities on a large scale. In the field of critical land restoration, the youth called for the government and private sector to better understand local wisdom so that restoration efforts can create social justice for the surrounding communities.

One important aspect learned by the participants during the Summit was the digitization of disaster management. This was conveyed by the Secretary of West Java, Setiawan Wangsaatmadja, when the delegation visited the Jabar Command Center, which serves as the central management for the Citarum River basin. Based on that, the youths urged the FEALAC member countries' governments to accelerate disaster management infrastructure using Industry 4.0 technology.

Lucy Skelton from Australia expressed satisfaction with the formulated declaration. According to her, the delegates were well aware of the principle of "no one left behind" in achieving equitable climate action. She stated, "It is time for us to take concrete actions to protect our planet."

This activity is an initiative by Indonesia to continue promoting second-track diplomacy between the two regions. The focus on youth movements was chosen because of Indonesia's role as the co-chair of the Working Group on Culture, Youth, Gender, and Sports (WG CYGS) of FEALAC, along with Ecuador.

Ourina Ritonga, the Secretary of the Directorate General for America and Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, emphasised the importance of creating a shared understanding of the climate crisis among the youth. This way, when they become future leaders, they can drive positive actions for the environment and society.

The delegates were also invited to preserve the ecosystem by planting trees, releasing fish fry, and releasing birds. Dulci Duurham from Suriname, who had the opportunity to release a bird, expressed joy in being part of these efforts. In addition to symbolic gestures, the participants were also asked to make personal commitments to climate action that will be implemented in their society.

FEALAC Youth Center

One program that received high enthusiasm from the participants was the visit to the FEALAC Youth Center at the Bandung Creative Hub. Established in 2015, the centre serves as the promotional hub for FEALAC activities in Indonesia. In addition to being used as the headquarters for FEALAC Warriors - the term for activists involved in Asia-Latin America regional cooperation - the centre is also used as a co-working space, with the hope that the local communities can become more familiar with FEALAC as a forum for cooperation between the two regions.

One of the walls is adorned with a mural by Colombian artist Diana Ortonez. Another wall contains information about FEALAC member countries and impressions and messages from youth delegates from FEALAC member countries who have visited the centre.

Appreciation and Follow-up

The FEALAC Youth Summit 2023 received high enthusiasm from the participants. Oscar Rodrigo from Mexico expressed appreciation for the event, stating, "I am pleased to have the opportunity to join friends from both regions in taking action on this important issue."

As a follow-up to the Summit, the youth delegation will initiate the FEALAC Youth Network for Climate Actions, which was named after the FEALAC Youth Summit 2023. This network is expected to encourage more climate action to be implemented in each respective country.

FEALAC, or the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation, is an inter-regional organisation between East Asia and Latin America aimed at promoting broad cooperation between the two regions. Since its establishment in 1999, its membership has continuously expanded from 25 countries to 36 countries, consisting of 16 East Asian countries and 20 Latin American countries.

Participants from East Asia in FEALAC include Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, China, and Thailand. Meanwhile, participants from Latin American countries in FEALAC include Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs​