Xuan Thieu beach in Da Nang city (Source: baodanang.vn)
Da Nang (VNA) - Within the framework of the ongoing 5th East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress, the 4th EAS Youth Forum (YF4) themed “Charting the future we want: Engaging young champions for the ocean beyond 2015” kicked off in the central city of Da Nang on November 17.

Bringing together 75 young leaders from nine countries in the EAS region, namely Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Timor Leste and Vietnam, YF4 will empower young generations to be champions for the oceans and coasts of the region.

The event features interactions between young leaders and innovators in youth-led environmental movements and organisations for peer-to-peer learning discussions, team-building and creative sessions, and activities to enhance the youth’s skills on project development and management, fund-raising, use of social media and science and cross-cultural communication.

In the led-off session, the talent pool of young champions was introduced to the role of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) in promoting the sustainable development of the East Asian seas, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These will serve as a framework for drafting a collective youth commitment to achieving the SDGs, which will be embodied in a Da Nang Youth Declaration. The week’s activities aim to provide the youth with the skills needed to generate implementable project proposals for the sustainable development of coasts and oceans in the region.

On the sidelines of the 5th EAS Congress, an exhibition themed “Building the blue economy and connecting partners” is being held with the aim of providing visitors an insight into the regional countries’ efforts and achievements in protecting the marine environment and developing the sea-based economy. The exhibition will run until November 21.

Held for the first time in Vietnam from November 16-21, the triennial congress is a forum for participants to exchange academic research results and management experience for the sustainable development of the coasts and oceans, especially the seas in East Asia.

The congress also provides a platform for organisations and stakeholders in the EAS region to determine crucial goals, commitment to establish the Agenda for sustainable development of the seas in East Asia, approve new targets of PEMSEA after 2015, and adopt the implementation of the plan for a self-sustained PEMSEA.-VNA