25 August 2022

Opinion upon ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit 2022: Fostering Youth Cooperation in Achieving Carbon Neutrality

AUN Writer Team

By: Jose Ramil Reyes, AUN Intern

Last July to August 2022, a series of discussions and activities were done to initiate the ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit 2022, hosted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, organized by The National Council of Youth Organizations in Korea, and in partnership with the ASEAN University Network, Korean Educational Psychology Association, and ASEAN host universities. This year’s theme of Carbon Neutrality and ASEAN-Korea Youth was a good starting point as the topic's relevance to today’s emerging environmental issues is very prevalent and needs to be discussed.

The occurrence of having pre-activities before the summit proper is highly commendable; it is noteworthy that delegates must have prior interaction before the four-day summit to consolidate ideas and experiences that will ultimately help them as they go along the summit’s required activities and tasks. The month-long preparation was also intensive for the participants. It helped them develop interpersonal dialogues and discussions to come up with relevant themes necessary to continue the program’s assigned tasks.

The opening ceremony was truly remarkable for its proper and timely execution and effective messaging for the delegates involved and the officials and viewers present during the said event. The call for carbon neutrality among ASEAN countries and the Republic of Korea has been proven to be very timely as we deal with an ongoing climate crisis that affects the world. Focusing on the context of the Southeast Asian region and Korean Peninsula, the effects of climate change on the general welfare of the people in the region seems to be getting drastic as time goes by. Yet, proper and effective cooperation and collaboration among nations, with here being the ASEAN and ROK, has been a necessity to come up with rapid and quality solutions to solve the region's impending problems with environmental degradation and climate change. The summit also incorporated insights and experiences from respected people from the field of youth empowerment and green lifestyle, with Achala Abeysinghe, Asia Regional Director and Head of Programs at Global Green Growth Institute, and Hayoung Park, Project Manager at Green Environment Youth Korea, delivered meaningful keynote speeches on the crucial role of youth to address concerns with regards to the environment that are timely, innovative, and carbon-neutral for all.

Since much of the brainstorming processes were done during the pre-summit sessions, during days 2 and 3 of the summit proper, where discussions and collaborations between each team were done, teams did not take much time from the insights-gathering phase as they just continued what they were working with the tasks and activities assigned to them, may they be per topic team or country team. Furthermore, the presence of local organizers in each team and country is beneficial both for the delegates and organizers as they can counter-check each other to be consistently reminded of the guidelines being imposed during the summit as well as giving feedback through facilitation of discussions from time to time.

One unique feature of this summit was the organizers' use of the ZEP platform. It was a fun and exciting idea to use this said platform as many functions are applicable for collaboration, learning, and networking compared to the typical teleconferencing applications like Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams. Several valuable features were integrated into the summit’s ZEP platform, such as the photo booths, networking zones, main space where delegates and speakers convene for summit activities, cultural exchange rooms, and game rooms. It was indeed a world of its own, and it is truly exemplary for the organizers of this summit to have used such a platform for the delegates’ affairs.

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AYKS 2022 ZEP Main Space

Aside from this, the summit, I must say, ended successfully. It executed the assigned summit’s tasks and activities and, at the same time, effectively consolidated relevant ideas and insights to come up with recommendations and proposals to address the issues concerning the region’s carbon neutrality efforts if there are already existing programs allocated for it.

All in all, the ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit 2022 was undoubtedly a success as it efficiently delivered the program’s objectives and utilized multiple platforms to better enhance networking for the delegates and come up with fun and engaging discussions outside the usual media. This summit was an innovation in itself, and the recommendations and proposals that were fruits of the collaborations and partnerships between the participants will be helpful as the region comes up with viable solutions to address environmental degradation and climate change.