A milestone of the ASEAN Young Climate Leaders Program 2022 (ASEAN YCLP)

A milestone of the ASEAN Young Climate Leaders Program 2022 (ASEAN YCLP)

The very first ASEAN Young Climate Leaders Program 2022 (ASEAN YCLP) is a leadership development program run by Common Purpose in partnership with ASEAN Foundation, SAP, and GIZ.

The Challenge that the participants explored, ideate, and initiate projects on is: "How might we increase civic engagement for better environment sustainability?". The recruitment started in December 2021 and launched the 4-day virtual event from 17th to 20th January 2022. There were 100 participants selected from over 1,000 applications based on commitment, experience and passion for climate and environment issues in their region. To attend the 4-day virtual event, submit a proposal and implement the project from the combinations of ideas and solutions, all young leaders are grouped into the 7 sub-themes based on the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint 2025 and ASEAN Strategic Plan on

Environment (ASPEN) and seven strategic priorities have been identified by the ASEAN Secretariat under the whole program as below.

  1. Climate Change
  2. Chemicals and Waste
  3. Coastal and Marine Environment
  4. Environmental Education and Sustainable Consumption and Production
  5. Environmentally Sustainable Cities
  6. Nature Conservation and Biodiversity
  7. Water Resources Management

In this program, I was also selected as one of the young leaders under the theme for Costal and Marine Environment. Young leaders can find themselves part of, and surrounded by, an incredible group of other young leaders from all around the ASEAN region. It is a unique opportunity for us to build life-long connections and networks and be part of a community of young leaders in the ASEAN region working on environment and climate change issues. Moreover, young ASEAN leaders can connect with exciting speakers, deep dive into exciting organizations, and have an opportunity to build leadership skills to become a leader who can cross boundaries.

There was a pre-program about setting the context which is an introduction to the context of Cross-Boundary Leadership over the online platform (Moodle platform) prior to the start of the program. And to build team bonding ahead of the program, not only emails but also WhatsApp applications are utilized as communication tools.

The 4-day virtual event overview was as follows:

Day 1: Insight  

The first day of the virtual event was an introduction to the program and fellow participants in order to context setting of the Challenge and reflection of the day. Sonia Elkha, Partnerships Director, Common Purpose and Wendy Ng, Associate Programme Director, Common Purpose welcomed and opened ASEAN YCLP 2022 4-day virtual event. Then the facilitator held the icebreakers getting to know each other based on "how will we work together?" Then introduction to Cross Boundary Leadership (CBL) showed up new mind-sets and behavior to expand capacities in the faces of complexity.  

There was virtual Lunch as the optional networking to expand connection and have bonding time. Then the setting was spotlighted for generating groups' ideas based on the challenge of "how might we increase civic engagement for better environment sustainability?" The activity of brainstorming for the first day was named in "Supermarket Trolley" which had a challenge holder to share about their problems using supermarket trolleys and the rest of team members would act as solvers to gain more insights into their problems, decide together on ONE problem to solve the challenge that emphasized to be relevant, important, and realistic. The solutions were based on idealization and experiment in either way of diverging and converging thinking.

At the end of the first day, a representative from ASEAN; Dr Vong Sok, Head of Environment Division at ASEAN Secretariat & Young Leaders explained the climate challenges based on the lenses of ASEAN bodies or NGOs looking closely at the ASEAN's framework and where youths could play their part regionally and briefing by ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) and academic on Climate Change.

 Day 2: Disrupt 

The second day was to explore the challenge through the lens of organizations and people who are currently working in these areas to have a better understanding of what is out there and what are some of the challenges they face within the young climate leaders' discussions. This day was divided for participants to deep dive into the sub theme group and mentor (ASEAN) as the following:

  1. Climate change (CL) Nazrin Castro & Ferth Manaysay, Climate Reality
  2. Chemicals and Waste (CH) - Andi, Yuni & Airin, BNI Waste Bank
  3. Coastal and Marine Environment (CM) Barak, Ton to Ton
  4. Environmental Education and Sustainable Consumption and Production (ED) Nestor Catalan, Plastic People
  5. Environmentally Sustainable Cities (EN) Freddie Tinga, GET
  6. Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (NC) Nerissa Chao, IUCN SSC Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP)
  7. Water Resources Management (W) Kunal Shah, Anaergia

At the end of day-2, there was a stakeholder interview and a breakout room-webinar (globally) for specified sub theme group as shown in below,

  1. Climate change (CL) Antoine Monod, RRS
  2. Chemicals and Waste (CH) Nini Purwajati, Resilient Cities Network
  3. Coastal and Marine Environment (CM) Estradivari, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)
  4. Environmental Education and Sustainable Consumption and Production (ED) Margot Brent, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)
  5. Environmentally Sustainable Cities (EN) Alvin Ng, Johnson Control International
  6. Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (NC) Eva Yoe, The Nature Conservancy
  7. Water Resources Management (W) Pravinjith K P, Paradigm Environmental Strategies Pvt Ltd

Then the young climate leaders had to generate ideas about the project proposal that the group aimed and targeted based on the challenges, problems, expertise and implemented solutions. 

Day 3: Ideate  

Day 3 was to focus on how we work across boundaries, explore this first-hand when we work with our peers from the ASEAN region to generate game changing solutions for the region. David Coldrey, Sustainability Champion for SEA, SAP shared his experience about the leadership insight to help us get support. Today the group started generating ideas from the how we described the statement we worked upon yesterday.

We narrowed down our ideas to reflect on some of the questions what we targeted and discussed.

  • What is the thematic area we are focusing on?
  • What is the problem?
  • Why is this a problem?
  • Who is affected by/involved in it?
  • What ideas do we have that could address the problem?
  • How does our idea address the problem?
  • How would we implement it step by step?

Below are the 4Rs that we used as criteria to evaluate, refine, and improve our ideas to the best possible version.

  • Rapid: Can it be done rapidly or fast?
  • Realistic: Can the idea be executed given the business constraints and the reality of the external environment?
  • Resources: What demands does this put on the resources and can they be met?
  • Replicable: If it works, does the idea have potential for scale up?

After group consultation with group mentors or supervisors and idea refinement, Kyung Min, Associate Partner, Nouveau Consulting, Singapore tributed her experience for the project management workshop as skills masterclass.

Outside of the programme duration, each group had to discuss a lot to prepare the proposal and video teaser to present the group ideas and promote the sub theme what we targeted to solve on social media. 

Day 4: Experiment  

"This was a fantastic opportunity to broaden the ASEAN young leader's community and networking to get support as we swim as one"

by Shwe Yati Su

Day 4 was the final day of the virtual event so that we could present ideas and projects to stakeholders and one another by sharing feedback, experience, expertise, and strategies in relation to our ideas. We considered the Challenge, learnt some context, created a problem statement and brainstormed ideas as a part of the global Common Purpose alumni, and a regional ASEAN community of young leaders.

The virtual programme days were deeply interactive, and it was the participant's responsibility to make the most effective of each session, every day, and the programme overall. Each day included a unique mix of contributors, conversations, and thought-provoking activities. And we were encouraged to bring us whole self in, an open mind and a sense of adventure so that we could be in the best possible position to take advantage of this opportunity. We challenged ourselves and took several active roles as questioner, group leader, timekeeper, note taker and others. This was a fantastic opportunity to broaden the ASEAN young leader's community and networking to get support as we swim as one. In this way, we absolutely figure out one way or other ways to implement projects to make the world better change as much as we could try hard together as a group of diverse ASEAN young leaders. 


Written by Shwe Yati Su from The Water Agency


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