DOF chief taps youth for fresh ideas in fight vs. climate change

DOF chief taps youth for fresh ideas in fight vs. climate change

MANILA – Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has called on young innovators to contribute their skills and ideas in the fight against climate change, and spearhead efforts to educate and motivate the country’s youth to take action in protecting the planet’s future.

Dominguez said fresh ideas from young minds will help the newly appointed National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) implement “achievable, coherent, concerted, and compelling climate action programs on the ground.”

“We have no time to waste. We have to act now to build the resilience of our communities, reverse the degradation, protect our vital food sources, and save our planet,” he said during Wednesday’s launching of Klimathon, an innovation lab focused on new and workable solutions that can help address current issues and challenges about the climate crisis.

Dominguez said as bearers of the future, the youth — who will live through 2030 and beyond — have the greatest stake in overcoming this crisis.

“It is therefore very important that you understand this issue and take the lead in reversing this destructive course,” he added.

Klimathon, a portmanteau of the terms “klima” and “hackathon,” invites students and innovators aged 16 to 24 years old to present project concept papers on three climate change concerns: plastic waste management, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and food security.

A joint project of the CCC and Nestle Philippines, Klimathon will choose 10 finalists who will undergo a mentorship program with industry and field experts to refine and further develop their project designs. Cash prizes and recognition also await the winning teams.

Dominguez expressed the hope that Klimathon will result in tangible and concrete climate solutions that can be replicated across the country.

The Finance chief said he hopes to bring the unique insights and perspectives of young Filipinos, especially those that will be presented in the Klimathon, to the global arena when he takes part next week at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

“To the participants of this forum, I want you to become role models who will educate, encourage and motivate the youth to take action to protect the future of our planet,” he said.

Dominguez said he expects Klimathon to help spur the sustained engagement of the Philippines’ next generation in fighting climate change.

He said vulnerable countries like the Philippines, which contribute less to global greenhouse gas emissions, are bearing the brunt of the consequences of climate change, with its remote coastal communities being the most threatened from the devastating effects of this environmental crisis.

To set an example to the international community and become a world leader in addressing this crisis, Dominguez said the Philippines submitted a “bold and ambitious” commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent over the next decade as its Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement.

To achieve the Philippines’ NDC, Dominguez said the CCC has moved from merely delving on theories to actually implementing practical and achievable solutions on the ground.

The CCC recently named 16 new members to its NPTE representing the country’s different regions.

Dominguez said this new crop of experts will provide practical advice to the CCC and engage local communities in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“Aside from the practical advice of our technical experts, we need fresh ideas from young minds. This is why we are so enthusiastic about this forum. Your proposals and ideas will surely help our experts craft and implement achievable, coherent, concerted, and compelling climate action programs on the ground,” he added. (PNA)

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