“Today Mindanao, tomorrow the Philippines.”
Empowering the youth as significant contributors in the advancement of global goals, youth leaders graced this year’s Mindanao leg of The 2030 Project: Leaders Unite held at the Finster Auditorium, Ateneo de Davao University last September 21.
Aside from the three main keynote speeches, the program was divided into three sessions – Poverty, Fight Inequalities and Tackle Climate Change. Each session comprised of a cluster of sustainable development goals (SDGs) expounded by respective youth champions for each global goal.
Representatives from various youth sectors, including the Bangsamoro and indigenous people’s communities challenged the participants to utilize their ‘hugots’ well to come up with sustainable projects for the marginalized and oppressed.
Hon. Earl Saavedra, Executive Director of the Dangerous Drugs Board and former National Youth Commission chairperson expressed the importance of creating safe spaces for the youth to fully express themselves and become the front-liners in achieving the SDGs.
“Hindi tulad ng ating nakasanayan na bawal makialam ang mga mas nakababata sa usapang matanda, we actually have to listen to the young. One should not underestimate the capacity of the youth to make things happen.” Saavedra stressed.
Engr. Ludwig Federigan of the Climate Change Commission, on the other hand, reminded the participants about the importance of taking good care of the environment among many others.
“We only have one planet. We must not only survive but also thrive in a climate change-constrained world. It lies in the hands of our young people who could either make it or destroy it,” Federigan claimed.
Federigan also discussed the current statistics and initiatives concerning climate change.
“Climate change is not just a social class issue. Climate change does not know any age, gender, social status, ethnic groups, etc. It applies to all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hon. Randy Halasan, Presidential Commissioner on the Urban Poor, looked back on his life as a teacher in one of the most far-flung areas of Davao City where he spent ten years of his life. He cited that the common characteristics among leaders are “passion and commitment to serve others.”
“Actually it’s not the award that will be given to you that matters the most. It is how you used your passion and commitment in serving the people and paano mo sila ma-inspire,” the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee shared.
More than two hundred advocates of the seventeen SDGs, comprising of youth, student-leaders and young professionals from the different institutions and organizations of Mindanao participated in the said event.
“Now I have better knowledge about the SDGs or the global goals. I am planning to make it as a sort of blueprint din or guide wherein I could align my plans in the student council for the student body. I have realized that micro-efforts leads to macro-success,” Harvey Lao, president of the College Student Council of the University of Southeastern Philippines-Obrero Campus, said.
The SDGs advocated by the participants are the 17 global goals embraced by United Nations Member States in 2015 for 2030. This includes no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, among many others.
The leadership summit was organized by The 2030 Project, an initiative of youth leaders committed to achieving the Global Goals by 2030, alongside Mindanaoan Youth Development Center Inc.