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ASSISTANT SECRETARY JESUS R.S.

DOMINGO
Office of the United Nations and International Organizations Department of Foreign Affairs
2015 International Assembly of Youth for UNESCO
21 September 2015, University of Sto. Tomas

Ms. Lindsay Barrientos, the UNESCO community in the Philippines, Ladies


and Gentlemen, Friends, Good morning.
On behalf of the Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del
Rosario, I wish to express our deep appreciation for the kind invitation to
address you all today, the 2015 International Assembly of Youth for
UNESCO. The Department has always been mindful that any opportunity
to address the youth is an opportunity to renew our critical partnership.
Indeed, the importance of the youth as partners to achieve national
progress and sustainable development cannot be emphasized enough.
The Filipino youth sector comprises approximately 30 per cent of the
Philippines 100-million plus population. In the ASEAN region, 60 per cent
of the population is composed of those under 35 years of age. The sheer
number of the youth sector demands strategic and dynamic government
approaches. With these numbers, it is quite apparent that the youth is not
only our future but also a powerful driving force that dominates our present.
Last month, the Philippines welcomed the official visit of the United Nations
Secretary-Generals first ever Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi. The
Department of Foreign Affairs partnered with the National Youth
Commission,

the

UNESCO

National

Commission,

among

other

government agencies to present some of the Philippines youth-focused


interventions.

We took the opportunity to ensure the Envoy that the

Philippine government remains committed in further empowering the

Filipino youth. It is in the spirit of that same commitment that I stand before
all of you today.
And when it comes to empowering and positively shaping the minds of the
youth, it is definitely appropriate that today we are gathered in the grounds
of Asias oldest University. The Department wishes to thank the University
of Sto.Tomas for not only hosting this three-day event, but also for the
crucial role it plays in nation-building through the relentless pursuit of
academic excellence within a framework of positive values formation. Go
Tigers !
The theme for this years Assembly is Gearing up for ASEAN integration
towards Sustainable Development. In less than a month, world leaders will
gather in the United Nations Headquarters in New York and deliberate on a
global framework for sustainable development that will guide the globe for
the next 15 years. At the same time, the Philippines is gearing up towards
an even greater integration among the ten states in ASEAN.
In the DFA we are aware that the issue of integration is a complex one that
may be challenging to understand.

The formal establishment of the

ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the end of 2015 marks a major


milestone in ASEANs effort to fulfil the goal of an integrated region. In the
coming years, this integration will deepen and broaden, signalling the
commitment of ASEAN in establishing sustainable measures towards a
more liberalized and integrated economic region.

It must always be

clarified that the end of 2015 is not quite the culmination of economic unity
for ASEAN but a landmark towards greater integration.

The AEC will not yet establish integration as what the European Union has,
but would help create the foundations for a stronger ASEAN Community in
time. ASEAN had evolved to become a free trade area (FTA), by abolishing
custom tariffs within our common frontiers. Beyond 2015, the AEC will
deepen ASEAN economic cooperation by addressing non-tariff barriers and
liberalizing trade in services. But we have already made much headway
over the years the ASEAN brand is well known globally, the ASEAN flag
always flies alongside our national flags in our Embassies, we have
coordinated positions in the UN, ASEAN citizens may travel freely visa-free
in the region, our government, business, civil society leaders confer
regularly.
The success of ASEAN economic integration and overall unity, ultimately,
will be realized by ASEANs youth as the dynamic core of the regions
human resources.

The Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Youth

Volunteerism and Entrepreneurship adopted by the 8 th ASEAN Ministerial


Meeting on Youth in May 2013 emphasizes the youth as a crucial
component to development.
The Philippines can play a leadership role in ensuring the synergy between
ASEAN, the UN, other international organizations and our bilateral
partners. We can see that there is much in parallel with the pillars of activity
of the UN and ASEAN, UN has the Peace, Humanitarian and Development
pillars, while ASEAN has the counterpart Political-Security, Socio-Cultural
and Economic pillars. We can help ASEAN Economic Integration is in
synch with the Sustainable Development Goals, on all levels, through the
Development and Economic pillars.

In the Philippines, the UNs

development assistance is through the UN Development Assistance


Framework or UNDAF. The UNs Development Pillar in turn has three

dimensions: Inclusivity, Sustainability and Resilience. It is in the latter


where the Philippines excels because of our sheer and constant need to
build resilience in the wake of the many natural disasters such as Yolanda,
and man-made crises we face. It concerns itself with our needed action on
Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction so it is apt that our
Assembly highlights climate change.

ASEAN will need to work closely

together to advance the framework we will realize in the Paris UNFCCC


Conference in December. The area of Human Rights is another showcase
of Philippine leadership, in ASEAN we have our coordination through the
AICHR, but perhaps this is one of the more challenging aspects of the
region as there is still much work needed to bridge the gaps of HR
understanding among the ASEAN countries.
A particular role you, the UNESCO Clubs and other Youth Organizations
can play is to be the bridge between the youth initiatives of ASEAN and the
UN. Mr. Alhendawi the UN Youth Envoy told us that his office does not yet
have a formal linkage with ASEAN, and he is counting on us to build it with
him. This can be a major project of the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN
in 2017, we need to start preparing for this now, together. Can I count on
your help ?
If I may, I would also like to make mention of other initiatives my office,
UNIO has undertaken involving the youth we had launched this year the
Diplomatic League, the Association of International Relations and
Diplomacy

Major Students in the Philippines.

Some of you here are

members ! Among our upcoming activities are the holding of a Model UN


Academy , and Model UN 2.0 where students will play the role not of
General Assembly delegates but of the UN in action in Peacekeeping,
Disaster Management and SDG promotion on the ground at the

university, school and barangay levels. We will also be holding ASEAN-IQ


or ASEANIQ nights, to network diplomats, students, entrepreneurs and
other interested friends for the advancement of ASEAN integration and
synergy.

I would like to invite you, the UNESCO Youth and Clubs, to

partner with us.


The Philippines, as one of the founding members of ASEAN, remains a
leading voice in encouraging positive transformation in the region on many
issues of common concern, human rights, peace & security, womens
empowerment, gender equality, migration, climate change, to name a few.
The youth must carry on the torch of Philippine trailblazing. To that end,
Assemblies like this is important for the youth to be constantly empowered
with motivation, knowledge and information on various policies that affect
not only the Philippines, but the world.

I wish to congratulate the

organizers, National Association of UNESCO Clubs in the Philippines,


UNESCO Youth and the UNESCO National Commission for their steadfast
support to a worthy endeavour.
I wish everyone inspired days ahead. Mabuhay ang UNESCO !