Youth engagement crucial for Asean’s bright future

Nanda F Moenandar / No Comments Share:
The Royal Government of Cambodia set an ambitious target to reach a 100 percent electricity rate by 2020 in villages. KT/Chor Sokunthea

One of the areas that Asean as a community is striving to develop for the economic growth and the environmental sustainability of the region is energy.

To ‘Achieve Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability and Sustainability for All’ under Asean’s blueprint for regional energy cooperation, ‘ASEAN Plan of Actions for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016–2025’, Asean set an aspirational regional target to increase the component of renewable energy to 23 percent by 2025 in Asean energy mix. Renewable energy potentials in Asean member states are huge, given that the region is surrounded by water, located near the equator, and has diverse landscapes with high wind capacity.

In Cambodia, the current renewable energy capacity is still dominated by hydropower. According to its Power Development Plan 2008–2021, the country still has no specific renewables target except for hydropower, which is 2,241 MW by 2020. However, potentials for other technologies are also promising, with more than 5 m/s for wind power, and 5 kwh/m2/day for solar energy.

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To accelerate the deployment of solar technology in Cambodia’s villages, the Royal Government of Cambodia set an ambitious target to reach 100 percent electricity rate by 2020 in villages, using solar power among others.

Last September, the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Cambodia in partnership with Asean Centre for Energy (ACE) and Korean Energy Agency officially launched the Renewable Energy Fuelled Pico-grid Village Demonstration Project in Thkov Village, Seam Reap. The objective of the project is to test the economic feasibility of small-scale solar system especially in the floating homes of the village.

Also, just recently, Cambodia announced that plans to build the 100-MW National Solar Park is moving forward. Supported by the Asian Development Bank, the project released an invitation for bids this month. These projects will not only put Cambodia on the map of the solar energy market, but also bring actual power solutions to the people in Thkov Village and near the solar park in Kampong Speu and Kampong Chhnang provinces. They will see for themselves how solar technology works in bringing electricity to their homes, and hopefully benefit from the increased productivity.

Stories like these are needed to be shared to inspire more renewable energy efforts. Public understanding on renewable energy in Asean is still limited, particularly among the youth, who are expected to be the future caretakers of the region.

To support Asean’s efforts in raising awareness on the benefits of renewable energy, the Asean-German Energy Programme (AGEP), jointly implemented by ACE and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), collaborates with the Asean Foundation – who initiated this annual Contest – and Asean-USAID PROSPECT, to organise the 5th Asean Youth Video Contest (AYVC2019).

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In this digital era, video and social media are powerful tools to raise awareness, especially among youth. Themed ‘Renewable Energy: Powering Asean Bright Future’, AYVC2019 calls for video submissions from Asean citizens of 18 to 30 years old, and looks for stories that portray the benefits of renewables to the environment and/or societies, or youth’s efforts in using renewable energy in daily life.

This contest is expected to amplify Asean youth’s voice in raising awareness on renewable energy. As the Executive Director of Asean Foundation, Elaine Tan, emphasised, “Through collaboration and innovation; the 5th Asean Youth Video Contest will be the seamless avenue for creative youth across Asean to gather ideas to innovate together. With Asean youth’s insightful ideas, we will go hand in hand creating a more cohesive Asean community and put forward renewable energy awareness.”

The AYVC2019 is endorsed by the Asean Senior Officials Meeting on Youth, just like the previous years. As a recurring programme, the AYVC’s objective is to generate a better understanding of issues on Asean Community Building, in this case on the benefits of renewables and how youth across the region can help promote renewable energy use in their daily life. The AYVC2019 will bring together one (1) selected finalist from each Asean member state to Hanoi, Vietnam, to learn professional video making skills and techniques to reach wider audience, which will be hosted by Vietnam Journalists Association in Hanoi. From the 10 finalists, the judges will select three (3) final winners who will receive attractive prizes up to $2,250, supported by the Asean Foundation.

Last year, the AYVC took the theme of ‘Youth Celebrating Diversity to Promote a Culture of Peace and Tolerance’. Nine finalists from nine Asean member states were gathered in Singapore for a four-day video training to enhance their video-making skills with an expert. The trainees had the opportunity to learn about video pre and post production, how to utilise video equipment, how to optimise the storyboard framing, develop a shooting plan, create scripts, to strengthen key elements in the storyboard, and to capture a scene from the right angle. They practiced the latter in Singapore’s streets during a field trip organised as part of the programme. Last year’s 1st winner, 19-year-old Filipino, Troy L Valdehueza, impressed judges with a video titled ‘We Belong’. He was followed by Malaysian Risjhen Rajasingam Velsine with a video titled ‘We Are More Alike Then We Unlike’, and by Vietnamese Thi Nguyen Le Minh with an animated video titled ‘In a Colourful Asean’.

This year, the organisers are still expecting more participation from Cambodia. All videos that adhere to this year’s theme of renewable energy and creatively represents the theme through positive youth perspectives have opportunities to go into the next stage of the competition. In order to submit their videos officially, participants should create a YouTube channel and upload their videos on their channels.They should then submit the YouTube video link to http://aseanyouthvideocontest.com/. The organisers will then display their submissions on the website’s gallery. Cambodian youth are most welcome to participate before March 5, 2019. More information can be found on AYVC2019’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AYVC2019).

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Nanda F Moenandar is communication/public relations officer at the Asean Centre for Energy.

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