Asean Children’s Forum draws action plan for a better future

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ ANN) - After three days of deliberation at the 5th Asean Children’s Forum (ACF), the youth delegates came up with an action plan based on four core points: Healthy Lifestyle, Care for the Environment, Peace and Respect for All.

According to the action plan document, "The children of ASEAN would like to live in a thriving world now, and in the days ahead.

"We want to be able to lead a healthy life both mentally and physically, enjoy scenic views, explore the world without worrying about our safety, and live with others without being discriminated."

The delegates also proposed a healthcare plan which includes counselling for depressed youth, quality time with family and compulsory sports programmes in schools.

"To accomplish these initiatives, family members, friends and teachers need to act as confidantes and counsellors," the document stated.

On environmental issues, the delegates proposed on educating children to care for the environment from a young age, while at the same time promoting awareness through school curricula and group activities.

"To support this, governments need to implement strict policies and monitor the impact of certain agencies on the environment. Governments should also provide recycling centres for local communities," said the delegates in their action plan document. In terms of establishing peace, it was suggested that more awareness should be raised on the nature of cybercrimes, delinquency, bullying and racism, along with the introduction of preventive programmes such as ‘No Social Media Day’ or ‘No Phone Day’.

"Vital support is needed from parents to give attention to children to reduce cybercrimes.

"Together ASEAN can create a preventative programme that can be used in all ASEAN schools, such as the Philippines’ ‘Prevent, Ignore, Block and Screenshot’ (PIBS) campaign, while also raising awareness for parents."

As for mutual respect, it was proposed that schools and communities should emphasise the importance of respect through interactive learning programmes and positive examples.

"It is vital to have the support of schools, to inculcate the culture of respect at a young age," said the delegates. "Governments and individuals should realise that we also need to provide facilities for people with disabilities.

"ASEAN can work together to create awareness both at home and in schools."

"With the theme ‘Our Children, Our Future, Our ASEAN’, the three-day forum was attended by 70 delegates representing ASEAN member countries, as well as the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC).

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