The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recognizes the critical role of the youth in facing the various challenges brought about by climate change.

“The youth play a significant role in ensuring climate justice and it is important for us to build a workforce for the future that is climate-literate and who will demand transformative action,” DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga shared in her keynote address delivered by Undersecretary for Field Operations-Luzon, Visayas and the Environment Juan Miguel T. Cuna during the opening of the three-day 4th Philippine Environment Summit in Tagaytay City on February 21.

Loyzaga emphasized that the DENR understands the urgent call for climate action made by the youth and their dissatisfaction with incremental changes in dealing with the climate emergency.

Moreover, she said the DENR values the power of the youth in bringing new ideas and innovations into climate actions.

“When empowered, young people can build climate resilience and adaptive capacity in their communities to enable sustainable response against the impacts of climate change,” Loyzaga said.

She pointed out that the DENR will soon launch a youth-focused initiative that will connect decision makers with youth leaders to boost climate action by showcasing youth-led climate-resilient initiatives and solutions.

During the second day of the Summit, DENR Undersecretary and chief of staff Marilou G. Erni conducted the “Voice of the Youth: Interaction Workshop” where the DENR conversed with youth participants on new ideas and innovations that will aid in meaningful policy decisions and actions on climate change.

The DENR under the administration of Loyzaga aims to implement transformational climate interventions that are trans-disciplinary, time-sensitive, and spatially-targeted in recognition of complex risks that cut across communities, sectors, and levels.

With a focus on risk prevention and preparedness and the breakdown of silos, the DENR said these interventions must include a shared understanding of climate-related risks, creation of a national natural geospatial database, and adoption of climate and disaster resilience in the core business cycles of the private sector.

It also involves continued partnerships with civil society organizations, acceleration of nature-based solutions, education and capacity-building among workers, and the building of geo-strategic awareness of regional and global factors that will reduce the range of adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk reduction options.

With the theme “Caring for Earth: Scaling Up Solutions to the Climate Emergency,” the 4th Philippine Environment Summit was organized by Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Economy in partnership with the DENR.

The event aimed to strengthen multisectoral environmental initiatives and promote cooperation between the academic, business, local government, non-governmental, and youth sectors through the exchange of knowledge and best practices.

Among the 900 attendees were high school and college students with the goal of inspiring future leaders to protect the environment and change mindsets away from the so-called carbon-emitting society. ###