Voices of Change: Young Southeast Asian women leaders launch the YSEALI Women’s Declaration for Environmental Progress

Watch the Declaration’s launch video here.

Southeast Asia stands as one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to climate change. Extensive research underscores the disproportionate risks women face, who often find themselves in poverty-stricken communities heavily reliant on natural resources (UN Women Watch: Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change). Despite these challenges, data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature has revealed a stark reality: only 6 percent of environmental ministerial positions in ASEAN were held by women in 2020. This imbalance potentially restricts the inclusion of women’s unique perspectives and needs in environmental solutions.

At Wedu, we understand the pressing need to address this gender leadership gap and elevate women’s voices in climate discussions. We proudly stand behind the graduates of the 2023 U.S.-ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy for YSEALI, who have taken a significant step by crafting the inaugural YSEALI Women’s Declaration for Environmental Progress. This milestone accomplishment is the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Mission to ASEAN’s YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) and Wedu, engaging over 50 participants from 11 countries in extensive discussions from February to July 2023.

The YSEALI Women’s Declaration sheds light on the critical environmental challenges faced by each nation in the Southeast Asian region. It offers comprehensive recommendations spanning various sectors and involving stakeholders such as governments, non-profits, academics, civil society, and individuals. The document addresses essential areas: education, policy, technology, cooperation, multi-sector partnerships, inclusion, climate funding, community leadership, and equitable pricing. By taking unified action towards environmental resilience, we can better protect the future generations of Southeast Asia.

U.S. Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues Abby Finkenauer commends the declaration as a testament to the power of multilateral collaboration in her foreword, “I have never been more hopeful about our ability to work together. Seeing you lead and shine, tackling challenges not only in your home countries but in a multilateral way that will change the course of history and deliver a brighter future for everyone across the globe.


Read the declaration here.

💌  Join forces with Wedu today to champion gender equity and elevate women’s leadership in the struggle for climate resilience. Let’s make a meaningful impact together. Write to us at partnerships@weduglobal.org to explore partnership opportunities.

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