The “Tales from the Coral Triangle” storybook, produced under the ADB Regional Technical Assistance for Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle–Southeast Asia (TA 7813-REG or CTI-SEA), was launched at the ADB Headquarters on Friday, 30 September 2016, at 3 pm at the K-Hub.
The book features 10 winning entries from the “Our Seas” story writing contest for high school students in Palawan, Philippines. It employs fantasy, humor, and drama to highlight the importance of protecting the ocean.
The book launch was attended by ADB senior officials led by Mr. James Nugent (3rd from left), Director General of ADB’s Southeast Asia Regional Department (SERD), who delivered the welcome address. Mr. Jiangfeng Zhang (3rd from right), Director of the Southeast Asia Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division (SEER), Project Officer Nasimul Islam (2nd from left), and Mr. Daniele Ponzi (leftmost) of ADB’s Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department (SDCC) also gave their respective messages. More than 70 guests from various high schools, youth groups, government agencies, and international organizations attended the book launch.
A powerful book showing the journey of self-discovery
In her speech, Ms. Elvira C. Ablaza, PRIMEX President-CEO and CTI-SEA Project Director, said that the book was not just a product of a year’s hard work but rather a culmination of all the activities done under the umbrella project. She highlighted the power of the book in giving voice to young people from remote coastal communities, particularly those who have been rendered invisible, vulnerable, and weak.
“It does not only talk about threats to our fragile ecosystem. It also shares the journey of self-discovery of 10 courageous young ladies who have to overcome shyness, self-doubt, and fears so the world can hear their dreams about the Coral Triangle,” she said.
Ms. Ablaza challenged the audience to amplify the voices of those whose narratives are not heard or seen. To engage the youth better, she suggested giving them more freedom and play time so they can enjoy nature and make that experience a springboard to designing effective solutions that will benefit their communities.
“Listening is the starting point for change.” she said. “If we want to protect the planet better, we need to pay attention to what young people have to say. They are our special and equal partners, so they deserve our support from start to finish.”
Youth as stewards of natural resources
Meanwhile, Mr. Guillermo L. Morales, Team Leader of CTI-SEA and Executive Vice-President of PRIMEX, added that the event was more than just the storybook.
“It’s really about the power of the youth in raising awareness of the various sectors of society, using our God-given marine resources sustainably, and generating actions that we could take as stewards of these blessings for present and future generations to come,” he said.
CTI-SEA is funded by ADB and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). PRIMEX has been implementing the project in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines since 2012. It will contribute towards developing climate-resilient communities in the three countries through pilot projects in climate change adaptation, marine protected areas, and ecosystem-based fisheries management.
Copies of the book maybe downloaded for free from the ADB Publications page. Hard copies may also be ordered directly from ADB.