Bright Environmental Future for ASEAN Begins with Eco-Schools

From the ASEAN Secretariat’s Press Release

KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA, 28 June 2011 – In an attempt to further strengthen links between the environment and education sectors in ASEAN, senior education and environment officials from ASEAN Member States, have agreed to support the development of a regional eco-schools program. Officials shared details of existing national eco-schools programs, examined international best practices in this area and brainstormed the development of a regional eco-schools program.

The ASEAN Eco-Schools Workshop was jointly organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, the Malaysian Department of Environment, and the ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility – a joint program of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State.

Dr Raman Letchumanan, Assistant Director on Environment from the ASEAN Secretariat said “ASEAN is committed to establishing a well-developed and effective regional eco-schools program.” In 2010, ASEAN developed a five year ASEAN Work Plan on Education (2011-2015) which priorities include support for activities under the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan (AEEAP), including joint initiatives such as the “green” schools concept.

The workshop focused on the development of a regional eco-schools program, that builds on the best examples of environmental education across the region.  The officials also visited ‘Sekolah Lestari’ award winner, St Michaels School. Under Malaysia’s Sekolah Lestari-Environment Award Program, schools across the country are encouraged to develop and implement sustainable features and practices in their schools.

During the school visit, Ms Trinidad M. Lagarto, who shared the Philippines’ experiences in eco-school programs, observed that “this school’s achievements help highlight the strengths of the Sekolah Lestari-Environment Program. With ASEAN Member States all combining the strengths of their individual programs, ASEAN students and educators can look forward to having impressive eco-schools right across the region.”