The Young Peace-builders for Climate Action (YPCA) aims to strengthen the role of young people in promoting sustainable environmental development in peace-building and governance processes, enhance awareness and develop the potentials of young peace advocates as future leaders in community-based disaster risk reduction and management, climate change adaptation, and conflict prevention.

This accelerator program seeks to gather thirty (30) fellows, ideally between 18-25 years old, from the ten (10) Southeast Asian countries on 26-30 July 2017 in Quezon City, Philippines.

The rigorous program will specifically target fellows from conflict-affected and disaster-prone areas in Southeast Asia and capacitate them with the skills and knowledge they need to take action on issues related to climate change and disaster management.


In November 2012, the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines suffered a calamity of catastrophic proportions. Super typhoon Bopha struck the southern and central provinces of Mindanao with brutal force, bringing everyday life in the poverty-stricken and conflict-ridden region of over 6 million people to a virtual halt. The destructive winds produced by the storm also caused widespread deforestation in the region. Days later, Mindanao looked like a battle-scarred zone, with uprooted trees on the roads, electricity poles and debris littered on the streets, and facades and rooftops of buildings missing. Ironically, these images are not new to Mindanao as millions of people are displaced each year in the region, not only by natural hazard-related disasters such as typhoon and floods, but also by decades-long conflicts deeply rooted on ethnical and religious sentiments.

A closer examination shows this experience is not unique to the Philippines with some disaster-prone countries in Southeast Asia presently experiencing or are recovering from various forms of intra-state conflict or inter-communal violence. In addition to natural disasters, conflict and violence cause deep humanitarian challenges in the region. In the Southern Thailand, for instance, a separatist insurgency continues to undermine the security and development of ethnic Malay Muslim provinces of the Pattani region. Meanwhile, some areas in Indonesia are still marred by inter-communal violence between Muslim migrants and Christian or indigenous communities.

A major impact of disasters and conflicts in Southeast Asian countries was the realization that governments could not and should not do it alone. Without concrete action, these will continue to damage the social, economic, and cultural aspects of the people’s lives in these communities. As such, there is a need for governments to consult with all of the stakeholders who demand for participation in the decision-making process of institutions since these policies directly or indirectly impact their lives. And the process of building climate resilience in Southeast Asia’s conflict-affected communities can rely on the largely untapped resource yet: the youth.

Program Objectives



  • Promote environmental peace-building as a substantial component for community-based disaster risk reduction and management for conflict-affected communities in Southeast Asia;
  • Provide participants with practical knowledge, skills and materials on the “threat multiplier” effects and the complex and dynamic interrelationship between armed conflicts and natural disasters in the context of the Southeast Asia;
  • Gain insights from the experiences of Philippine civil society organizations, local government agencies, and local communities that are actively engaged in disaster preparedness and peace-building activities;
  • Develop the digital and technical skills of the participants using online tools to communicate issues related to disasters and climate change, as well as existing efforts from different stakeholders to prevent and mitigate them;
  • Raise the awareness of the fellows on the important role of public policies and governance processes in climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and peace-building.
  • Create a network of emerging peace-builders in Southeast Asia who will conceptualize and mainstream innovative community-based disaster management projects for conflict-affected communities in partnership with different stakeholders, including the governments, schools, business groups, and media, among others; and
  • Facilitate actions and exchange of best practices at the local, national and regional levels that fellows can use in sustaining disaster management and peace-building efforts in their respective home communities.



April 25 to May 26, 2017 Application period
June 2017 Announcement of accepted participants
June 2017 Launching event at the University of Philippines – Diliman
5 June to 7 July, 2017 Online incubator and preparation program
26 to 30 July, 2017 Accelerator Program in Quezon City, Philippines
August 2017 Implementation of community projects

Highlights of the Program



  • The program will utilize innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum that will allow the fellows to produce tangible results and impactful initiatives. It will provide a simulation program to enable the fellows to form teams and hone their leadership skills through interactive modules and projects.
  • The program will concentrate on enhancing the capacity of the youth in taking action on environmental and governance processes. The fellows will be enrolled in a project accelerator program composed of lectures, workshops, mentorship sessions, outreach and field visits, which will focus on building their skills and knowledge on project management, multi-stakeholder partnerships, fundraising, social media, and policy writing and advocacy, and lobbying, among many others.
  • Several institutions in the fields of climate change, peace-building, disaster management and environmental protection will be invited to grace the program as mentors and lecturers, including the Local Government Academy of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN Development Program Philippines, Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Center for Disaster Preparedness, Philippine Climate Change Commission and Office of Civil Defense, among others.
    The project will feature successful community-based disaster risk reduction and management initiatives in the Philippines and provide the fellows with an opportunity to engage in such initiatives. Fellows will also have a chance to visit the newly-established command center of the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
  • Selected fellows will also undergo an online incubator program with the leadership education specialists of the Honolulu-based East-West Center, which hosts academic fellowships with a focus on global environmental issues.
  • At the end of the program, the fellows are required to submit and present innovative community project proposals to a panel of mentors. The fellows will be grouped by country to generate multi-stakeholder community-based initiatives, which will each receive funding to put their ideas into action with mentorship from the organizers and partners.