The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has presented the ASEAN Eco-Schools Award 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in time for the ASEAN Environment Year (AEY) 2012 celebration with the theme, “Evironmental Awareness through Eco-Schools.”

A press statement from the ASEAN said, the association “is committed to promote environmental education and public participation to achieve the vision of a clean and green ASEAN. Schools that inculcate the value of environmentally sustainable policies and practices as an integral part of them play a critical role in educating the young generation on the importance of involvement in environmental protection and nature conservation.”

Attended by environment ministers and representatives from ASEAN countries as well as China, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN Environment Year 2012 launch was officiated by Dato’ Sri Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Malaysia.

“In line with the theme of this year’s ASEAN Environment Year, ASEAN will be showcasing the role of schools in promoting environmental awareness. It will be providing an exciting and stimulating environment where principles and values associated with wise resource management and conservation are introduced and instilled among the young as early as possible,” he said.

He said, “Schools create a rich and supportive environment that, firstly, reinforces and rewards sustainable behaviors, but more importantly, foster and solidify the thought processes that constantly question accepted norms and standards for wise resource use and sustainability, and push the environment performance to cleaner and more resource conserving level.”

ASEAN said the inaugural ASEAN Eco-schools Award 2012 was presented to selected primary and secondary eco-schools from ASEAN member-states to recognize their efforts in inculcating environmental awareness in all aspects of education to students and surrounding communities.

Selection of the eco-schools was based on national criteria and the ASEAN Guidelines on Eco-schools adopted by the ASEAN Environment Ministers in 2011. The guidelines serve as a reference and regional standard for environmentally friendly model schools in the region.

ASEAN said the event also provided an opportunity for government officials and schools principals from ASEAN Member States to exchange views on environmental education policies and best practices on eco-schools initiatives and activities.

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