Bart W. Édes opens the championship dinner of the Philippine Inter-collegiate Debating Championship

Bart Edes Photo

Isang maalab at maligayang pagbati sa inyong lahat! Ikinalulugod namin kayong makasama ngayong gabi.

Welcome to the Championship Dinner of the Philippine Inter-Collegiate Debating Championship!

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” So said Mahatma Ghandi, the face of India’s struggle for self-rule in British colonial times. Employing well-chosen words – and nonviolent civil disobedience – Ghandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Ghandhi was a debater who challenged injustice and the status quo.

Debate provides significant benefits for individuals and for societies. It teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence, and respect for different points of view. In doing so, it can help close the gap between minority and majority cultures, and other groups divided by animosities of one kind or another.

Debate demands critical thinking, effective communication, and independent research and teamwork. It teaches skills that serve students well in school, and later in the workplace. Debate also enables people to fulfill their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies.

As you have certainly recognized, students who debate are better able to critically examine the statements of their leaders, and to make carefully formed judgments about crucial public policy issues.

While Ghandi is most closely associated with his native India, he first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. Many years later, another champion of social justice in South Africa, the Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, once stated: “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.”

And improving your argument is something that you all have been doing in the period leading up to this Championship.

The Asian Development Bank is thrilled to be hosting this event, and delighted to welcome the 60 participating debate teams and 300 debaters.

I would like to thank the University of the Philippines Debate Society for organizing another exciting edition of this annual event, and to recognize the president of the UP Debate club, Weston Lee.

This Championship provides a dynamic forum within which Filipino youth can explore and analyze various issues relevant on a national and global scale.

If you have not already done so, please serve yourself a plate of food, and get a seat for the main event – the final debate between the Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University, and the Fighting Maroons of UP-Diliman. I am eager to see which side aligns more closely with the old English proverb: “Use soft words and hard arguments.”

I wish both sides the best of luck. And for everyone: Mabuhay kayong lahat at magandang gabi muli.

For more details on the social media buzz created by the event, follow us on Twitter and search #PIDCxADB.


Celebrating Women’s Month


Photo credit:

To mark the beginning of our celebration for Women’s Month this March, here are a few must-read articles:

Water is a Woman’s Business in Indonesia’s Aceh and Nias

In the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, women are the main collectors, users and managers of water. They are also primarily responsible for the health and hygiene of household members. In the public sphere of decision making about water supply and sanitation, however, women have limited voice. Why? Because in this cultural context, traditionally the public sphere of decision-making and leadership is “men’s business” while the private sphere of home and family is “women’s business”.


(Click on the link to read the rest of the article)

Two Thai Women and a Passion for Organic Food

For some, food preparation is their profession, while for others it is their passion. For Khun Mantana Leksomboon and Khun Supatra Chadbunchachai, who live in Thailand’s Kalasin and Khon Kaen provinces, the production of organic vegetables started as an interest that soon blossomed into a real passion. A passion for life.


(Click on the link to read the rest of the article)

Tomorrow’s Women Water Leaders in Lao PDR

Phahatphane Manivanh is one of 26 female students awarded a scholarship to do a 4-year undergraduate degree in environment science. Her 25 other peers are studying civil and environment engineering at the National University of Lao and the Vocational Institution of Technology in Vientiane.


(Click on the link to read the rest of the article)

Just a happy little reminder from us to you —

26 days to go before the deadline of #DearYouth Video Blog Competition! Don’t forget to send in your entries in time! 🙂


Day 3: Sound bites from Eye on Asia


Yolanda Kakabadse (WWF): We need to balance Asia’s wealth of human and natural capital.

Kakabadse: No one can do it alone. Through partnership, we can do better.

Khalid Mohtadullah (GWP): Treaties will only work if there is good will between the countries that are part of the treaties.

Shahriar Wahid (ICIMOD): Ecosystem services and benefit sharing mechanisms are needed between upstream and downstream communities.

Wahid: We need to Revitalize, Reinforce, Reunite, Redesign and Rebrand for effective mountain development.

Ms. Jian-hua Meng (WWF): Hydropower is renewable, potentially sustainable but threat to freshwater ecosystem.

Laila Petrie (WWF): Getting water is a fundamental right, but paying for water is also a fundamental obligation.

Petrie: Water stewardship is going beyond your own fence line.

Mr. Felix Ockborn (H&M): It’s not enough to be a clean fish in a dirty pond.


Day 3: Looking forward in Asia

 By Apurva Sahu

Eye on Asia has been a day-long event at Stockholm World Water Week since 2008. This year, the ADB focused on the theme of SWWW called “Water cooperation – Building Partnership,” and set their own: “New players, smarter rules, better outcomes.” The ADB Youth Partners also participated and gave their voice to the event.

This day-long event allowed participants to understand how connections between multi-stakeholders help in resolving conflicts and create new possibilities for development.



Mr. Ian Makin of the ADB Water Team. Photo by YoungJin Kim. Copyright 2013.


Mr. Khalid made remarks that glaciers are overexploited for human needs and shared his views on how to make trans-boundary water treaties successful. Mr. Tim Cullen (ADB) gave an interesting illustration about sisters and how they shared an orange. The more logical idea would be to cut it in half, but when they discussed the needs for the orange, one sister said she needed the skin for something she was baking, while one sister wanted the fruit for juice. In that case, both get 100% instead of 50%. This analogy fit perfectly–stakeholders must know what the real needs are and understand other stakeholders.

Mr. Cullen added that trust is most important for the success of trans-boundary river treaties. However, there are still questions unanswered: how is this trust is built, and who builds this trust?

Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse (WWF) focused on the need to work across the sectors and learn from other sectors.

ICIMOD provided eye-opening information to the participants of Eye on Asia. He said that mountains can actually minimize the variability of rainfall patterns. ICIMOD concluded by summarizing action items in 5Rs: revitalize, reinforce, reunite, redesign, and rebrand.

Post-coffee break, the most interesting presentation for some participants of Eye on Asia was by Mr. Felix from H&M. Participants wanted to know more about the perspective and intention of the business/retail industry on water conservation. “Are there any hidden intentions?” an audience member asked.

During the post-coffee break discussion, WWF took the lead for water stewardship in the Asian context. They also talked about their collaboration with corporations to work on global issues.

After lunch, all participants, including the ADB Youth Partners, collaborated on the round table discussion on trans-boundary negotiations case prepared by ADB called “The Game of Flows.”


Winners of The Game of Flows. Photo by YoungJin Kim. Copyright 2013.

Day 3: Eye on Asia

Happening today:

Two countries, both sharing the same river
At World Water Week, where we stage our game
Face challenges of securing water
While meeting the forces of climate change.

Follow the saga of two nations, Gorthia and Noramas, that depend on one river, the Gorthnoram, in their quest to achieve water security for the future.

Join us in the Game of Flows.