March 2, 2024

Baguio City has officially become part of the Safe and Sound or S2Cities global network of program cities after signing a memorandum of understanding on March 10 with the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia (ICLEI SEA) for the implementation of youth-based S2Cities program.
S2Cities is a global program led by the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation in partnership with ICLEI hosted by the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation with the support of Fondation Botnar, which aims to improve young people’s safety and well-being in urban environments.
Baguio is the first city in the country and second in Southeast Asia to officially be part of the network, following the pilot sites of Bandung, Indonesia and Envigado, Colombia.
City Planning and Development Officer Donna Tabangin said the city was chosen based on its programs promoting youth welfare and involvement, and since Baguio is an education capital hosting young students from all over the country.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the partnership is timely especially since he has been pushing for the youth to take an active role in city affairs and on matters affecting them and starting young in taking leadership roles.
Baguio’s youth take up over 75,000 or 21 percent of the city’s more than 360,000 residents.
Based on the MOU, the city will provide access to a physical space to be used as a venue for a youth hub, allocate a budget for the implementation of young people’s innovations for safety improvement, coordinate with the ICLEI and a local grantee for the execution of the project, establish a city-level technical working group and relevant stakeholders including public sector officials during project activities, among other responsibilities.
ICLEI SEA, represented by Regional Director Victorino Aquitania, shall among other things serve as the key local implementation partner and ensure public sector authorities are engaged throughout the program activities and components.
“It is important that the youth are meaningfully involved in shaping the communities and cities that they will be inheriting in the future. S2Cities program is a platform that will empower them to use their unconventional thinking and fresh perspectives to transform their city in innovative ways. We look forward to working with the local government of Baguio and its youth to make the city a safe and sound city,” Aquitania said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana