Government officials and youth promote evidence-based principles for youth development in Asia
Government officials, youth development practitioners and youth leaders representing 17 Asian countries are sharing experience about evidence-based approaches of their youth development policies and programming.
These discussions are taking place at a technical workshop in Bangkok, Thailand this week, where more than 80 officials from government, civil society, youth representatives and international partners have been discussing ways to increase the use of youth indicators and global data in the national youth policies.
Many participants have recognized young people and evidence-based youth policies as “essential components” of their nations’ development, and called for recognition and investment by Asian leaders. They also agreed to devise country action plans to strengthen their youth policy development and implementation.
Running from 29 May until 1 June, the technical workshop represents an important inter-agency effort: it was convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat along with 9 UN entities: DESA, ESCAP, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN Habitat, UNV and UN Women. Regional organizations representatives from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) presented regional youth frameworks, including the ASEAN Youth Development Index.
Over 60% of the world’s youth population lives in the Asia-Pacific region, or 717 million young persons aged 15 to 24 years. Within the region itself, young people account for 19% of the population. Many youth across the region have benefited from its social and economic development. Youth unemployment remains the lowest among all regions of the world, at 11%. Between 2000 and 2011, secondary and tertiary education enrollment rates increased from 51 to 64% and 14 to 26% respectively.
Though net enrollment in secondary education has been steadily increasing, challenges persist. Transition to the labor market remains a major challenge as youth unemployment is more than double the rate of the total working age population. Asian youth can be a great force for economic and political change, namely an indicator of a coming demographic dividend, if countries make strategic investments in health, education and governance at all levels.
The 2030 Agenda recognizes young people as agents of change. The global focus on the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, provides young people and other stakeholders with an opportunity to be more meaningfully involved at all levels, particularly as pertaining to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of youth related policies aimed at bolstering the 2030 Agenda.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “I hope that new generations will be able to do what the present generation has not been able to do: to strengthen a democratic multilateral governance mechanism in order to allow peace to prevail in our world.”
Over the four-day workshop, participants are discussing how evidence can be used at all the youth policy process, from formulation to monitoring. They are also sharing good practice on youth engagement and social inclusion in youth policies, and developing their capacity to mainstream youth in sectoral policies.
Participating countries, represented by youth ministry officials, regional and national youth leaders and national statisticians, were: Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Viet Nam.
Source: UNDESA & UNESCAP