08.02.2013 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Asia-Pacific: multiple initiatives for youth

© UN Photo/Martine Perret

In early 2013, UNESCO continues its efforts to empower youth. Development and capacity building of young people, their civic engagement, their democratic participation and their role in social innovation, as well as in the formulation of public policies, remain key objectives for which UNESCO has worked tirelessly.

Pursuing the idea that young people must benefit simultaneously from competences and opportunities allowing them to engage as true actors of change for peace and sustainable development, UNESCO is striving to help them achieve and exercise their rights, to participate fully in decisions, policies and programs, which include among others: employment, citizenship, education and learning about cultural and public life.

This approach is all the more necessary because recent studies have revealed that 9 out of 10 young people will be living in developing countries by 2025, half of which with less than 2 US$ per day.

In Asia-Pacific countries where the young population keeps growing, youth has thus become a national priority. Not only does its situation need to be improved but also that of society in general. Hence, in February 2013, four major events focusing on young people will be implemented by UNESCO in the Asia-Pacific region, in partnership with the Indonesian, Indian and Timorese governments.

UNESCO supports a National Conference on Youth Migration and Development in India, organized in cooperation with the School of Youth Studies and Extension (SYSE), the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD) and the Arunodhaya Migrants Initiatives (AMI) of Chennai. The purpose of the meeting held on 8 and 9 February 2013, in Chennai, on the campus of the RGNIYD, aims to develop a better understanding of migration issues, and highlight migration policies and the relevance of the Millennium Development Goals in this area. It will also provide a platform for students and young researchers to share their research findings.

In Indonesia, UNESCO organizes a Training Session on Youth Participation and Advocacy. Even if it is clear that young people are involved in their societies, it is still necessary to give them the knowledge and ability to participate in civic life. That is the challenge launched by the UNESCO Office in Jakarta and the Indonesian Government in organizing a four-day training to build the capacity of young women and men to cope with the responsibilities of adult life. This event will be held in Jakarta from 15 to 18 February 2013, and will focus on civic participation of young people in their communities, on advocacy in favour of youth, as well as on leadership.

UNESCO supports Indonesia in organizing a National Dialogue on Inclusive Youth Policies. Aware of the central role of youth policies for the development of rights and needs of young people in Asia and the Pacific, and mainly in Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Youth and the UNESCO Office in Jakarta decided to hear the voice of the young population. This approach is all the more necessary because the growing number of young people in Indonesia makes these citizens key actors of development. The National dialogue on youth policies to be held in Jakarta on 19 February 2013, is thus a major event which will allow to take into consideration young people’s expectations in national policies which affect them directly.

National Consultation on Policies and Laws Affecting Women and Youth in Timor-Leste. Thanks to the Center of Studies for Peace and the Development, and with the support of the UNESCO Office in Jakarta, young women and men will be at the heart of attention in Timor-Leste on 26 February 2013, during a National Consultation in direct continuity with the special mission of the United Nations in this country, which has just ended. This event will concentrate on policies and laws affecting these two vulnerable groups in order to improve the policies and make sure that they take their needs into account. Because young people under 18 who are unemployed, and excluded from a social, economic and political perspective, are most affected by violence, special attention will be given to social inclusion and employment. On this occasion, several policy recommendations will be formulated and discussed during the national workshop which will be attended by about fifty participants, including representatives from various districts and ministries, as well as representatives of NGOs and the media.

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