Empowering Youth in Asia-Pacific
In response to the worldwide phenomenon of young men and women calling for meaningful civic, economic, social and political participation, UNDP’s Youth Strategy 2014-2017 recognizes the involvement of young men and women in participatory decision-making and development processes as vital to achieving sustainable human development. Identifying development challenges and issues facing youth today, the strategy offers recommendations for strategic entry points and engagement of a broad range of partners in addressing youth empowerment.
UNDP has been providing extensive support to national policy development and implementation in the five regions, through the provision of evidence-based policy guidance and programmatic support and by promoting active participation of youth, including the most marginalized and vulnerable in all spheres of society.
UNDP supports the capacity development of young people and youth-led organizations, and the development of youth caucuses in government, parliament and other bodies. We engage with relevant stakeholders through outreach, advocacy, thought leadership, global networks, and policy debates, in particular in the context of the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. We also support the mainstreaming of youth issues in development planning and inter-ministerial and inter-sectorial coordination.
Young people in Asia and the Pacific
According to the Regional Human Development Report published in 2016, more than half of the world’s young people live in Asia and the Pacific. It is a region facing up to the challenges of extreme poverty and climate change, but brimming with economic dynamism and a youthful workforce. What’s more, nearly a billion people in Asia are below the age of 15, particularly in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This means that by 2050, it is projected that the region will have more working-age people, and fewer older and younger dependents than at any point in its history. This ‘youth bulge’ offers the region a unique opportunity to lift millions more out of poverty and ultimately close the gap with the developed world.
While the region has witnessed enormous progress in recent years, studies show that youth continue to face challenges, from the inequitable provisions of services and employment opportunities, to social and political exclusion, and persistent gaps in gender equality. Many countries are now confronting complex and interconnected challenges, such as the ageing process, growing youth populations, poor labour markets, climate change and rapid rates of urbanization, all of which are placing enormous pressure on the next generation.
In response, governments and international organisations, private sector and civil society organisations are increasingly introducing initiatives that harness the transformative energy of youth through social entrepreneurship and innovation.
UNDP in Asia and the Pacific, prioritizing youth participation in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the Sustainable Development Goals, is approaching these challenges through three core areas, in line with the corporate UNDP Youth Strategy: (i) enhanced economic empowerment; (ii) enhanced civic engagement and political participation; and (iii) strengthened engagement in disaster preparedness, crisis response, and resilience building in crisis/conflict context.
The #Case4Space photo competition, 15 March – 5 May, is aimed at raising awareness and advocating for civic space in Asia-Pacific through photography. Lasting for 8 weeks, the competition will release a weekly question that relates to one of the Case for Space themes. The top 25 photos with the most likes (wows, and/or hearts) will be judged by a panel of independent artists, development professionals and UN staff. From the top 25 photos, ten will be selected for printing and display at the "Evidence-based Policies on Youth Development in Asia" workshop taking place on 29 May-1 June in Bangkok, Thailand. The photographer with the top photo will be win a fully funded trip to present their work to the workshop participants. Learn more.