The energy and enthusiasm of youth is abundant, yet millions of young people in Asia and the Pacific experience the stark realities of poverty, hardship, and in some cases, exploitation and abuse. The youth of the region need to be provided with opportunities to fulfill their potential and play more significant roles in the national development. The challenges young people face include unemployment, substance abuse, delinquency, HIV and AIDS and limited access to education and resources, including ICT. Another critical challenge relates to a lack of leadership and participation, with young people not given opportunities to contribute to the dynamic growth of the region. This is particularly relevant in the context of the region’s diversity and given that the theme for the International Year of Youth, which commences on 12 August 2010 (International Youth Day), is “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.
ESCAP acts as the regional focal point for the World Programme of Action for Youth, a blueprint for national action and international support to foster conditions and mechanisms to promote improved well-being and livelihood among young people. Through its convening power, ESCAP works to build consensus and facilitate dialogue among relevant entities working on youth issues. ESCAP also provides technical support to Governments and other stakeholders by way of
ESCAP acts as the chair of the Asia-Pacific Interagency Group on Youth. This Group, comprising United Nations system entities and key stakeholders, undertakes joint advocacy for the implementation of policies that build the capacity of youth to contribute to development, as well as protect them from negative social and environmental influences. The Group also promotes information sharing and networking, enhancing cooperation and coordination, and disseminating innovative/good practices and lessons.
The Social Development Division of ESCAP, in collaboration with the International Award Association (IAA), will convene the “Regional Consultation on Developing Youth Leadership in Asia and the Pacific” on 4 April 2011 at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok.
During the Regional Consultation, discussions will focus on how plans by ESCAP and IAA to establish the Network of Emerging Leaders in Asia and the Pacific (NELAP) may most effectively be implemented.