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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

25 November 2020

Opening Remarks


Youth representatives,  

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to extend my congratulations to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) of the Republic of Korea and the National Council of Youth Organizations in Korea (NCYOK) for organising the 2020 ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit.

We are going through turbulent times. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the socio-economic fabric of our societies like never before.

This crisis is significantly slowing down the progress we have made towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Yet, by working together, we can find solutions to sustainable recovery. The engagement of youth is essential in this process.  

With a population of over 717 million young people in 2019, Asia-Pacific is home to 60 per cent of the global population aged 15 to 24. In ASEAN, 213 million young people will be key to the realization of the SDGs agenda.

Youth still remain catalysts for economic, social, and cultural transformation of our societies in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.  

Dear youth representatives, 

As we mark the United Nations 75th anniversary, today, I am very hopeful that our shared future will be shaped by today’s youth generation.  

ESCAP, along with UN family, recently celebrated the UN75 by engaging directly with a number of young social entrepreneurs from around the Asia-Pacific region to share their unique experiences in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is heartening to witness the dedication of our youth leaders and representatives in working towards finding sustainable development solutions and directing their innovative energies for a better future across all societies and regions.

As we chart out the pathways for a post-COVID-19 era, we look to the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth as sources of untapped innovation potential and economic dynamism.

These unique qualities and foresights are vital as societies forge ahead in this Decade of Action to accelerate progress on the SDGs.

Dear youth representatives, 

The “New Southern Policy”, as proposed by the Republic of Korea, will boost partnership with ASEAN member States, with a focus on harnessing cooperation among its youths.

I am pleased to note that the 2020 ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit with the theme “Togetherness of ASEAN-Korean Youth, for the future of ASEAN-Korean Community” will celebrate the dynamism and the potential of young achievers in the preparation of bright future of our intertwined regions.

Throughout the past 30 years of ASEAN-Korea cooperation, the Republic of Korea has been very active supporter of ASEAN youth engagements.

The promotion of cooperation on science, technology, and innovation through facilitating human resource development in strategic and innovative areas by exchanges of youth experts are key elements of the ASEAN -ROK Plan of Action.

These exchanges scale up digital skills development and youth engagement in the region’s policy discourse.

ASEAN-UN Plan of Action, for example, is another action-oriented framework to support advancing youth economic participation and empowerment in developing the 21st Century Skills. By integrating teaching and learning approach and innovation, the young generation can participate in policy formulation, design and implementation.

Dear youth representatives, 

ESCAP is working closely with member States and all stakeholders to explore new ways to reach out to young people and engage with them to innovate solutions to today’s SDGs implementation challenges.

I am committed to take youth-led and related initiatives forward as our region moves forward to accelerating solution-oriented actions in the post-COVID-19 era.

Investing in youth engagement is significant endeavour to build back better in across all levels in Asia and the Pacific.

Allow me to wish you a very successful 2020 ASEAN-Korea Youth Summit.

Thank you for your attention.

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