6 ways UNDP engaged with young people in Asia and the Pacific in 2016

Feb 2, 2017

With more than half of the world's young people living in Asia and the Pacific, they are a crucial partner in the race to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and Country Offices have positioned themselves to be the partner of choice for youth empowerment and engagement in the region.

This newsletter is just a snapshot of the great work UNDP is doing with young people throughout the region. To stay up-to-date on our work, be sure to follow our hashtag '#WeAre2030' on Facebook and Twitter, or keep up with us online here.

1. UNDP & Baoshang Bank launch regional project to foster leadership, entrepreneurship & innovation among youth

UNDP BRH and China-based Baoshang Bank inked an agreement to launch a regional network of youth leaders and incubators dedicated to social entrepreneurship. The partnership will explore new ways to create opportunities for young people in Asia-Pacific and beyond, including a regional event on innovation and entrepreneurship for youth.

Asian Youth Innovation Forum: UNDP, together with INTEL, Citi, SAP, and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Volunteers (UNV), and AIESEC, organized the Asian Youth Innovation Forum, as part of the Asia and the Pacific Regional SDG Forum, which was held from 21-27 October and included representatives from ministries, agencies of planning, and finance. The Asian Youth Innovation Forum brought together 35 young participants from eight countries in Asia-Pacific, who were winners of country and regional innovation challenges, along with distinguished young social innovation teams in the region.

2. The Development Solutions Team makes 2016 the 'Year for Youth Engagement'

Throughout Asia and the Pacific, UNDP BRH is approaching youth challenges through three core areas, in line with the corporate UNDP Youth Strategy:

  1. Enhanced economic empowerment;
  2. Enhanced civic engagement and political participation; and
  3. Strengthened engagement in disaster preparedness, crisis response, and resilience building in crisis/conflict context.

This work is informed and enhanced by UNDP’s leading research on youth and development in Asia-Pacific, Youth empowerment projects in at last 19 COs and an active Youth Development Solutions Team (DST) in BRH. With this in hand, UNDP is strongly positioned to engage with and empower youth, and thus increase regional development in Asia-Pacific, in line with the 2030 Agenda over the coming years.

3. UNDP country offices take a leading role in the implementation of the global 'Youth Strategy'

UNDP Country Offices continue to be the driving force in the implementation of the global Youth Strategy. Through this strategy, COs in the region approach youth employment through the lens of livelihoods for vulnerable youth, employment, entrepreneurship and innovation. Below are some great examples of CO initiatives that align with the Youth Strategy and SDGs:

Enhanced economic empowerment:

  • UNDP Samoa: The ‘Youth Employment Project’ aims at improving the accessibility of youth to vocational training and second chance education for employment in both formal and informal sector; decreasing their hardships through support for economic development initiatives; and building knowledge on youth development to ensure responsive and relevant interventions in the medium and long terms. Find more here.

Enhanced civic engagement and political participation

  • UNDP Nepal: Glocal Teen Hero is a platform for Nepali teenagers who are aspiring leaders, advocates and change makers within their respective schools and communities. Glocal Teen Hero aims to motivate Nepali youth to follow their dreams and develop entrepreneurial and social thinking towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Find more here.

Strengthened engagement in disaster preparedness, crisis response, and resilience building in crisis/conflict context

  • UNDP Bangladesh: BBC Media Action, BDYouth, and UNDP Bangladesh are collaborating to manifest a campaign programme called '#YouthQuake'. The campaign launched “The Earthquake Preparedness Campaign Challenge” or “the Challenge” that seeks to generate new youth groups who are interested in disaster risk reduction issues, while developing economic opportunities for themselves. Find more here.

Additionally, UNDP COs continue to put youth at the heart of the SDGs through policy advocacy at the highest levels, as well as programmatic support and project development at the local level. Through these endeavors, UNDP encourages north-south and south-south collaboration around specific learning initiatives from countries (within and outside the region) that have had some degree of success in keeping youth unemployment levels low.

For more on the great work the CO's are doing, be sure to check us out on Yammer at Youth Specialist Asia-Pacific!

4. UNDP & young people team up to advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals!


In June, 19 young community leaders from more than 10 countries in Asia and the Pacific were brought together by UNDP and UN Volunteers in Bangkok for a three-day workshop. The event culminated in the creation of a new youth-led network, 2030 Youth Force, which aims to raise awareness and empower youth in the region to effectively engage with the SDGs. 

Following the workshop, an online space connecting 2030 Youth Force members, as well as UNDP and UNV staff, and AIESEC volunteers, was created to coordinate campaigns and continue networking.

To mark International Youth Day on 12 August 2016, the 2030 Youth Force, UNDP BRH, UNV and UNDP country offices ran a regional social media campaign on the SDGs, as well as published an Op-Ed by Nicholas Rosellini in the Nikkei Asian Review.

5. UNDP BRH positions itself as a thought leader on youth

UNDP is at the forefront of research on the current state of youth in the Asia-Pacific region, shedding light on youth engagement in labour markets, political participation and national development. This research has been disseminated through two major regional reports (linked below).

Country Offices are also taking the lead on research. In 2016, the UNDP Mongolia CO launched the Mongolia Human Development Report 2016 focusing on including youth in the country's development, while the UNDP Pakistan CO made preparations to launch a similar report in 2017.

·         Regional Human Development Report (RHDR): “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development” (April 2016)

·         Switched On: Youth at the Heart of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific (March 2016)

6. Youth at the Heart of the 2030 Agenda: The Case for Space

The Case for Space roundtable event brought together over 250 young activists, civil society and development organizations, private sector and foundations’ representatives and UN country representatives from almost 30 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The Case for Space had a strong focus on foresight and scenario planning, this roundtable laid the groundwork for longer-term regional engagement by UNDP and other partners to create an enabling environment for youth to engage with the SDGs.

Two major outcomes of the Case for Space were the adoption of the Youth Statement and Call to Action, as well success of the #Case4Space social media campaign that saw more than 3 million people across the globe liking, sharing, and reading about the event.

To learn more about the Case for Space, be sure to checkout our website at www.case4space.org


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