Dispatch

Empowering girls and young people should be development priority

22 November 2016
(left-right) Head of National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) Dr. Surya Chandra Surapaty, UNFPA Representative Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson and BKKBN’s Deputy for Population Control Dr. Wendy Hartanto at SWOP 2016 launch on Nov.22.
(left-right) Head of National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) Dr. Surya Chandra Surapaty, UNFPA Representative Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson and BKKBN’s Deputy for Population Control Dr. Wendy Hartanto at SWOP 2016 launch on Nov.22.

 

JAKARTA, 22 November 2016: Promoting health, education and empowerment of girls and young people should be development priority, said population observers at a National Seminar, entitled Strengthening Population Control and FP Institution to Ensure Sustainable Development and National Resilience and the Launch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of World Population Report 2016. They stressed the need to strengthen young people’s resourcefulness for their own future and secure their contribution to overall sustainable development and national resilience, including in times of disaster.

“Girls and young people are present and future actors. The success of our population development depends on how we invest in them and engage them optimally for their future  and their community and country,” said BKKBN’s Deputy for Population Control Management Dr. Wendi Hartanto.

“Adolescent girls  have hopes, ideas and aspirations. We need to actively work with them and not for them and to provide them with opportunities to voice their ideas and channel their resourcefulness. With our support, they can become present and future inspirational leaders,” said UNFPA Representative Dr. Annette Sachs Robertson. Stronger partnership with all development partners is needed to address girls’ vulnerabilities and gender inequalities, like early marriage, teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation/cutting, and child labour and trafficking. 

In Indonesia, there are about 66 million young people, out of 255 million total population in 2015. The figure is projected to increase to 69.4 million in 2025 (Population Projection 2010-2035). Ensuring rights-based policies with adequate investment for this age-group, including the country’s 2.3 million girls aged 10 years old, undergoing a period of rapid physical and psychological change - is a smart decision. Universal access to education, health, including reproductive health and various life skill empowerments have high return investment. When they are healthy, educated and empowered, they are able to better their own future, their families and communities.

The fast-paced flow of information, ideas, views and ideologies – made possible by the internet, likely have political, social and cultural effects among Indonesia’s young people as users of internet and social media, said JP Mulyadi, a researcher from Nahdlatul Ulama University. Building the character of the nation’s young people - aged between 10-24 years – by reinforcing life values that respect human rights and promote education, health and self, community and environmental development is important for their own wellbeing and national resilience, including in times of disaster.

Tris Eryando, Head of Biostatistics and Population Department of Faculty of Public Health at the University of Indonesia explained that environmental quality and impact of natural disaster will affect the health and lives of Indonesians, including young people. “Indonesia is a disaster-prone country. We need to formulate a concrete strategy to tap into the role of young people in environmental protection, disaster mitigation and to enhance environmental sustaining capacity,” he said.

All speakers called for strengthening the role and empowerment of young people, through working with young people, parents, teachers and community and religious leaders, and establishing networking with various ministries and organizations/institutions in youth, health, education, empowerment, security and disaster mitigation.