Jakarta, 26 November 2012 – The Road to Bali came full circle today, returning to Jakarta for its penultimate event after a seven-city tour across Indonesia. “The Road to Bali: Indonesian Youth Speak Out,” held Monday 26 November, brought together youth leaders at Jakarta’s Akmani Hotel to recap discussions sparked by events held earlier in Jakarta, Jayapura, Palembang, Surabaya, Semarang, Makassar, and Kupang. Launched 13 August in Jakarta, the Road to Bali has built anticipation and involvement for the Global Youth Forum, to be hosted in Bali from 4-6 December by UNFPA and the Government of Indonesia, through BKKBN.
“We’ve been committed right from the beginning to ensuring this process is inclusive, participatory, and reflects the diversity of youth in Indonesia,” said Mr. Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative in Indonesia. “It was impossible to cover the extent and breadth of Indonesia,” Mr. Ferraris conceded, adding, “We have tried the best we can to engage as many youth across this country in a productive dialogue.”
Nonetheless, Indonesian youth have been drawn in the thousands (see graphic) to the opportunity to share their experiences, concerns, and suggestions in a process that will help shape the UN’s post-2015 global development agenda.
In attendance at Monday’s event were Indonesia’s official youth delegation to the GYF, representatives of Government and NGOs, youth focal points from sister UN agencies, and youth representatives sponsored by UNESCO. Youth representatives shared the variety of issues and aspirations raised at Road to Bali events in their cities, and worked together to formulate a common platform for the Indonesian delegation to the GYF.
The Global Youth Forum is expected to attract about 1,000 attendees, primarily young people, from the UN’s 193 member countries, representing NGOs, civil society, international development partners, and governments. It is the first of the three thematic meetings planned as part of a 20-year review process of the International Conference on Population and Development. A second conference on human rights, slated for May 2013, is being hosted by the Netherlands, and a third conference is being discussed on women’s health. The review process, known as “ICPD Beyond 2014,” aims to address key issues and generate recommendations for a future development agenda.
The Forum is expected to establish a platform for sustained worldwide conversation about youth issues. Leading this effort have been the dialogues held in seven cities on the Road to Bali, centered onthe GYF’s five pillars: staying healthy; comprehensive education; promoting transitions to decent work; families, youth rights, and well-being; and leadership and meaningful youth participation.
Common issues raised by Indonesian youths included unequal access to education, as well as its commercialization, lack of access to reproductive health services, morality, and the perils of individualistic tendencies. In addition, geographic factors, the paceof development, and unequal access to information in each citypresented different sets of problems and needs.
“Youth issues in every city are naturally going to be different. Therefore, the Road to Bali has toured the nation so that representatives of Indonesian youth in each city can call to attention their problems and solutions to youth matters,” explained UNFPA Youth Advocate Angga Dwi Martha.
Discussion in Palembang concerned the high crime rate among young people, attributed to unemployment. Surabaya highlighted youth awareness on environmental issues, while Semarang addressed the lack of public space and support of local government for youth movements and communities. In Makassar, young people highlighted the tendency of youth to employ “anarchist conduct” in service of their aspirations. Lastly, youth in Kupang underscored their need for access to reproductive health information, the absence of which they attribute to the persistence of traditional circumcision practices in some parts of East Nusa Tenggara.
Local youth speakers included Dr. Azwar Zulmi, a young medical doctor whocounsels youth on health in Palembang; Vania Santoso, a Surabaya-based activist and founderof a local community focusing on environmental issues; Dyah Kusuma Sekararum, a young entrepreneur from Salatiga with big dreams for Indonesia; Mudrikan Nacong, a media and communications practitioner advocacting on behalf of youth problems in Makassar; and Sischa Salokana, a volunteer for a number of local communities and rehabilitation centers in Kupang.
Experts in attendance included Syaifudin Zakirin Palembang, Yayan Sakti Suryandaru in Surabaya,Septi Peni Wulandani in Semarang, Zulkhair Burhan in Makassar, and Denimars Sailana and Primus Lake in Kupang. The Road to Bali benefitted from the help and hard work of many local youth volunteers and organizations. Among them: Sriwijaya University’s Faculty of Social and Political Science in Palembang,Airlangga University’s Department of International Relations in Surabaya,Diponegoro University’s Department of Communication Arts and AIESEC in Semarang, Hasanuddin University’s Department of International Relations in Makassar, and Nusa Cendana University’s Faculty of Agriculture in Kupang. Additional support for the Road to Bali was provided by the Ford Foundation.
Youth on the Road to Bali:
Agus Burniat (21), Palembang
“The Road to Bali in Palembang united local youth in the spirit of working together to solve issues we face. The very inspiring focus group discussion session was an important moment for us to exchange our aspirations and solutions. After the Global Youth Forum in Bali, hopefully youth here and elsewhere will take real action to make the world a better place.”
Megawati Irawan (19), Makassar
“The Road to Bali is a call to action: the time has come for youth to make a better world.”
Muhammad Ibnu Sina (21), Semarang
“The Road to Bali in Semarang was TRULY AMAZING! Thank you for coming to Semarang, cheers from youth in the city so thirsty for international events with constructive spirit like this one. When we shed our vestedinterests, our regard for ethnicities, religions, races, and political affiliations, everybody blends into one spirit to build a better Indonesia, bravo GYF!”