Bridging the gap between young people and the decision-making process: Youth Talks on ‘Investing in Young People’ at @america in Jakarta



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On Wednesday 23 July, over 200 people from across the Government, UN inter-agency networks, universities, youth-led organisations and other advocacy groups gathered together at @america in Jakarta’s Pacific Place as part of celebrations for this year’s World Population Day theme, ‘Investing in Young People’.


The forum, which was held in collaboration with UNFPA, the UN Inter-Agency Network for Youth Development (IANYD), the US Embassy in Indonesia and @america, was designed as a platform to bring together stakeholders in youth issues, reflecting on lessons learned and  sharing current and future initiatives that are helping young Indonesians from across the archipelago to empower themselves.  


The programme kicked off at 3:00pm, with welcoming remarks from Ms. Kristen F. Bauer, Deputy Chief of Mission from the US Embassy in Jakarta. Mr Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia then took to the stage to share some words of wisdom with the audience.


“We see youth not only as recipients of development, but as participants in the development process,” he said. “It requires hard work and big dreams of the part of young people to imagine and strive for a better world. Our commitment to you, the young people here today, is that we will invest in you to help you become the best you can be”.


UNFPA Representative for Indonesia, Mr Jose Ferraris, was then invited to lead the discussion, where he highlighted the growing importance of investing in Indonesia’s youth, as the biggest cohort of young people in the nation’s history.


“There are over 65 million young people in Indonesia today, almost 30 per cent of the population. Unfortunately, many of these young people continue to lack access to information, services and the decision-making processes that affect their lives and their futures,” he said.


“Investing in our youth by ensuring education and employment opportunities, as well as access to health and social security services is the very best thing we can do to ensure the bright future of our nation”.


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Following introductory remarks, the programme was broken into a series of segments in which representatives from development partners including UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO, UNESCO, UN Volunteers, UNFPA, Pulse Lab Jakarta and ILO were invited to share in the innovative youth programmes and initiatives supported by their organisations. UNFPA showcased its pilot programme in Yogyakarta called “UNALA” which provides youth-friendly private sector-led ASRH services using social franchising. 


Each session was followed by a Q&A with audience members, who were invited to share their thoughts and ask follow-up questions on presentations. An ongoing Twitter feed also captured the major sentiments of the day, which focused on investing in health, education, employment opportunities and information and technology as forms of social empowerment.


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Strong themes emerging from the day were the value of volunteerism, which was offered in various forms by many organisations both nationally and overseas, and the importance of young people ‘thinking outside the box’ and taking their time to decide on their goals and aspirations.


The UNFPA’s Youth Advocate, Mr Angga Dwi Martha, said he was very pleased to see such a great turnout at the event, which was an excellent opportunity to bridge the gap between young people and organisations working at the high-policy level.


“I think the event has been really successful in engaging young people and providing them with opportunities to collaborate and work with the United Nations and other development partners,” he said. “This kind of partnership is needed in shaping the future that youth want, based on their needs, desires and dreams.”

Tags: World Population Day