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JAKARTA, Indonesia-20 July 2017: ASEAN countries have relatively large young people population. Equipping the age group with good education, knowledge, life skill empowerment and opportunities is a top development priority so they can be a resourceful force for development.


The involvement of empowered and productive youth can help optimally stimulate growth and ensure development sustainability.


"We need to design special programmes for the health, empowerment and meaningful engagement of our youth. And sound evidence is key for well-informed initiatives," said UNFPA Regional Director Ms. Yoriko Yasukawa at the launch of ASEAN Youth Development Index in Jakarta.


UNFPA provided technical and funding support for the development of Youth Development Index (YDI) as part of efforts to promote ASEAN countries to optimally empower and engage their relatively large young people population.


The YDI ensures availability and use of quality population data related to youth for evidence-based policies and programmes to uphold their rights. YDI comprises of key statistics to track progress in five domains, namely education, health and well-being, employment and opportunity, political participation and civic participation.


"Youth's role in decision making process is especially important for youth-friendly policies and programmes. They can help identify barriers, challenges and solutions needed for programme effectiveness," Ms. Yasukawa explained.


A member of UNFPA's Youth Advisory Panel 23-year-old Aghnia Dima said youth can also be engaged in SDGs monitoring.