SWOP Report Highlights Power of Indonesia’s Young People

10 December 2015

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Left to right: Mr. Douglas Broderick, UN Resident Coordinator; Mr. Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Indonesia Representative; and Dr. Fasli Jalal, Chairman of BKKBN, at the launch of the SWOP 2015 report in Jakarta on 7 December 2015.


The State of World Population (SWOP) report is released globally by UNFPA headquarters every year, with a focus on different population issues that warrant global attention. This year’s focus was on the world’s young people, or those aged 10 to 24, under the title, “The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future.”


UNFPA Indonesia launched the report at a national seminar attended by around 250 participants, including high-level representatives from the Government of Indonesia, UN agencies, and various universities, community organisations, civil society groups and youth leaders. After the formal launch in the morning, a youth-friendly event was hosted in the afternoon at the same venue, in the ballroom of the JS Luwansa Hotel Jakarta.


Speaking at the formal launch, UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Douglas Broderick emphasised the importance of prioritising young people’s needs and aspirations in the emerging post-2015 development agenda.


“Young people will not only be the inheritors of the new development agenda, they will also be the ones implementing it in the years to come,” he said. “That is why it is imperative for us to include adolescents and youth in drafting and following the agenda, as well as ensuring that it meets the concerns of their generation.”


Mr. Jose Ferraris, UNFPA Representative, in his opening remarks pointed out that now is the time to invest in young people, before the window of opportunity closes for Indonesia to yield a demographic dividend.


“The benefits of the demographic dividend are not automatic – they depend on investment in young people starting today. If planners and policy makers fail to invest in the potential of youth, then the demographic dividend can become a demographic burden,” he said.


Citing data from the 2010 Population Census, Mr. Ferraris highlighted Indonesia’s achievements and challenges in providing young people with rights and opportunities, and pointed to the improved circumstances for young people in education, gender equality, jobs and health, including sexual and reproductive health.


“Indonesian youth of today are healthier, better educated, more urbanized and more connected to the rest of the world than preceding generations. Relative to preceding generations, young Indonesians today tend to stay in school longer, postpone their entry into the labour market, and delay marriage and childbearing with the expectation of having fewer children. This is a positive sign for the fulfillment of young people’s rights in Indonesia,” Mr. Ferraris said.


However, one of the biggest challenges to fulfilling the potential of young people, and their power to transform the nation, he said, is inequality in access to rights and opportunities. Poverty remains a strong barrier to education, especially in junior high school and beyond. There is also a rural-urban divide in access to jobs, education and health information and services. Girls find easy access to primary and junior high school, but begin to struggle for gender equality in higher education and struggle even harder to achieve equality in the workplace. Both young women and men still face obstacles in achieving their reproductive rights.


These are the challenges that UNFPA faces in supporting Indonesia to fulfill the potential of its younger generation and invest in a brighter future for the nation. Work is ongoing to gather and analyse data on young people that can help planners and policy makers make the most of their potential, including by involving them in decision-making.


This year, UNFPA Indonesia launched a publication titled “Youth in Indonesia” as part of its monograph series, to highlight the potential of youth and the obstacles to its fulfillment. Also released on the day of the SWOP launch was a publication titled “Investing in Young People in Indonesia: Inspirational Young Leaders Driving Social Change”. The book profiled 21 high-achieving young Indonesians who can serve as an example for their generation.


The SWOP report complements UNFPA Indonesia’s ongoing work on adolescents and youth, and is expected to support efforts for the inclusion of young people in programmes, policies and decision-making in partnership with the Government of Indonesia.


Speaking at a press conference after the launch, Dr. Fasli Jalal, Chairman of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) pledged continued support for fulfilling the potential of every young Indonesian and investing in a ‘demogaphic dividend’ for the nation.


“As a nation, we have to look at the potential of each individual child, and provide them with fertile soil to grow in, nuture them and give them opportunities to work in whichever field they choose,” he said.