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Angga Dwi Martha, UN Youth Adviser for SDGs Implementation in Indonesia, gave a speech at TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Ubud about the untapped potential of youth in Indonesia. Angga is one of the young people working in UNFPA Indonesia country office. His job is to advocate for the role of youth in shaping the implementation of the SDGs in Indonesia. Angga shared his views on why it is important to provide space, opportunity, and investment for youth and the millennials, drawing examples and lessons from his experience growing up in Kayu Aro, a small farming village at the base of Mount Kerinci, in the western part of Sumatra. He highlighted the importance of mentorship for young people and how intergenerational discussion is crucial for creating a harmonious society and fighting populism.

Created in the spirit of TED’s global mission, “ideas worth spreading,” TEDxUbud was founded in 2011 to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDxUbud 2018 brought together a curated group of 450 change-makers, innovators, & social pioneers who are part of a full day schedule of talks, performances, and interaction.

Angga was one of the speakers at this year’s TEDxUbud. He spoke alongside other changemakers, artists, and activists including diversity advocate Meiske Wahyu, Anthropologist Dr. Kelli Swazey, Jazz group NonaRia, and Visual Artist Daniel Connell.

During his talk, Angga also focused on why policymakers should not consider young people as a homogeneous group. He explained that “today’s young people are an extremely diverse generation. They are leaders, workers, investors, and innovators, some of them also living with HIV. There are street children, refugees and displaced youth, and youth with diverse sexual orientations, among others. So by reinforcing the idea that millennials are all the same, means that policies exclude people who don’t fit the stereotype.”

This view is in line with UNFPA’s vision for adolescents and youth. UNFPA believes in a world in which young people’s rights are promoted and protected. The aim of UNFPA’s work in this area is to bring about a world in which girls and boys have optimal opportunities to develop to their full potential, freely express themselves and have their views respected, as well as live free of poverty, discrimination, and violence.

To achieve the SDGs, a fundamental shift is needed. Decisions on the allocation of resources should consider the interests of future generations. Empowering young people means giving them the tools to become influential and productive actors in their societies. To achieve this, countries need to end all forms of discrimination against young people, particularly adolescent girls, such as forced and child marriage and sexual violence, which can result in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and HIV infections, and risk derailing their future.

Central to these efforts must be the promotion of access to education and health services, including reproductive health and family planning. These combined interventions are critical to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, strengthen the resilience of populations in the face of all challenges and seize the opportunities of the new economy.

Angga closed his talk with a strong message to the audience on the need to provide space, opportunity, and investment for young people. He asked the audience to put this message into practice: “So today, I want to challenge all of you. I want you to think about one millennial that is very close in your life or dear to your heart. This could be your children or a person you work with. Think about their challenges and their potential. From tomorrow, I want you to always bring them to the table and be their mentor. Give them space and opportunity, and invest in them. I want to you to tell them no matter where they are, and where they come from, their dreams are valid, and they can change the world even if they live in the shadow of Kerinci.”

UN Youth Adviser for SDGs Implementation in Indonesia, Angga Dwi Martha, presented his talk at TEDxUbud