ASEAN Youth Forum 2019 was successfully held through the collaboration between ASEAN Youth Forum Committees and ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada in Java Village Resort, Yogyakarta, from 26 September to 28 September 2019.
Attended by 54 delegates from different civil society organizations in ASEAN countries and Timor Leste, the event brought the theme of “Localisation of ASEAN Youth Development Index “Linking ASEAN to the Young People on the Ground”” where they try to address the challenge on campaigning and socializing ASEAN Youth Development Index (YDI) to young people on the ground, such as young people living in remote areas which rarely exposed to ASEAN influence.
On the first day, the participants received keynote address from ASEAN SOMY (Senior Officials Meeting on Youth) Representative of Indonesia from Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia, and Representative from UN Population Funds (UNFPA). The participants were also asked to draw a symbol representing ASEAN that meaningfully engages with young people in a flipchart and then represented their idea to the audience, along with introducing their name and their respective organization.
The discussion then began on the journey of ASEAN Youth Development Index and how it could affect the lives of the young people in ASEAN. The discussion was facilitated by UNFPA representatives and ASEAN SOMY representatives, where they showed the trend of development of young people in different countries all-over ASEAN, and the method of gathering the data. Although one of the biggest challenges in creating ASEAN YDI is data gathering and how to contextualize the data according to the different region, according to the UNFPA representative, however the effort of socializing YDI to young people needs to be continued. The discussion then continued with ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) Representatives from all ASEAN countries, explaining the obstacles each countries facing on youth development. Myanmar still has the ‘homework’ of solving the persecution of Rohingya people in Rakhine state which could hinder the development of the young people there, whereas Indonesia currently in a political turmoil with massive demonstrations held in different cities due to the new bill which weaken the power of Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), fines people for being homeless, jailing people for insulting the president, and many more.
Through this session, the participants and AYF Representatives exchange ideas and concerns about their country’s struggle on youth development and how there are abundant things to overcome in order to achieve the youth development that they envision. After the discussion ended, the delegates then divided into different groups and held a Focus Group Discussion with facilitators from AYF discussing different themes of ASEAN YDI, such as health and well-being, education, employment and opportunities, and participation and engagement. The delegates were asked to share the country’s situation on each theme, what are the things that they have done with their organization to contribute to the improvement of each sector, and share ‘best case practices’ of their organization with other delegates. The day then closed with ASEAN Youth Fair, where all the delegates wore their traditional costumes and showcase their food or merchandises of their countries’ culture.
On the second day, the discussion continued with a different theme, this time it is focusing on the role of ASEAN youth in localization of ASEAN YDI through several ways such as national advocacy, social media advocacy, grassroots campaigning, and feedback mechanisms. The participants shared their way of advocating ASEAN YDI through internet and data, lobbying with the political entities, or through grassroots campaigning which trying to reach out the young people at remote areas. They also discussed how to evaluate YDI on young people through specialized mechanism. The discussion then continued with an Action Plan, where all of the delegates wrote their plan on what will they do after they get back to their countries. The event then closed with a Closing Statement from Ferena, AYF Representatives. She encouraged every delegate to do an action, whether it is small or big, to contribute to the development of youth.