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Realizing Youth Inclusion for a More Sustainable Asia and the Pacific

image of Realizing Youth Inclusion for a More Sustainable Asia and the Pacific

This report aims to broaden understanding of the multitude of institutional and sociocultural barriers youth face in realizing their potential. It uses findings revealed by a primary research project in six countries in the Asia-Pacific region covering over 10,000 youth aged 18-24, and providing a unique wealth of information from youth talking first-hand about their situation, concerns and hopes. Motivated by requests of ESCAP member States, the report aims to provide insight into the most pressing issues that affect youth inclusion in social, economic and civic domains. The findings are derived from analysing data collected through a comprehensive questionnaire and a series of focus group discussions in 12 cities in the six countries. However, relevance of the findings extends beyond the context of the areas surveyed. Throughout Asia and the Pacific significant numbers of youth are excluded from the impressive socioeconomic advances of recent decades. This report sheds light on these people and how they differ from those who are more privileged. The findings reveal that gender remains a large contributor to inequality, often restricting access to education and employment, and participation in political activities. Nevertheless, those of low wealth, ethnic minorities, certain castes or religious groups are often even more excluded from such spheres, while also receiving fewer opportunities to increase social and human capital, such as through access to associations and the Internet. The report considers the options many developing countries face as they seek to more effectively tap into the potential of youth and progress along the pathways delineated by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It further calls upon policymakers and other stakeholders to pay more attention to the evolving needs and aspirations of youth, and work closely with them, for a more prosperous, inclusive and shared future.

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Introduction

The youth population of the Asian and Pacific region, at over 700 million, constitutes almost a quarter of those of working age. In the context of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is imperative that youth — with their energy, creativity, motivation and vision to move forward — are given the opportunity to participate fully as equal partners in all development processes. Without harnessing their potential, the road to inclusive and sustainable development will be severely compromised.

English

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