News / Asia

Young People Given a Voice at Global Forum

Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin delivers his speech during the Global Youth Forum in Nusa Dua on Bali island, December 4, 2012.
Executive Director of UNFPA Babatunde Osotimehin delivers his speech during the Global Youth Forum in Nusa Dua on Bali island, December 4, 2012.
Kate Lamb
Young people are rarely represented in the highest echelons of power. But as the population of young people increases, especially in the developing world, a new U.N. forum in Bali is giving young people a voice to try to influence senior leaders.
 
“Hi everybody, I am so honored to be here to honor all youth leaders from all around the world, who can not only change the world, but will change the world to become a better place," said 26-year-old Agnes Monica, an Indonesian singer and actress, today on stage for a very different reason.
 
Agnes is one of the 900 youth delegates attending a three-day youth forum held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali this week.
 
Run by the United Nations Population Fund, the event is designed to give young people a voice, says UNFPA executive director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.
 
“What we have done is allow international coordinating groups of young people to determine the agenda, to determine what they want to talk about, and we are hoping that at the end of this meeting they will determine the future of the world and what should that look like,” explained Osotimehin.
 
Some 43 percent of the global population is under 25 years old, and the numbers of youth are growing fastest in the developing world.
 
In Indonesia, more than 60 million people are in their early 20's. In Africa, more than 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30.
 
While economists tout the benefits of a burgeoning labor force in developing countries such as Indonesia - the number of unemployed young people is higher than ever before.
 
“Having an education is not supposed to be a lucky outcome. Having an education that leads to a job, earns you gainful employment, it’s not supposed to be a lucky outbreak,” stated 27-year-old Chernor Bah, a youth activist from Sierra Leone, speaking at the forum.
 
He says that for many young people, an education is something they can only dream about. And at the policymaking level, young people barely represent.
 
But the Bali forum is different.
 
Alongside policy makers, hundreds of young people from 150 countries are working on recommendations in regard to health, education and reproductive rights.
 
“Young people have been leading the process, very collaboratively but also in a very open and [in a] honest way. I think when we put our voices together and all our cultures melding and all those barriers that you see and about spoken in the press, they are not exhibited here," Chernor said. "We are young people who want to own our future and define it and be part of the process of making it.
 
The results will be presented to the U.N. Secretary General and considered by other U.N. bodies in their future development planning.
 
It sounds good in theory, but is it likely to happen?
 
“I have to say I am cautiously optimistic, I have been a youth advocate before on some of these issues and sometimes after those meetings you think, ‘wow we just nailed it and it is going to be reflected in the outcome eventually,’ but often it isn’t,” Bah noted.
 
For those not physically present in Bali, the forum has organized an online forum called the World Café.
 
So far more than 2,000 young people from 26 countries have logged in.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid