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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid