What to Expect at the APFSD Youth Forum 2018: “Young People’s Vision for a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Asia Pacific”


Ahead of the fifth Asian-Pacific Forum on Population and Development (APFSD)[1], 28-30th March 2018, ARROW and the Youth Constituency of Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)- YouthLEAD are organising the second APFSD Youth Forum titled – “Young People’s Vision for a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Asia Pacific”.

The first APFSD Youth Forum was held in 2017, and it brought together 60 youth activists, advocates and representatives from youth-led, youth-serving and youth-allied organisations from diverse social movements in Asia Pacific region. They called for sustainable solutions to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity in the region using an intersectional analysis and participatory approach. A collaborative, participatory call to action was developed as a result of this forum, which provided recommendations to governments, international organisations, United Nations agencies development partners, funding agencies and other duty bearers to meaningfully integrate young people in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda in the Asia-Pacific region.

A year later, now in 2018, the second APFSD Youth Forum will be held on the 23-24 of March 2018, in Bangkok and this forum aims to revisit the Asia-Pacific Youth Call to Action, and through a multi-stakeholder dialogue process, discuss meaningful and inclusive youth participation in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda in the region.

Why the APFSD Youth Forum?

Young people in the Asia Pacific region constitute 60 per cent of the world’s youth population, or 750 million young persons aged 15 to 24 years.  They are diverse groups of people coming from different backgrounds and cultures. They face intersecting challenges, including economic, food, fuel, and climate crises; religious extremism and fundamentalisms; right-wing conservatism and populism; conflict and natural disasters; displacement and forced migration; aggressive trade policies that hinder livelihood and access to affordable and quality medicines, health services, education, nutrition, and healthy food systems; high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, unsafe abortions, early/unintended pregnancies, child marriages, female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices, and gender-based and sexual violence and exploitation; lack of understanding and acceptance of persons with non-normative SOGIESC; youth unemployment; regressive, unfair, and inequitable aid conditionalities; corruption; lack of youth and youth-responsive policies; lack of respect for human rights; and shrinking civil society spaces.[2] The successful implementation of the agenda 2030 in the Asia Pacific region is squarely dependent on the full realisation of human rights of young people. The APFSD Youth Forum seeks to bring the youth agenda to the mainstream by creating a space for youth engagement and active participation on the issue of sustainable development.

This year’s APFSD Youth Forum 2018 and what to expect:

This year’s forum will bring more than 75 youth activists, from diverse youth movements from across the region. Within the themes of Health, Sanitation, and Education; Gender Equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; Poverty Hunger and Revitalising Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Human rights, the APFSD youth forum will discuss and hold multi-sectoral dialogue on the following sustainable development issues pertaining to young people in the region:

  • Structural and systemic barriers such as poverty and the multidimensional aspects of poverty, hunger, food insecurity, social exclusion, inequalities, risk of unemployment among young people, precarious and informal work environments, impoverishment and social disadvantages such as discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identities and resilience of young people against these barriers.
  • Human rights, gender equality, accountability and meaningful and inclusive youth participation in the implementation of the SDG agenda;
  • Human rights and interlinkages with the SDG agenda and the protection of at-risk youth human rights defenders;
  • Demographic changes and harnessing the demographic dividend in the full interest of young people;
  • Resilience among young people in dealing with environmental and climate related hazards, and natural disasters.[3]
  • Rural-urban transition, urban dwellings, and lack of infrastructure and resources to provide universal access to health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR); water and sanitation and education for all young people including marginalised adolescents, and young women;
  • Affirmative sexuality and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services for all including young people.

A youth statement will be developed in line with the theme and this will be shared at the APFSD meeting to be held from the 28-20 March 2018.

Follow the conversation on ARROW’s Facebook and Twitter page via the following hashtags: #Youth2030 #AsiaPacificYouth #APFSD2018 #SRHR4ALL!


Sai Jyothirmai Racherla,

Programme Director, ARROW


[1] APFSD 2018 is a regional preparatory event for the High Level Political Forum(HLPF) to be held in New York in July 2018, and  will bring together Member States , UN agencies, major groups and other stakeholders to discuss the theme of HLPF in 2018- TRANSFORMATION TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT SOCIETIES. The forum will also review the following cluster of the Sustainable Development Goals and also look at the inter-linkages of the following goals-Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation); 7 (affordable and clean energy); 11 (sustainable cities and communities); 12 (responsible consumption and production);15 (life on land) and  17 (partnership for the Goals). In addition the APFSD will also support the presentation of voluntary national reviews and will assess the progress made with regard to the regional road map for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

[2] ARROW. 2017. Asia Pacific Call to Action, Retrieved from http://arrow.org.my/publication/asia-pacific-youth-forum-call-action-pre-apfsd-2017-sustainable-solutions-eradicate-poverty-promote-prosperity/

[3] Asia is world’s most disaster-prone region.

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