This oral statement was delivered at the Asia-Pacific Regional Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action in Preparation for the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UNLDC-5) on 2nd September, 2021. Click here for a recording of the intervention.
My name is Nawmi Naz Chowdhury and I am making this intervention on behalf of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW).
Young people in all their diversities are critical to meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and create prosperity for all. For LDCs in Asia and the Pacific, a strategic focus on improving the quality of young lives through investment in improvement to health, education, food, nutrition, shelter, and sanitation among others, is of paramount importance during the pandemic and the post-Covid-19 scenario.
For the betterment of youth in the region, quality health care provision must be provided under inclusive public health programmes and access to comprehensive sexuality education and the ending of harmful traditional and cultural practices such as early, forced and child marriages. This should also include increased outreach at the community level through investment in quality, affordable and accessible sexual and reproductive health and rights related awareness, information and service delivery. A combination of such youth-centric measures will contribute towards the well-being of young people in all their diversities including women and girls and those with disabilities.
This is especially important given the existing data that suggests that more than half of the world’s young people reside in the Asia-Pacific region. For most LDCs in this region, the demographic dividend window will be available until at least 2055 and to harness the full potential of this ‘youth bulge’ LDCs must create equal and accessible education and employment opportunities for young people including women and those with disabilities to propel economic and social development in the region. While LDCs continue to make advancements in technology and the economy, attention must be given to holistic and inclusive approaches and sustainability keeping young people in the middle of decision-making so that all approaches are determined by understanding the demands of young people, their distribution in rural and urban settlements, and the impact on their lives and their livelihood caused by environmental factors and climate change among others.