YOKOHAMA, JAPAN. Global child rights organization Plan International and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) brought together more than 160 young people from 33 countries for the 5th Annual Asian Youth Forum, in Yokohama, Japan, offering young people the unique opportunity to meet with other youth, experts and thought leaders to discuss and propose youth-led solutions to drive inclusive and sustainable prosperity in the region.
The Asian Youth Forum is a tangible example of how young people are helping children to learn, lead, decide and thrive
"Through their endeavors, ADB's Youth for Asia team is building the skills of young people so that they can motivate their communities to realise and bring positive change on behalf of boys and girls in Asia," said John Trew, Head of Youth Employment Solutions for Plan International in Asia and current manager of the Plan International-ADB partnership.
Held under the theme “Youth for Prosperity of Asia and the Pacific," youth delegates took part in plenaries and were given the opportunity to develop project proposals for ADB projects and operations in areas like Cambodia, India, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Mongolia.
Contributing to ADB projects
Through these project proposals, and capacity building sessions led by Plan International and the Asian Development Bank, youth delegates were able to reinforce their contribution as viable partners and providers to ADB projects and operations, as well as the larger development agenda in Asia and the Pacific.
“By bringing people together through events like the Asian Youth Forum, we realise that we’re more alike than we realise. There is a spirit in Asia-Pacific to create a better world. It’s a feeling of unification, as we’re all dealing with issues like child marriage, education and unemployment.
"We have to work together to come up with solutions,” shares Sanita (22) from Indonesia.
Mobilizing youth components into ADB projects is a concrete way for young people to get involved
According to the UN, sixty per cent of the world’s youth – some 717 million young people aged 15 to 24 – live in Asia and the Pacific.
Addressing youth issues in Asia
“As we tackle issues like unemployment, migration, and education, it is crucial that we put youth at the centre of the development agenda,” shares Chris Morris, Head of the NGO and Civil Society Center at the Asian Development Bank.
In conjunction with the Asian Youth Forum, youth participants also joined workshops and seminars and engaged with key stakeholders as part of the Asian Development Bank's 50th annual meeting in Yokohama.
In addition to driving the youth agenda, key stakeholders agreed on the need to engage more closely with civil society organisations. Plan International believes that NGOs play a crucial role in offering technical support to developing countries that receive loans from multilateral development banks.
it is crucial that we put youth at the centre of the development agenda
“The Asian Development Bank realizes that they need to change their processes and work more closely with civil society organisations in order to reach the most marginalized, and work towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” says Trew.
For a visual recap of the Asian Youth Forum, visit the event's storify page.
About Plan International:
Plan International is an independent development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
We support children’s rights from birth until they reach adulthood. And we enable children to prepare for – and respond to – crises and adversity. We drive changes in practice and policy at local, national and global levels using our reach, experience and knowledge. We have been building powerful partnerships for children for over 75 years, and are now active in more than 70 countries.
About The Asian Development Bank (ADB):
ADB, a multilateral development bank in the Asia and Pacific Region, is an intergovernmental organization established by its regional and non-regional member countries through the “Agreement Establishing the Asian Development Bank.”
The overarching goal of ADB is reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific, through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.