JAKARTA, 8 May 2018 – The ASEAN Senior Officials on Youth (SOMY) endorsed various creative and innovative youth projects and initiatives to be implemented throughout 2018 and 2019 following their annual meeting (9th SOMY) on 3 and 4 May in Jakarta.

Among the endorsed projects and initiatives were the 2nd  Phase of ASEAN Youth Development Index focusing on ASEAN identity, value and awareness; the 2nd  ASEAN University Student Council Union Conference; and the guidelines for the utilisation of the ASEAN Youth Programme Fund.

The meeting also noted progress on the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020, which will be reviewed again during on a the mid-term review in November 2018. ASEAN Member States also shared updates on completed projects as well as their plans on youth for the next two years.

Singapore provided updates on the implementation of youth initiatives in support of and in line with Singapore’s chairmanship of ASEAN including the renewal of the Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund, ASEAN eSports tournament, and ASEAN Youth Fellowship Programme. Indonesia, the host and chair of the meeting, presented projects to move forward with the implementation of the ASEAN Youth Work Plan including providing significant support for SOMY IX and SOMY+3 ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp, ASEAN Buddhist Youth Conference, and ASEAN Youth Entrepreneurship Expo. Philippines and Malaysia will organise ASEAN Day for Youth in Climate Action and ASEAN Youth Volunteer Programme respectively.

The ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Youth  also met their counterparts from China, Japan, and Republic of Korea for the Eighth ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting on Youth (SOMY+3) on 4 May.

In the SOMY+3, China announced the development of a five-year ASEAN-China youth exchange programme that would serve as flagship initiative on youth between ASEAN and China.  Japan announced the upcoming launch of the JENESYS 2018, while the Republic of Korea reported on ongoing youth and skills projects with ASEAN. These announcements indicated that the regional cooperation on youth is moving towards the desired direction.

Both SOMY and SOMY+3 meetings showed growing commitments of the ASEAN Member States in enhancing the regional cooperation on youth. One highlight of this year’s youth meetings was the participation of youth leaders who presented important achievements of ASEAN Member States and partner organisations based on their actual experiences and participation in youth-focused activities implemented in the past year. These activities include the ASEAN Youth in Action – Learning Express Programme by Singapore Polytechnic; the Youth as Agents of Behavioural Change Programme by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescents; and the ASEAN Youth Forum.