VIENTIANE, 19 July 2019 – ASEAN Youth Ministers gathered at the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth and the Seventh ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Youth to discuss ways to enhance the role of youth in ASEAN for sustainable development and regional integration.

In his opening speech at the Opening Ceremony of the meetings, Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR Sonexay Siphandone highlighted, “Young people represent the driving force of all areas of development, as well as the bridge between the present and future stages of development, between the country and the region as well as between the region and the world towards a sustainable and prosperous world.”

Taking into consideration the challenges and opportunities posed by digitalisation and Industry 4.0, the Ministers concurred that ASEAN youths must be empowered with not only technical or digital skills, but also with the necessary soft-skills for the betterment of ASEAN’s socio-economic development, peace and security. Charting the path for post-2020, the Ministers further agreed to focus the region’s youth development agenda on fostering future-ready ASEAN youth through digital skills development and the institutionalisation of youth engagement mechanisms, including in the region’s policy discourse. Towards this end, they welcomed the proposal to operationalise the ASEAN Volunteers project as well as the ASEAN Youth Dialogue.

Youth Ministers expressed appreciation to the Plus Three Countries – the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea – for their support to youth empowerment through various leadership, volunteering and skills training activities.  They also acknowledged the support of the ASEAN Foundation for the conduct of eMpowering Youth Across ASEAN Programme, ASEAN Data Science Explorers, and ASEAN Digital Innovation Programme and the ASEAN University Network for its ASEAN Student Leaders Forum.

Welcoming 2020 as the year of ASEAN identity, the Youth Ministers expressed support to a number of upcoming initiatives in enhancing ASEAN Awareness, Values and Identity, such as the continuation of ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp and the advancement of ASEAN Green Initiative through youth participation. They further encouraged the commemoration of the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day on every 25 November through meaningful youth activities.

***