The 12th ASEAN Summit’s Cebu Declaration Towards One Caring and Sharing Community encourages greater institutional collaboration in promoting ASEAN awareness particularly among the younger generation, and promotes the increased involvement of ASEAN youth and students in national and regional activities to give them an opportunity to make valuable contributions towards the achievement of the ASEAN Community. During the Summit, the Leaders agreed to prepare ASEAN youth for regional leadership and to increase the competitiveness of the peoples of Southeast Asia through education.
The Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) urges increased participation of youth in the productive workforce, and encourages their entrepreneurship and employability, leadership and regional awareness. Priorities for youth cooperation are highlighted in the VAP’s section on the ASCC, under the strategic thrusts for “Building a Community of Caring Societies”, “Managing the Social Impact of Economic Integration” and “Promoting an ASEAN Identity”.
ASEAN cooperation on youth is overseen at the Ministerial level by an ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth which meets once every two years. The implementation of the programmes and activities for youth matters is carried out by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Youth (SOMY), which reports to the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY). The last Ministerial Meeting, the AMMY V, was held in Singapore on 26 April 2007.
Youth cooperation in ASEAN is directed by the Work Programme on Preparing ASEAN Youth for Sustainable Development, which was considered and adopted during the AMMY IV in September 2003. The Work Programme serves as the major channel for pursuing ASEAN cooperation in youth development, and outlines the following four priority areas: (i) Policy Development; (ii) Promoting ASEAN Awareness and Civic Responsibility; (iii) Promoting Employability of Youth, and (iv) Information Exchange / Promoting Partnership.
Many activities were conducted to implement the Work Programme. The ASEAN Youth Day Meeting (AYDM) and the ASEAN Youth Day Award were held in past years. The following activities were organised in 2006:
- The 13th AYDM was held in Kuala Lumpur on 6-7 November 2006, incorporating the theme “ASEAN and Young People”.
- The second phase of the “ASEAN Youth Leadership Development Programme” was organized by Malaysia on 25-29 March 2007, promoting the concept of youth leadership, policy formulation and youth volunteers.
- The “Regional Capacity Building Workshop to Promote Youth-Initiated (ICT) Enterprises” was organized by Myanmar in Yangon on 7-9 March 2007 and was aimed at facilitating capacity building for government officials and young entrepreneurs to promote youth entrepreneurship.
- For sharing information, the Youth@ASEAN Website (http://www.aseanyouth.org) was set up to link country-based youth websites.
- The Youth Caucus held in Singapore in April 2007, provided the opportunity for youth representatives to present their discussions to the Ministers on the topics of (i) Education, (ii) Environment, (iii) Employment & Entrepreneurship, and (iv) Engagement in Community. The inclusion of the Youth Caucus in the AMMY V brought forth youth perspectives through a dialogue with the Ministers.
- The Plus Three Countries have sponsored youth cooperation with ASEAN mainly in the form of exchanges activities.