JAKARTA, 3 July 2020 – Twenty young leaders from across ASEAN Member States (AMS) met virtually with ASEAN Leaders at the sidelines of the 36th ASEAN Summit held on 26 June.

The ASEAN Youth Interface with ASEAN Leaders 2020 gave youth representatives a platform to speak with ASEAN Heads of States and Governments to advocate important youth issues such as volunteerism, entrepreneurship and skills development for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The interface was preceded by an online brainstorming among the youth representatives, hosted by the National Committee on Youth of Viet Nam. They deliberated on addressing inequality in education, enabling the participation of youth in policy-making, strategies to encourage youth volunteerism, as well as ensuring inclusivity and sustainability in skills development for youth in 4IR.

The brainstorming led to the ASEAN Youth Statement 2020 formulation, which highlighted the importance of government support in creating an enabling environment for youth. It emphasised the need to prepare ASEAN youth for the future of work, including supporting communities in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the National Committee on Youth of Viet Nam Le Quoc Phong stressed that the youth of ASEAN are critical to promoting an ASEAN Community spirit in the era of 4IR. Nurul Hadina binti Haji Alias of Brunei Darussalam delivered the statement to the ASEAN Leaders on behalf of the youth representatives.

“We, therefore, pledge to advocate and raise awareness on the importance of investing and building relevant future-ready education systems of all forms, including life-long learning, so that the ASEAN youth can master knowledge, maximize their skills and take initiative in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – and to develop adaptation abilities and resilience to various disruptions including the COVID-19 crisis,” the statement reads.

In response, Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyan Xuan Phuc expressed the support of ASEAN Leaders to the youth representatives in realising their recommendations.

Reacting to the statement, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs of Indonesia Prof. Muhadjir Effendy underlined the Indonesian youth’s contribution from serving in the current cabinet, to building a thriving startup and unicorn ecosystem, and developing innovations such as electric vehicles.

The ASEAN Youth Interface with ASEAN Leaders 2020 is one of the flagship initiatives by the National Committee on Youth of Viet Nam, in support of Viet Nam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN and the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan on Youth 2016-2020. It sought to create a favourable environment for ASEAN youth leaders to engage with the Leaders of ASEAN.

The ASEAN Youth Statement 2020 is available here.