Asean meeting seeks to boost young people’s role in development

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times) - Asean Youth Ministers discussed development strategies in enhancing young people’s role in sustainable development and regional integration during a meeting in Vientiane last week.

The 11th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Youth from July 17-19 was officially opened on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone.

In his welcome speech, Dr Sonexay said that regional youth development cooperation played an essential role in contributing to overall socio-economic progress and nation-building efforts.

“Most importantly, young people will become the leaders of tomorrow in various fields,” he said.

“It is also important that all Asean youths receive a good education, become responsible members of society, and have equal opportunity to develop so that no young person from any country is left behind,” he added.

Despite the remarkable achievements and contributions of Asean youth cooperation over the years to national socio-economic development processes as well as overall Asean community-building efforts, there remain challenges facing Asean youth today.

The Deputy PM called for a collective effort among the youth of Asean countries, particularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

This included the enhancement of people-to-people interactions, capacity building programmes and exchanges of best practices and lessons learned, as well as fostering closer engagement among youths and external partners.

Mr Sonexay noted the convening of the Asean Leaders’ Interface with youth representatives on the sidelines of the 34th Asean Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, as another important milestone and testament to regional leaders recognising the importance of youth as the leaders of tomorrow.

The interface with youth representatives also demonstrated that leaders do listen to the views and recommendations of young people in continuing efforts towards building a resilient and prosperous Asean community.

Dr Sonexay said young people represent the driving force of all areas of development, as well as the bridge between the present and future stages of development, from the country to the region, and towards a sustainable and prosperous world.

He added that youth development strategies at the national and regional levels were also of great importance in achieving sustainable cooperation and development goals.

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