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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN was established in 1967 in Bangkok by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, later joined by Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. It aims to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. It has an elaborate framework of cooperation mechanisms for youth policy development called the ASEAN Institutional Framework for Youth Matters (see below).
ASEAN Institutional Framework for Youth Matters
This institutional framework has been developed to make the role of young people in Asian development and governance more visible and effective. It comprises several elements, outlined below.
ASEAN+3 Youth Festival
The ASEAN+3 Youth Festival (AYF) is a celebration of youth engagement, empowerment, and expression, bringing together youth leaders from the ASEAN member countries, China, Japan, and Republic of Korea. Through the AYF, the ASEAN+3 region can become a more bonded community, where young people from different nations will better understand one another and be seen as one, working hand in hand for a common cause, a common goal, a common vision, and a better future. The activities focus on a theme targeted at active youth participation in regional youth affairs and an appreciation of the diverse cultures within the region. The first event was held in 2008. The last one in October 2010, Hanoi, Vietnam, with the theme: “Together Preserve and Promote the Natural Culture Value”. ASEAN+3 Youth Festival (AYF) is organized annually.
ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth (AMMY)
The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth was created to act as the higher-level body to resolve common social problems among young people in ASEAN member countries. AMMY is now part of the ASEAN institutional framework reporting to the ASEAN Heads of Government Meeting through the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. The last AMMY (V) took place in 2007, had the theme “Youth: Creating Our Future Together,” and involved 300 young people. AMMY V developed joint action plans to engage youth, maximize their potential, and harness their energies in society.
The ASEAN Youth Caucus
The ASEAN Youth Caucus is an eight-day event involving 50 youth leaders from across the ASEAN region. The participants tackle challenging youth-related issues and address the concerns of ASEAN young people in four areas: education, employment and entrepreneurship, engagement (civic, political, social), and environment. The culmination of the Youth Caucus in 2007 was the preparation of recommendations to the ASEAN Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for youth at their meeting in Singapore (AMMY V).
ASEAN Youth Day
August 8 is commemorated as the ASEAN Youth Day (AYD). The commemoration of AYD is held in each of the member countries every year by rotation.
Model Asia-Europe Meeting (Model ASEM)
Model ASEM is modeled on the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The Model ASEM has the same objective as ASEM: to create greater understanding among people from Asia and Europe. The purpose of the Model ASEM conferences is to promote a greater understanding of the ASEM organization, its structure, and political process. The last one took place in Beijing in October 2008 in conjunction with the 2008 ASEM.
The Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund
The Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund supports joint youth activities in the ASEAN region over a five-year period until 2011 with SGD$5 million. It is an initiative of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and aims to foster unity among ASEAN young people aged 15 to 35 and to promote greater international awareness of ASEAN. The Fund supports partnerships among ASEAN young people and Youth Sector Organizations (YSOs). The Fund is open to YSOs and National Youth Focal Points (contact persons for youth affairs) from ASEAN member countries. It was launched in 2007 at AMMY V and is administered by the National Youth Council of Singapore.
The Youth@ASEAN portal is an online community for young people from ASEAN member countries. It is an initiative of the Senior Official Meeting on Youth. It aims to provide a platform for ASEAN young people to interact and exchange information and knowledge and to offer a one-stop resource database of youth-related information in ASEAN.
The Pacific Community
SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) is an international organization that has provided technical assistance, policy advice, training, and research services to 22 Pacific Island countries and territories in areas such as health, human development, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries since 1947. SPC’s vision for the region is “a secure and prosperous Pacific Community, whose people are educated and healthy and manage their resources in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way.” The Pacific Community has a specific youth strategy (see below). The SPC Human Development Program (HDP), being a part of the Social Resources Division works to improve people’s opportunities for safe, secure and sustainable livelihoods. The HDP has a particular focus on bringing gender, youth, culture and community education to the forefront of development. Its involvement in youth matters includes publishing publications on youth policies. They are available at: http://www.spc.int/hdp/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=45&Itemid=44
Compendium of National Youth Policies for Pacific Community Members
This is a website on which the national youth policies of Pacific Community Members have been collected along with progress reports on the implementation of the recommendations of the Pacific Youth Strategy.
The Pacific Community Youth Focus—The Pacific Youth Strategy
In 2005, the Pacific Youth Ministers adopted the Pacific Youth Strategy 2010 (PYS2010) as the regional framework for youth development in the region. To enable SPC and stakeholders, including national governments and development partners, to respond effectively to youth issues in the Pacific region, PYS2010 focuses on priority initiatives to be implemented from 2006 to 2010, including accessing integrated education; nurturing sustainable livelihoods; promoting healthy lifestyles; building stronger communities; strengthening institutional capacity, youth and identities; and gathering research information and data on youth.
Pacific Youth Bureau (PYB)
The Pacific Youth Bureau was officially launched in June 1998 to coordinate the implementation of the Pacific Youth Strategy, first developed for the period 1998 to 2005. The Pacific Youth Council is also hosted by the secretariat Pacific Youth Bureau.