International Year of Youth - Regional Overview - The State of Youth in Asia and the Pacific

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The Asian and Pacific region has been experiencing rapid development in its social and economic spheres over the course of recent decades. It is home to great diversity and tremendous opportunities, and many young people have managed to benefit from such social and economic dynamism. The fact that the East Asia subregion is home to the world’s lowest level of youth unemployment (8 per cent) demonstrates this reality quite plainly. Nevertheless, significant numbers of youth across the region face a variety of obstacles in their access to employment, education, health care, and other resources. Transition between education and employment is one of the main obstacles facing youth of the region, especially those from South-East Asia and the Pacific. Asian and Pacific youth often remain at the margins with regard to participation in the creation of development policies. Such a lack of inclusion in the decision-making process could partially explain why large numbers of Asian and Pacific youth engage in risky behaviour. With the right policies and programmes in place, however, Governments might be able to stem this trend. Across the Asian and Pacific region, several countries have well-developed and stand-alone national youth policies, others have youth policies embedded in their constitutions, and others still lack coherent youth policies, with different ministries and departments charged with covering different youth issues. Only a few of these national youth policies have already been developed and implemented in a manner that draws upon the specific needs of young people, including those most at risk.

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