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Asia and the Pacific, Regional Breakout session, 10th Economic and Social Council Youth Forum
8 Apr 2021 -  The Asia-Pacific Regional Session will explore the role of youth in responding to COVID-19 and building back more inclusive societies in the post COVID-19 period, in particular how youth participation and leadership has contributed to promote youth SDG advocacy. The Asia-Pacific region is home to about 700 million youths, with countries across the region severely impacted by COVID-19, starting with the outbreak in Wuhan, China in late 2019. As young people often lack adequate representation and opportunities to politically, economically, or socially engage, the role of youth in responding to COVID19 and their achievements is quite remarkable and provides many valuable lessons on inclusivity and empowerment.

The first step to ensuring young people are engaged and part of developing solutions, is to provide avenues for their voices to be heard. This is something that should occur from conceptualising new policies through to evaluating their impact. This session will highlight examples of effective and impactful youth-led actions in the response to COVID-19. Two critical elements for successful youth inclusive approaches are 1) good evidence and 2)representation. Youth programs should be informed by research examining the issues facing young people. Representation and meaningful participation is crucial to ensure that policies and programs address the needs of the youth population.

Interactive elements using mentimeter and Q&A will enable some input and discussion on the role of youth as development actors, especially through strengthened youth participation in formal and informal governance structures. Young people are drivers of positive change in their communities, though too often, the influence of young social leaders that possess valuable local knowledge and trust among the local population is underestimated.

At the end of the session, we will gather inputs on how innovative youth institutions and networks play an essential role in promoting a culture of solidarity and leading actions in communities, the importance of having practical youth-friendly guides based and the role knowledge transfer and e-learning play in creating an environment of global citizenship to build back better.

Co-Moderators: Ms. Regine Guevara, Asian Youth Peace Network