Sixty youth representatives from the ASEAN Member States gathered in Jakarta on 10-14 April 2023, for the second ASEAN Youth Dialogue on Digital Development for SDGs. Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Youth and Sports hosted and organised the event.
This year’s event follows the successful first ASEAN Youth Dialogue, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in April 2022. It was a flagship programme of the Year of ASEAN Youth under Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship.
The 2023 dialogue, under Indonesia’s Chairmanship, brought together youth representatives from the 10 ASEAN Member States and Timor-Leste to deliberate policies on the role of the youth in the ASEAN Community and in digital development for SDGs. The topics they covered include digitalisation, partnerships for equal access to digital skills and literacy, and narrowing the development gaps through creativity and innovation.
As in the initial dialogue, it was an opportunity for the region’s youth to engage with Ministers from the member states and have a say in the shaping of ASEAN’s policies. The representatives of the ASEAN Youth Dialogue presented their recommendations directly to the ASEAN Leaders at the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo on 10 May.
The policy recommendations covered four thematic areas: (i) Acceleration of digital transformation in Southeast Asia: How to be inclusive; (ii) Green economy in Southeast Asia through digital platform; (iii) How to anticipate challenges and embrace opportunities; and (iv) Strengthening the region’s ecosystem for youth entrepreneurship: How stakeholders can support and ASEAN citizens’ digital literacy.
The dialogue included panel discussions and workshops on various topics, such as inclusivity and youth participation in accelerating digital transformation, the dual role of the youth in SDG implementation, and avenues for strengthening the region’s digital ecosystem for youth entrepreneurship. The participants also got a chance to experience how businesses operate in the digital economy during site visits to unicorn start-up, Traveloka, and energy and automation company, Schneider Electric Indonesia.
Side events, such as the ASEAN Halal Food Festival, ASEAN Youth Cultural Performance, and sharing sessions among students with disabilities from Jakarta, were also held during the dialogue.