6 months—6 themes—90 youth: A contribution to ASEAN-EU relations
It is no coincidence that both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU), two of the world’s most advanced examples of regional integration, celebrated 2022 as the “Year of Youth.”
It is not a rare occurrence for the youth in ASEAN to have the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions in front of high-level officials in the region. On occasions such as the ASEAN summits in 2019 and 2020, youth representatives interfaced with the Heads of State/Government. They managed to deliver statements on behalf of the youth, who comprise a third of the ASEAN’s population. However, can the youth be confident that their voices will be heard? How can the region’s policy-making community and key stakeholders act on the youth’s recommendations?
As of 2021, almost half or 44.7 per cent of the ASEAN population live in urban areas. With more than half of the population living in rural areas, including young people, they very likely experience the problems typically associated with rural and remote communities, such as inadequate access to health and education services, internet and ICT, and employment opportunities. Therefore, issues of the digital divide and lack of preparedness for 4IR cannot be overlooked.
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