Key Findings Report: APFSD Youth Survey

Posted on May 21, 2020

Key Findings Report: Online Youth Survey Ahead of the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) 2020

The 7th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) took place on the 20th of May 20, 2020. The forum focused on the theme of “Accelerating action for and delivery of the 2030 Agenda in the Asia and Pacific” amongst intergovernmental bodies, UN agencies, and CSO’s.

This was the first time the forum took place as an online interactive conference due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The annual APFSD Youth Forum that usually precedes the APFSD forum has been postponed until the end of the year (tentatively) thus the co-conveners, which included The Asia Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), YPEER Asia Pacific Centre and Youth LEAD, of the APFSD preparatory Youth Forum, decided to organize a youth survey ahead of the APFSD 2020.

Despite constraints of time and COVID-19 crises, more than 70 young people in the region responded to the survey. They called for meaningful youth initiatives; youth participation and engagement as an essential principle of the 2030 Agenda in the Asia Pacific; strengthening youth agency by supporting the capacity of young people, youth organisations, networks and movements; enhancing mutual responsibility trust and collaboration in the implementation of the SDGs;  and promoting gender equality and empowerment among girls and women as a priority in the achievement of the SDGs and the 2030 Asia Pacific Agenda.

A significant part of the findings from the survey showed that:

  • Young people are prepared, willing and able to collaborate on regional, national and international levels and that by organizing such meetings it thereby facilitates youth interaction and exchange with national governments and experts.
  • The achievement and implementations of the SDGs can be accelerated if there is a commitment to listen to and recognize the initiatives of young people, and by providing adequate budget and allocation of resources to ensure the effectiveness of implementations.

The survey also highlighted several key gaps that could be bridged through specific actions of governments and other key stakeholders, such as:

  • Involving young people in decision making structures and enabling opportunities in policy formulation and implementation.
  • Youth-led and youth-serving CSOs and other key stakeholders need to have capacities to input into reporting mechanisms and develop alternative reports with clear evidence-based data as currently these plans of action have been halted due to the ongoing public health crisis.
  • Building sustainable knowledge and technology-based platforms for youths.
  • Transparency in work plans, for young people to see where their strengths can lead to accelerated action including VNR and other national processes.

 ​​​​​​The online forum opened with a speech by the UNESCAP Executive Secretary who spoke on the achievements and challenges so far in the APAC region. Especially, how the impact of COVID 19 may reverse our progress so far on the 2030 Agenda. Her speech was followed by an insightful opening remark from Ms. Deki Yangzhom (YPEER Bhutan) who commented on the SDG’s progress, the theme of the forum from a youth’s perspective and the key findings of the youth APFSD survey report.

The ESCAP Secretariat further summarized four key elements on accelerating transformation in the region:

1. Set direction, mobilize stakeholders, partnerships

2. Systemic shifts to remove barriers and re-align (such as disasters, global pandemics)

3. Ready people and institutions to sustain change

4. Policymaking that allows for managing complexity (adopting systematic thinking)

Edited by: Vanessa Monley (Programme Officer at Youth LEAD)