Theme 3: Youth and Values Formation

Theme 3: Youth and Values Formation

Asia Pacific is home to 45% of the world’s youth, amounting to around 700 million young people (UNESCAP, 2012). 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 Southeast Asia and Pacific. Youth often remain at the margins with regard to participation in the creation of development policies.

The most significant challenge facing the region is the transition from education to the labour market. While formal education is important, in Asia, traditional apprenticeships and on-the-job training appear to be the more prevalent routes toward workforce skills development among the majority of youth. Young people account for almost half of the jobless population in Asia and the Pacific, in spite of the fact that merely one in five workers is between the ages of 15 and 24. In Southeast Asia and Pacific, the unemployment rate among young people is up to five times the adult rate. As a consequence of such limited opportunities and widespread poverty, growing numbers of disaffected youth are being associated with issues of human insecurity, including an escalation in urban crime, outbursts of ethnic violence, and political unrest.

Sustainability science calls us to bring in people who will face the impacts of climate change, and these are the youth. Youth have a contribution to make and they need to be engaged now. This is necessary for us to build a science that is relevant for the next generation, i.e. coming from human relationships and not just simply coming from how the economy is organized. The challenge now is how to engage and communicate with youth so that they can experience a calling and not just a career.

Guide Questions

  • Where are cases that that feature youth engagement, communication and leadership?
  • What research questions should be formulated that can enable youth to face the challenges of social and environmental sustainability?
  • What sense of identity do institutions offer youth today as sources of values?
  • How can we improve youth communications and linkages for greater socio-environmental understanding?
  • How can we mainstream youth engagement in land and water governance?

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