Ha Noi, 13 November - As part of a series of policy advocacy and dialogues, with high profile to discuss young people-related issues and the Post-2015 development agenda, UN Viet Nam together with the Youth Union organized a youth forum, to help young people get their voices heard when planning the multi-sectoral implementation of the National Youth Development Strategy 2011-2020.
The National Youth Forum gathered together about 100 youth representatives from across Viet Nam representing diverse groups of young people, such as those from high schools, universities, industrial zones, rural areas, and ethnic minorities, youth in the armed forces and youth union officials from Hanoi and Hai Phong cities, as well as Ben Tre, Ninh Thuan, Hai Duong, Hoa Binh and Phu Tho provinces. Besides young people, the forum was also attended by leaders and representatives from the concerned line ministries, Youth Union and several UN agencies.
The Forum featured interactive discussions among young people on how they can make a meaningful contribution to the implementation of youth policies, as well as what they see most important for Viet Nam post-2015. According to Mr. Vu Thanh Liem, Director of Center for the Central Youth, Youth Union: “This forum creates an environment in which youth can understand and get familiar to policy dialogues with policy makers during the process of developing and implementing polices for the youth”.
The active discussions were focusing on four themes: health, education, employment and youth perspectives in multi-sectoral coordination of youth affairs. In their resulting presentations, young participants called for not only better access to health, education and employment, but also better quality and equality of the services. Besides the messages to leaders, attention was put also to the role of young people themselves as change agents – with adequate life skills and supporting attitudes, young people felt they can be the champions of their own lives.
The resulting recommendations will be put in good use when the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), the designated agency for the state management of youth affairs, will organize a “National conference on a multi-sectoral response to the implementation of Vietnamese Youth Development Strategy 2011-2020” on 28 November. The outcomes of the Nov. 11th youth forum, as well as of another forum organized by ILO on Nov. 26th focusing on rural employment, will be delivered at the high-level conference by youth representatives.
At the end of the day, Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, Representative a.i. UNFPA in Vietnam, voiced out the wish of UN in Viet Nam, in regarding to youth participation: “Thinking forward, we will share the voices of young people to the high-level leaders at the 28 November conference. But I would also like to think beyond that, with hopes that this dialogue will keep ongoing, perhaps in the form of an institutionalized mechanism to have young people heard in the matters that concern them.”