Understanding Indonesian Youth Role in National and International Fora

Personal Opinion of Moehammad Amar Ma’ruf, A Career Diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia

The UN Ecosoc (United Nations Economic Social Council) in collaboration with various UN agencies have held a World Youth Forum meeting on April 25 to 27, 2023 in a hybrid manner. This forum is intended to provide a foundation for the world’s youth through a dialogue with participants consisting of various representatives of ECOSOC member countries and various world stakeholders. It is believed that through this forum young people can voice their views, concerns and be actively involved while pushing for transformation of the world to be fairer, greener and more sustainable according to the goals of the SDGs.

The World Youth Forum also discussed proposals to accelerate recovery from the impact of COVID 19 and the implementation of the 2030 SDG agenda while reviewing various developments in the areas of Clean Water, Sanitation (SDG 6), Clean Energy and Availability (SDG 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) Sustainable Communities and Cities (SDG 11), and Partnerships to achieve these targets (SDG 17).

The implementation of this Youth Forum has a strategic meaning in order to produce a recommendation that will become a reference in international meetings related to the September 2023 Sustainable Development Goals/SDG.

It is very well realized that the current situation the young peoples of world are still very vulnerable due to the threats and dangers that will directly or indirectly affect young people as well as children. Various forms of transnational crime in the form of trafficking in persons and illegal goods as well as forms of crime and violations of social norms  involve and lead to even exploiting youth and children. This condition becomes critical when the countries negate/ignore the role and position of youth/girls including children as part of mental and physical development to support the sustainable development goals. 

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During the discussion of the World Youth Forum, some concern are highlighted by speakers  such as: a) lack of Involvement of youth in formulating policies related to the 2030 SDG Goals, including poverty alleviation, education, partnerships and gender equality etc; b) lack of providing Funding for youth empowerment activities and protection for children; c) lack of participation of youth in economic development; d) lack of Introduction of friendly technological developments for youth and children in order to avoid misuse and hamper the mental and physical development of youth and children; e) Vulnerability of youth and children, especially in the developing world, to the threat of disease  (such as Covid 19).

Encouragement  for combating the above concern has been channelled by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In a pre-recorded video message during the World Youth Forum held on April 25, 2023,  he said: “Our world needs you (young peoples) more than ever.” Pointing to the challenges posed by climate change, conflict, poverty and inequalities, he said developing solutions side by side with young people is the driving force of this Forum’s discussion. He had said said at the moment of giving statement on YOUTH STRATEGY: YOUTH2030 PROGRESS REPORT April 2022 that Young people are not passively accepting the world as it is. Instead, they are actively taking the lead in changing it, as innovators, activists and voices of progress. Online, in their communities and in the streets, they are championing the values of equity, justice and international cooperation, and demanding that leaders act now to build a better world for all and to protect our planet.  Youth 2030, the United Nations system- wide Youth Strategy, recognizes the vital contribution of young people, and reminds leaders of the importance of including them in decisions that affect their lives and futures.  To facilitate this UN commitment to the Youth in 2022, the UN has established United Nations Youth Office in the Secretariat that will upgrade engagement with young people across the world.

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In order to further count on how serious this concern affect Indonesian Youth, let try refer to the UNFP -Indonesia report 2014. The report said that the situation for young people in Indonesia is as diverse, promising and complex as the nation itself. Young people in Indonesia are defined as citizens aged 18-30 years. There are over 63 million young people, representing 26 percent of the total population of 238 million. The World Bank and others have described large numbers of young people as a “demographic bonus.” Throughout Indonesia’s history, young people have played major roles in bringing political, social and economic change and driving the country forward. Indonesia’s youth are also a focus of development.

For Indonesia, the organization of world youth forum and the establishment of the UN Youth Office are encouraging at least to reflect our national commitment to enhancing the quality of the youth life. Meanwhile for the formation of UN Youth Office, Indonesia may also use this office for networking to update situation on youth development in Indonesia in collaboration with the technical ministry as focal institution to manage and mitigate. This office may also be used to share its youth performance in many technical fields. This interaction may also provide opportunities for stakeholders in Indonesia and in the world to collaborate in enhance quality of youth in many  sectors/areas.

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While this is being carried out, the world should also be introduced by positive contribution of the Indonesian Youth during the period of the Indonesian independence movement. Indonesian youth from various regions of Sabang to Merauke were actively involved in voicing Indonesian independence from the clutches of the colonialists through their well-known pledge and which the Indonesian nation always commemorated every October 28, namely the Youth Pledge (initially declared on October 28, 1928.  It has been recorded as Indonesian historical heritage. Echoing this role may also maintain the awareness of Indonesian generations and the world society especially among the young generation. Why this is very important because this Pledge has comprehensive meaning which include not only to understand spirit and heroic steps in fighting together toward colonial, but also to work together in filling the independence with development that positive to the Indonesian peoples by actively contributing and   working hand in hand in protecting Indonesian citizen, creating world peace and international cooperation.  

Through understanding the Indonesian Youth Role contribution together with the heroes and founding fathers of the nation, the Indonesian nation was able to arrive at the Gate of the Indonesian Nation’s Independence. So, the value of Indonesian youth struggle is felt beyond border (futuristic). For this reason, the   membership of Indonesia in international fora shall give more a chance for Indonesian to promote the role of Youth of Indonesia in the world.

Wallahuálam bishowab. (AK/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)