UNDP-CITI Foun­da­tion host 2nd Asia Pa­cific Youth Co:lab Sum­mit

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - EMPOWERMEN­T/LEADERSHIP -

The United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) and Citi Foun­da­tion, with the col­lab­o­ra­tion and sup­port from the Science and Tech­nol­ogy Min­istry and the Viet Nam Vol­un­teer Cen­tre, opened the sec­ond Asia Pa­cific Youth Co:lab Sum­mit, in Hanoi yes­ter­day.

The flag­ship event brings to­gether over 500 del­e­gates, in­clud­ing hun­dreds of youth, part­ners and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from 20 coun­tries, to ex­change ideas, knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences, to in­flu­ence pol­icy ini­tia­tives on youth en­trepreneur­ship and so­cial in­no­va­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Asia Pa­cific Hu­man De­vel­op­ment Re­port 2016, more than half the young peo­ple in the world to­day live in Asia Pa­cific and 1.7 bil­lion are un­der 25. The re­port fur­ther states that close to 71 mil­lion young peo­ple, aged 15 to 24, are un­em­ployed world­wide, of which 33 mil­lion are in Asia Pa­cific alone. Nearly 220 mil­lion young peo­ple are nei­ther at school, nor at work, pre­sent­ing a daunt­ing cri­sis that calls for an ur­gent re­sponse.

Co-cre­ated in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foun­da­tion, Youth Co:lab aims to em­power and invest in youth, so that they can ac­cel­er­ate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS) through lead­er­ship, so­cial in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

Over the last two years, Youth Co:lab projects have been im­ple­mented in 20 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries across the re­gion, with na­tional di­a­logues, re­gional sum­mits and so­cial in­no­va­tion chal­lenges reach­ing over 48,000 par­tic­i­pants. The ini­tia­tive has ben­e­fit­ted over 2,500 young so­cial en­trepreneur­s and helped launch or im­prove nearly 500 so­cial en­ter­prises.

Youth Co:lab has also es­tab­lished part­ner­ships with more than 100 key ecosys­tem play­ers to strengthen the Youth

Em­pow­er­ment Al­liance to sup­port young en­trepreneur­s, par­tic­u­larly young women and marginalis­ed youth, by con­nect­ing them with busi­nesses, in­cu­ba­tors, ac­cel­er­a­tors and fi­nanc­ing mech­a­nisms to de­velop their ideas into vi­able busi­ness mod­els for sus­tain­able so­cial im­pact.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day at the open­ing of the sum­mit in Na­tional Eco­nom­ics Univer­sity, Hanoi were UNDP Deputy Re­gional Di­rec­tor for Asia and the Pa­cific Valerie Cliff, Citi Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent and Citi Cor­po­rate Cit­i­zen­ship Head Brandee Mchale, UNDP Viet Nam Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Caitlin Wiesen, Viet Nam Science and Tech­nol­ogy Min­istry Vice Min­is­ter Tran Van Tung and Viet Nam Na­tional Eco­nom­ics Univer­sity Vice Rec­tor Phạm Hồng Chương.

The two-day sum­mit brings to­gether sev­eral key­note speak­ers, prom­i­nent so­cial en­trepreneur­s, youth change mak­ers, prin­ci­pal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and lead­ing ecosys­tem play­ers, in­clud­ing Azer­bai­jan Rain­ergy Founder Rey­han Ja­malova, World Toi­let Or­gan­i­sa­tion Founder Jack Sim, Mal­dives Youth Deputy Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Azmeel, Sri Lanka Dig­i­tal In­fra­struc­ture and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Min­istry Sec­re­tary D.C. Dis­sanayake and Philip­pines Na­tional Youth Com­mis­sion Com­mis­sioner Jame Ceasar Ale­jan­dro Ven­tura.

The sum­mit will con­clude with the Youth Co:lab Re­gional So­cial In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge, where 30 teams, pre-se­lected dur­ing the na­tional so­cial in­no­va­tion chal­lenges held across 16 coun­tries re­spec­tively, will pitch and show­case their so­cial en­ter­prises and ideas to a panel of es­teemed judges.

From left: UNDP Cor­di­na­tion and Part­ner­ship As­so­ciate Ku­lunu Jaya­manne, Knowl­edge Man­age­ment and Re­port­ing As­so­ciate Kith­mini Nis­sanka, Citi Sri Lanka Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Head Shanaka Waduge, Dig­i­tal In­fra­struc­ture and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Min­istry Sec­re­tary D.C. Dis­sanayake, Youth, Tech and In­no­va­tion Co­or­di­na­tor Ralani Weeras­inghe and Hacka Dev Na­tional Youth So­cial In­no­va­tion Chal­lenge win­ners Meth­da­sun San­damal and Paramesh­waran Kove­lan

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