The Ministers of ASEAN Member States, and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in charge of youth held their 2nd ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Youth (2nd AMMY Plus Three) on 26 June 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was preceded by the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting for the 2nd AMMY Plus Three on 24 June 2009.
Thailand, as Chair of the meeting, welcomed the representatives from China, Japan and ROK and said that ASEAN is moving towards becoming a people centred community, increasing people’s participation in the community building process, especially among the youths. Meaningful youth participation involves recognising and nurturing the strengths, interests and abilities of young people to encourage them to contribute their potential and talent in community building.
China said the youth is a country’s hope and future, and youth exchange should be strengthened. China will work with the region to strengthen youth exchange and young leaders training programmes, support cooperation of young entrepreneurs and promote youth volunteers development.
Japan said youth exchanges will contribute to mutual understanding in East Asia and is a vital element in strengthening regional cooperation. Japan highlighted its international programme for youths – JENESYS, where young people are invited to Japan each year, and the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Programme which is into its 36th year.
ROK said the empowerment of young people is vital for global peace and stability. ROK will work with ASEAN Member States through national focal points to further promote cooperative activities in areas including regional volunteer projects, cultural exchanges, regional youth camps and forums.
At the meeting, the Ministers exchanged views on ways to enhance closer cooperation on youth between ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries. The Ministers held a dialogue with youth representatives from the 1st ASEAN Plus Three Youth Caucus who presented a Joint Statement on the 1st ASEAN Plus Three Youth Caucus “Youth Caring and Sharing Society” for the Ministers’ consideration. The representatives stressed the essential role of youth in accelerating the vision of creating an integrated ASEAN Community by 2015, especially with regard to cultural integration.
The representatives focused on four key areas and informed the Ministers of the highlights of the youths’ discussions and proposals in each area. The four key areas are:
- streamlining efforts to promote ASEAN awareness and sense of community such as in tourism and food, and in fashion and entertainment;
- use education as a means to develop cultural understanding and awareness such as in exchange programmes;
- develop youth with a capacity to promote ASEAN such as in youth involvement in policy-making and voluntary activities; and,
- establish a comprehensive educational centre to promote ASEAN such as in knowledge management and having an ASEAN Resource Centre.
The representatives said they were confident that youthful effervescence and determination can galvanise the communities in the region to create a common ASEAN identity.
The Ministers commended the youths for their initiatives to promote greater friendship and mutual understanding between the youths in ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK. They shared with the youth representatives the work done by the youth sector so far and the future direction to build a strong community spirit in the young people in the ASEAN Plus Three countries.
This is the first Youth Caucus of the ASEAN Plus Three countries and it was held from 19- 27 June 2009 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. Such a meeting is in line with the decision by the 5th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Youth to have the Youth Caucus held concurrently with the Ministerial meetings. The ASEAN Plus Three Youth Caucus provides opportunities for the ASEAN youths to interact, forge new ties, and share opinions and experiences with their counterparts in China, Japan and ROK. It also allows the youths to better understand youth-related policies and issues.
The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Thailand for hosting the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting of 2nd AMMY Plus Three and the 2nd AMMY Plus Three.
The Ministers agreed to meet in Viet Nam in 2011 and looked forward to further progress in ASEAN Plus Three cooperation on youth.