15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting – Special Session on "Youth Leaders Forum"

This panel invited young leaders from across Asia, the Pacific and the Arab States to share their perspectives on how young people can effectively contribute to “Building a sustainable future with decent work”, the theme of the 15th APRM.

Programme and participants

Introduction by the Moderator: Mr Paranjoy Thakurta (Presenter, Lok Sabha TV, India)


Youth leaders representing:

  • Southeast Asia: Ms Mun Ching Yap, journalist, Malaysia
  • East Asia: Mr Xiaoshan Huang, student, China
  • Arab States: Mr Bader Zamareh, Executive Director, Sharek Youth Forum, Palestine
  • Employers: Ms Noura Saleh Alturki, Organization Development Manager, Nesma Holding Company, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Workers: Mr Pranav Shagotra, Chair, ITUC Asia Pacific Youth Committee, India

Senior Policy maker respondents:

  • Dato’ Azman Shah Dato’ Seri Haron, Chairperson, CAPE (tbc)
  • Mr Noriyuki Suzuki, General-Secretary, ITUC Asia Pacific (tbc)


There is increasing concern in Asia and the Pacific about the high level of youth unemployment. Nearly half of global youth unemployment is found in the region, and it is particularly acute in the Arab States of West Asia (25 per cent of young people are unemployed), Southeast Asia and the Pacific (13.6 per cent), South Asia (9.9 per cent) and East Asia (8.8 per cent). Overall in the region, young people are 3 to 5 times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

Recent events in several Asian and Arab states have demonstrated clearly the demand for decent jobs among youth and how young people can drive the movement for change in governance. It is essential to engage youth in shaping effective policies and strategies that embrace employment, protection, rights and voice, and respond to their needs and aspirations for a sustainable future.

This panel discusses the key challenges young people face in the world of work and wider society, and showcase the steps that young people and their organizations have taken to break down barriers that block their full and effective participation in the economic and social life of their countries. Closing reflections come from senior representatives of the social partners in the region.