Thursday, September 15, 2011

United Nations Day 2009 and launch of the Situation Analysis of Youth in Cambodia


Douglas Broderick, United Nations Resident Coordinator
Phnom Penh, 23 October 2009

The Youth of Cambodia represent the future. Their vibrancy signifies a key opportunity for Cambodia to move ahead as a nation.
  • More than 30 percent of the country is aged 10-24 years.
  • The major industrial sectors of manufacturing, tourism, construction and agriculture are dominated by young workers.
  • 250,000-300,000 young people enter the labour market each year.
Young people have enormous potential.  They are Cambodia’s most valuable resource.
This year the United Nations Country Team in Cambodia is extremely proud to dedicate UN Day to the needs, values and aspirations of young people.  We recognize that young people are both the beneficiaries and drivers of growth in Cambodia.
  • Our goal is to bring the voice of young people into this development.
  • Our achievement will be to work with you to address the barriers which prevent young people from reaching their full potential.
Since 2007, the 23 agencies of the United Nations Country Team have increasingly turned their attention towards youth and young people. Why? Because young people in Cambodia, like other young people around the world, face a unique set of opportunities and challenges.
  • Only half of all young Cambodians complete primary education
  • Unemployment among youth is higher than for any other age group
  • Gender-based and drug related violence is a growing concern
  • A third of young people live in poor households
  • Youth voices are left out of planning and decision-making
To take our priorities for youth further and to benefit all stakeholders working in the youth sector, the UN undertook a broad-based analysis of youth.
This Situation Analysis of Youth in Cambodia was designed by the UN Country Team and conducted by the Cambodian Development Research Institute (CDRI). The process involved contributions from UN youth specialists and the UN Youth Advisory Panel. It included consultations with key line Ministries including; the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Women’s Affairs; the Ministry of Health; the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth. Very importantly, the analysis integrated primary data collected from focus group discussions with young people and their parents held in provinces across the country. The process showed excellent collaboration and we greatly appreciate the efforts and time taken by all.

The final result is the Situation Analysis of Youth in Cambodia; the first comprehensive review of young people ever undertaken in this country.  The United Nations sees this document as a first step. It is the first compilation of data, and is not, by any means, the final word on youth issues. Already we realize we will need to continue to build on the information presented, to keep the analysis alive and constantly useful for all of us.
We expect that this resource will generate and inspire further research, particularly where information gaps have been identified. But we also hope that it will stimulate action. The findings clearly show that young people are facing enormous challenges in the areas of education, employment, health, participation, rights and vulnerability.

We hope too, that the Situation Analysis of Youth will be a useful tool for developing a National Youth Policy. We are happy to note that under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports development of this policy is already underway. We understand that this process will take time and that there will be challenges along the way.
The United Nations repeats our commitment to assist the Royal Government of Cambodia to advance an effective National Youth Policy and we will remain an active partner to ensure that this policy development is as consultative as possible.

Central to our work on youth, must be the inclusion of young people themselves. We cannot shape the future of this country successively if we exclude them.

At the General Assembly in 1995, Governments including Cambodia acknowledged the fundamental contribution of young people to the progress of our societies and committed to the full and effective participation of youth in decision making. There is great value in allowing young people to participate actively in the processes which affect their own lives.
As UN Resident Coordinator, I have the responsibility and honour of representing the UN in Cambodia. The UN Country Team’s message for UN Day 2009 is that the UN will continue to prioritize young people in Cambodia.

The UN will strengthen its individual and collective efforts to make UN programmes more responsive to young people. We will actively collaborate with all partners to work better for young people, to deliver greater results and to target our work. We will encourage and exchange ideas with the members of our UN Youth Advisory Panel. And most importantly we will speak less…listen more and learn more from you all.
We know the situation faced by young people is complex. I would urge you, most sincerely, to take up the cause of young people.
  • Support greater participation of young people in governance
  • Mobilize resources for formal and informal education and vocational training
  • Establish programmes and opportunities for young people to develop work-related skills
  • Encourage entrepreneurship through small grant initiatives for youth
  • Promote parenting education on child development and child protection
  • Disseminate information on child and youth rights
  • Scale up social protection for poor families with emphasis on young people
More resources, more energy and more action is needed in the areas of youth and education, youth and employment, youth and health, youth participation and youth and vulnerability.
Your experience and your skills can bring the voices of youth into the development process. By doing so, you will be setting a powerful example that will ultimately ensure a stronger, brighter and more prosperous Cambodia for all.
My friends and colleagues here today, I wish you all my very best wishes on United Nations Day 2009.
Som Aw Kun. 

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