UNDP and Deutsche Welle collaborate to amplify voices of youth debating the future of Arab development.
The Arabic channel of Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) dedicates a special episode of its youth-oriented show “Shababtalk” to discuss proposals of the Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) 2016: Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched at the American University of Beirut today.
“In such a youthful region, where two thirds of the population are below 30, the engagement of young people is critical to development efforts. As a start, their views must be valued and their voices must be heard,” stressed Sophie de Caen, acting Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States in UNDP. “Teaming up with DW’s Shababtalk, an award-winning programme, reaching millions across the region, provides a great opportunity for youth to learn about the report and consider ways of using its findings to advocate for change.”
DW’s Director of Programming Gerda Meuer highly valued the co-operation: “Shababtalk is the one television program for the entire region in which the youth in the Arabic-speaking countries can express and exchange opinions. For UNDP to have chosen DW as a partner to share the very important messages of the Arab Human Development Report with a global audience, is a great honour for us. We are looking forward to supporting the UNDP in their efforts with sustainable coverage beyond the release of the report.”
Challenges and opportunities facing youth in the Arab region
AHDR 2016 examines challenges and opportunities facing youth in the Arab region, especially since the transformations that swept through many of its countries since 2011. It seeks to provide an overview on youth in the region and stimulate a broad dialogue between youth and key stakeholders on the future of development across Arab countries, and ways to give youth in the region the position they deserve as partners in shaping their own futures and that of their countries.
Maximising young people’s involvement in all phases of its preparation has been a consistent focus for AHDR 2016. Through a number of activities, it sought to provide ample space for young people to express their views and make their voices heard.
Young people from across the region participated through focused youth consultations in the formulation phase of the report. Many more contributed their views on time-use among youth through an especially commissioned survey (WAQTI) that was administered through a tailored mobile application. Through an AHDR Youth Social Innovation Camp, youth from across the region employed design thinking approaches to suggest innovative responses to some of the key development challenges raised in the report.
Young people constituted over 60 percent of all participants in the launch of the report, which included the special episode of Shababtalk, hosted by Jaafar Abdul Karim. Participants included representatives of academia, civil society, governments, parliaments, the private sector and the media.
An online discussion platform initiated prior to the launch helped kick off debates around key issues raised by the report., including the issues of identity, economic opportunity and gender equality, as well as roles that youth in the Arab region can play in peace building, fighting corruption and shaping their own futures.
Youth in the Arab region are raising their voices
Appropriately entitled “Youth in the Arab region are raising their voices: Anyone listening?” the special episode of Shababtalk echoed the report’s assertions that since events of 2011, youth across the region have become more vocal in refusing the meagre outcomes that prevailing models of Arab development are limiting them and their societies to. It questioned the seemingly limited ability of new and significantly louder young voices to elicit favourable responses from other key stakeholders and to translate legitimate demands into significant action for change, not only for young people but for society at large.
UNDP intends to host a number of post-launch events across the Arab region and beyond, with the aim of engaging a greater number of youth with other key stakeholders in substantive debates of the findings of the report. Those events will also explore avenues of action, including through young people’s initiatives, to negotiate a wider space for youth in the public sphere and how to support young people to muster the means that could allow them to influence decisions that affect their future.
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