Bhutanese youth to attend Youth 2015 Forum in New York

May 30, 2014

imageUNDP Resident Representative Christina Carlson with the youth participants. Photo by Sonam Tsoki Tenzin © UNDP Bhutan
Thimphu – For the first time, two young Bhutanese will attend the “Youth2015 Forum: Realizing the Future They Want” at the United Nations in June. They will bring the voice of Bhutanese youth into global discussions on development challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and shaping the future development agenda.

“Young people in Bhutan have the challenge of balancing tradition with progress,” said UNDP Representative Christina Carlson, “This forum provides an opportunity for young people to educate global leaders on the issues and values that are most important to them.”

Bhutanese youth participating in the UN’s MYWorld survey have identified “a good education”, “better healthcare”, “better job opportunities”, and “an honest and responsive government” as their top four priorities for global development.

Bhutan’s representatives to the Youth 2015 Forum were chosen through an intensive competitive process, which included interviews, written statements, and presentations.  More than 20 young people applied for the opportunity to attend the forum, however only two could be chosen.

Kinley Dorji is 23 and currently in his final year at Sherubtse College, majoring in population studies. He is also a master trainer for the Asia-Pacific region for the Youth Peer Education Network. He works with youth both in and outside Bhutan, learning about common challenges confronted by young people and identifying solutions to overcome them.

A passionate youth advocate, Kinley says, “Right now Bhutan does not have the practice of including youth participation at the decision making levels. I believe as young people we need to create our own space to be heard and be involved in our country’s development.”

Yeshey Choden is a 24-year-old graduate and a board member of the Go Youth Go volunteer group in Bhutan. She coordinates youth activities like cleaning campaigns, renovation of religious structures and supporting local causes to keep Bhutanese youth productively engaged. She also completed the Desuung programme, an integrated disaster management training for young people by the Royal Bhutan Army.

Yeshey says, “There is a mismatch between the education we receive and the jobs we get. Work experience is another disadvantage for young people when applying for jobs for the first time. We need to work together to reduce the unemployment issue in Bhutan.” She is also eager to interact with other young people from across the globe.

Fifty-six per cent of Bhutan’s population is below the age of 25. The 2013 Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework (MAF) Report underscores that Bhutan’s youth issues such as unemployment prospects, job mismatch and participation are areas of concern. While the country’s overall unemployment rate is low at 2.1 per cent, youth unemployment is significantly higher—7.3 per cent in 2012—for those in the 15- 24 age bracket. The report also found that unemployment was higher among female youth, than among males—at 11.6 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively. In urban areas these figures rise alarmingly to 20.2 per cent for males and 29.5 per cent for females.  These conclusions highlight the need for creating quality employment for Bhutanese youth.   
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About the Youth Forum:
In July 2014, United Nations Member States, policymakers, civil society organizations, representatives of academia and the private sector will meet in New York during the high-level segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to address the theme of the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on “Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future.” To bring the voice of youth into the discussion, ECOSOC will convene a Youth Forum on 2 June 2014. The Forum will be organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of the Youth Envoy of the Secretary-General. More on the event

Contact Information

For more details, contact:
Jigme Dorji
Head, Poverty Unit
UNDP Bhutan 

Sonam Tsoki Tenzin
Communications Officer
UNDP Bhutan