In 2015, APRRN was asked to join the Youth and Adolescents in Emergencies Advocacy Group (YAE Group) that also included other APRRN members, external partners as well as UNHCR. This group has been quite active in negotiating for the UNHCR Consultations with NGOs in 2016 to have a youth theme and for UNHCR to support an international youth consultation programme in the lead up – the Global Refugee Youth Consultations. As part of this project, APRRN became the regional lead for Asia and co-organised youth consultations in Thailand and Pakistan. To coordinate these efforts, APRRN established an Informal Youth Working Group. Since then the informal group also produced a briefing paper on refugee youth in the Asia Pacific but also a short video submission that captured the voices of refugee youth across the region.
There was a need to formalise the Informal Youth Working Group into a formal one because of the existing gaps in youth programming in this region as well as the success from the previous activities of the Informal Working Group. Hence the Youth Working Group (YWG) was then formally established by our members during the 6th Asia Pacific Consultation on Refugee Rights (APCRR6).
The YWG primarily aims to provide a mechanism for strengthened youth engagement, participation and leadership. Specific objectives include:
- To amplify the voices of youth via different advocacy channels
- To strengthen youth leadership and participation in national, regional and international advocacy platforms
- To increase engagement of youth in identifying solutions to their issues of concerns
- To strengthen the advocacy skills and strategies of youth
- To increase access to relevant information and resources
- To identify youth leaders across the region and facilitate peer to peer exchange and mentoring between youth
Specific activities over the next two years will include:
- Facilitate youth participation at high level fora such as the UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs (June 2017) and the High Commissioner’s Dialogue (December 2017)
- Amplify the voices of refugee youth on the Thai-Burma border by organising film screenings across the region
- Organise additional youth consultations to understand the issues of concerns better and provide platforms to identify possible solutions
- Organise at least one training per year on advocacy skills and youth leadership
- Share relevant information and resources between members (please visit the tools section)
- Create a directory of youth leaders in the region and develop a mentoring/exchange project based on that