“Youth are often excluded in regional cooperation and integration arrangements. As a result, their opinions are not counted. It is in this spirit that MI has been advocating for youth involvement in all levels of decision-making to ensure that the ideas are adequately contested before decisions are taken. Creating a youth-friendly environment and providing young people with the right tools are also very important.”
This was the message emphasized in his keynote address to the ASEAN Youth Economic Forum 2023 by Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of Mekong Institute (MI).
Themed “Promoting A Resilient and Sustainable Economy in ASEAN and Japan through a Circular Economy”, the forum was held on March 17, 2023, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Marking the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation, the event was the first ASEAN Youth Economic Forum in Southeast Asia and had as its main aims to improve an understanding of the circular economy and its benefits for the economy and the environment of ASEAN and Japan; provide a platform for young professionals of ASEAN and Japan to enhance mutual understanding; and encourage the involvement and collaboration of ASEAN and Japan young professionals/stakeholders through creating and proposing policy recommendations to high-level stakeholders, particularly on the topic of the circular economy.
Mr. Suriyan underscored the relevance of the circular economy in development issues, saying, “The notion of a circular economy connects with many development issues. At the moment, many development projects do not address it. However, its objectives can be achieved by fostering relevant development issues related to the economy that are green, resilient, and creative,” he added.
After the event, Mr. Suriyan met with Mr. Senjaya Mulia, Chairman of the ASEAN Youth Organization. The two discussed possible areas of collaboration between MI, the ASEAN Foundation and the ASEAN Youth Organization to promote opportunities for youth entrepreneurs in ASEAN and drive the creative economy.
They both look forward to further exchanges.