Jakarta (ANTARA) - Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR), Puan Maharani, has emphasized that the youth, constituting nearly 34 percent of the ASEAN population, possess significant potential to be agents of positive change in solving challenges.

"Your fresh perspectives, innovative approaches for decision-making, and unwavering commitment to solving regional challenges are important assets for collective progress," she remarked while opening the Young Parliaments of AIPA (YPA) Meeting here on Tuesday.

The meeting was held as part of the 44th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly.

According to Maharani, the issues raised at the YPA meeting were relevant and matched the theme of the 44th AIPA General Assembly, namely a "Responsive Parliament for a Stable and Prosperous ASEAN".

She praised the dedication of ASEAN's young parliament members in shaping a better future for the region, including by discussing solutions to diverse global challenges, as was done at the meeting.

"This meeting highlighted several crucial issues that need our attention. First, we must increase the role of parliament in encouraging the initiatives of youth empowerment in digital entrepreneurship and leadership," she said.

She noted that the empowerment of youth in entrepreneurship and digital leadership includes providing support through policies and regulations.

Maharani underlined that ASEAN's digital economy hold significant potential, projected to reach US$1 trillion by 2030.

Harnessing the power of technology and innovation can be open new avenues of opportunity for youngsters in Southeast Asia, she added.

The second issue highlighted at the meeting, she said, was related to the economic problems faced by the youth.

Maharani noted that while economic growth in most parts of Southeast Asia has been robust during the post-pandemic recovery phase, the unemployment rate among young adults has remains elevated.

In addition, many youngsters are engaged in vulnerable jobs with low salaries, she added.

She then invited young members of parliament under AIPA to jointly seek solutions to those problems, such as by enhancing education, vocational training, and skill development programs.

She said that AIPA must play an important role in advocating those steps and fostering collaboration between members of the parliament in ASEAN to formulate policies that bolster youth employment.

Maharani also shared that the topics planned for discussion in the meeting encompass ensuring youth participation in promoting and safeguarding democracy.

She said that youngsters must be encouraged to uphold the values of democracy, the supremacy of law, and respect for human rights.

The YPA meeting was chaired by deputy chairperson of the DPR's Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Agency (BKSAP), Gilang Dhielafararez, and was co-chaired by DPR member Dyah Roro Esti.

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Translator: Melalusa Susthira, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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