The process of making the National Youth Policy in Myanmar was initiated during the previous government. After the National League for Democracy (NLD) won the landslide in 2015 and formed their Government, the process of its development accelerated, as it was included in the so called “100-day action plan” presented by the new government.
The drafting process was initially initiated through a joint effort between youth representatives from across the country, the UN Joint team, government ministries and national consultants, where it was widely debated by a range of youth networks. To enhance the input of political party youth representatives into the draft of the National Youth Policy, DIPD conducted workshops among the political party and CSO youth, which resulted in a policy memo recommendations and policy suggestions. This policy memo, which was presented to the drafting committee, proved very valuable. Many of its proposals are now included in the National Youth Policy Draft, published by the Central National Youth Policy Drafting Committee.
From this first publication of the draft, it will be two months before the policy will be presented in the National Parliament. To provide forums for consultation and dialogue on the draft policy, DIPD cooperated with the drafting committee and the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) to conduct workshops on the National Youth Policy in Mandalay Region and in Shan and Kachin States between the 15th and 22nd October.
“Now that DIPD is supporting consultation on the policy, we are engaged in getting the suggestions and feedbacks from the local people. We really appreciated the efforts of DIPD” SuSal Shinthat said. Susal is a LGBTI Representative and Youth Policy Drafting Committee member from the Mandalay Region.
During the workshops the participants presented a lot of ideas and policy suggestions and their will to be engaged in the implementation process was very high. “After I learned about the National Youth Policy, I understand the political role of youth better, and I have learned how a policy like this can help in enhancing the opportunities for a greater capacity and development of the youth” Eit Shan Paung from Wa Liberal Democratic Party said after the workshop in Shan state.
One of the biggest challenges to the draft policy paper was that it did not mention much about the participating role of political party youth. The participants argued that they wished that the policy would define more clearly how political party youth can be more actively engaged in the implementation process of the policy in the future.
Some tangible suggestions to emerge from the dialogues included creating a Ministry for Youth Affairs that can be combined with the Ministry of Sports and Health; or giving the youth a chance to elect an official Youth “Diplomat” that can speak with the voice of the youth upon international affairs.
“When we are looking more detailed in to the National Youth Policy, we are satisfied overall, but some policy points still need some improvement. This became clear as we were discussing the policy matters more in detail, so the outcome of our discussions were really great and fruitful”, Mu Caroline from Kayan National Party said after the workshop conducted in Shan state.
The comments, suggestion and ideas from the participants will be assembled in a new report that will be handed to the central drafting committee, the UN joint team and the Department of Social Welfare. Furthermore, all our collected suggestions and comments from the participants will be presented at the Strategic Planning meeting of the implementation process of the final National Youth Policy.
For more information about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, please visit our Myanmar page.