3 November 2019, Bangkok – UN Development Porgramme (UNDP), Citi Foundation, Air Asia and NIA kicked off their 3rd Youth Co: Lab in Bangkok to advance innovation and entrepreneurial skills for young social innovators, with a strong focus on “Respect Differences, Embrace Diversity.”
Bringing together young talents from all regions of Thailand, the workshop aims to discuss the important role young people can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and to leverage the potential of youth towards innovative solutions as pathways to tackle social issues, to foster an inclusive society, to reduce inequality, to prevent violent conflict, and to promote a sustaining peace environment.
UNDP is determined to better support Thailand to foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, and achieve sustainable development. This is in line with the country’s priorities which, according to the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan, highlighted that “the country has faced high social and economic inequalities: income disparities between the richest and the poorest stood at 34.9 times in 2013. The structural underlying causes include geographical disparities in the quality of public services; an imbalanced economic structure; an inequitable distribution of development opportunities and gaps in access to justice. The issues reinforce perception of social exclusion across the country, leading to a vulnerable environment in which confrontational narratives flourish. “Building a society of peaceful coexistence of different opinions and ideologies and reducing inequality is key to achieving sustainable development and the responsibility of everyone.” Youths, being a vital resource and future leaders whose future prospects are inextricably tied to those of the country, have in particular significant roles to play in addressing these social challenges.
In his closing remarks, Renaud Meyer, UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand, underlined the importance of supporting social innovators. “Youth’s energy and strong commitment to preventing violent extremism and sustaining peace play an important role and help us in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. ”
“Citi Foundation is pleased to see many young people interested and participating in Youth Co:Lab. We believe in the potential of youth who will grow to be an important social driver in the future - to apply modern technology and innovative ideas that will answer to the need of modern lifestyle of the new generation.” Said Ms. Wanvisa Komindr, Head of Corporate Affairs and Citizenship at Citi Thailand.
“Raising awareness among young people to create and apply innovation to solve social problems is very important as it will help build a strong foundation for sustainable growth for the future of Thailand,” said Mr. Kunawut Boonyanopakun, Director of Social Innovation Department at National Innovation Agency
“AirAsia sees sustainability as being successful in both doing business and doing good. As we efficiently to create economic opportunities and brand value, we also have to be responsible for the society, economy, and environment as a whole. Today, while we shared our knowledge and business experience to the new generation, we also found inspiration and courage to change and grow by listening to their new innovative ideas.” said Topaz Subunruk, Head of Sustainability and Communication at AirAsia.
After having participated in the networking event and innovation capacity building workshop,
Mr. Maruf Chebueraheng, a young talent from Narathiwat province expressed, “My goal is to create technology for inclusive and innovative democratic mechanisms to make sure that no one is left behind. Youth Co:Lab gave me a chance to share my experience and I received useful feedback to advance my idea to be impactful as well as widen my network with like-minded friends around the country.”
By providing youth social entrepreneurs with capacity development training, Youth Co:Lab Thailand 2019 hopes to cultivate an enabling environment where young changemakers can have access to the space and resources they need to drive social change in their communities and their societies.
About UNDP Thailand
UNDP Thailand works as a part of UN Country Team to support the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand to achieve the national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.
About Youth Co: Lab
Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to empower youth and accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through youth leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. By developing 21st century skills, catalyzing and sustaining youth-led start-ups and social enterprises across the region, Youth Co:Lab positions young people front and center in order to solve the region’s most pressing challenges. In addition to supporting youth entrepreneurship, Youth Co:Lab also works closely with multiple stakeholders across the region, including governments, civil society and the private sector, to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in order to better enable young people to take the lead on new solutions that will help meet the SDGs.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Tanyalak Thongyojaroen, Communications and Outreach Officer, UNDP Thailand
Nattha Aungkasit, Project Coordinator, Thailand Social Innovation Platform, UNDP Thailand