Statement by UNDP Country Director- Development Partners Meeting for Comprehensive Youth Development Program (CYDP)

Aug 29, 2018

Honourable Minister, secretary, representatives from the diplomatic missions, distinguished Guests and colleagues,

A very good afternoon, and a warm welcome to all of you.

Let me begin by thanking the Minister and the colleagues at the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Project Management and Southern Development for their strong commitment to empower the young women and men of Sri Lanka.

Let me also share my sincere appreciation for this partnership with UNDP, and let me reiterate our commitment to support by bringing in our inhouse expertise and from our regional and global networks


Today’s generation of young people is the largest the world has ever known.

All around us, we see that there are challenges of creating enough jobs and opportunities for all due to growing inequalities, lack of access to healthcare and education, protracted conflicts, natural disasters and other global environmental challenges.

These challenges are important to all of us, but especially to the young people who make up more than half of the world’s population today.

The importance of responding to the needs of this generation of young people cannot be overstated.

All these challenges call for bold approaches to building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world and this is why we are gathered here today…

…to work together to better invest in young people ahead of the 2030 agenda.


The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals can’t be achieved without the support and full participation of young people.

Around the world we see youth promoting poverty eradication, peace and justice; launching grassroot advocacy campaigns and youth-led initiatives; and contributing to policy dialogues in their own way.

This shows us that youth leadership and commitment make a big difference in societies.

The challenge now is to do even better.

To meet the vision of the 2030 Agenda, all youth must be engaged and empowered.


Addressing young people’s specific needs as well as recognising, promoting and supporting the role of youth as critical and positive agents of change, is a top priority for the United Nations.

In my travels, I often meet young people and hear their aspirations, so I know that the future of Sri Lanka will be in very good hands.


UNDP works on several fronts with young people. Let me highlight how:

  • At global and regional levels, UNDP has set up programmes and platforms to boost youth participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda


  • In 2016, we launched our first Youth Global Programme for Sustainable Development and Peace, which aims to empower youth across all development contexts through greater engagement -  a 5-year programme covering over 40 countries, including Sri Lanka


  • Globally, UNDP also supports the capacity development of young people guided by UNDP’s Youth Strategy 2014-2017 which recognized the importance of the involvement of young men and women in decision making.


  • In Sri Lanka, we introduced the UNDP Youth LEAD programme in 2015 to provide an opportunity to four young people to work within UNDP, to infuse new thinking into our work. After two successful batches, UNDP recently recruited the third batch of young people who will work cohesively to enhance our work.  


  • Together with the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Development, the National Youth Services Council and the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka, we are hosting the National Youth Social Innovation ‘Hackathon’ for the 4th year in a row, providing a platform for young people to be part of the solution to development challenges around us.


  • We are also working with the National Youth Services Council along with Cisco and Citi to provide e-learning courses on entrepreneurship to 1000 young people across the country.


  • With the support of the Government of Norway and the European Union, we partnered with a few national universities in the North and the East to provide a Youth Leadership Development course for young people who are unable to gain entrance to tertiary education.


  • Together with the Governments of Canada, Norway and the European Union, UNDP also supported over 4000 youth entrepreneurs under the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme which was designed to promote enterprise development and increase the capacity of youth to engage in income generation activities



  • Last year, under our work to strengthen public institutions for better service delivery, we supported the National Youth Services Council. And this year, we want to work with the Ministry to further our investment on young people.


These are just a few ongoing initiatives targeted at young people.

However, as the honorable minister mentioned, there is a clear lack of coordination between all stakeholders who work to create a better society for young people.

This is why UNDP is pleased to be working with the Ministry to create a Comprehensive Youth Development Programme which not only brings us all together but also ensures that we leave no youth behind in our interventions.

Building on our 50 years of experience in working in Sri Lanka and beyond, we stand committed to provide our technical expertise and financial support to formulate a strategic youth programme.

We will also bring in our experience from previously supporting the development of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Plan which mainstreamed disaster management across all relevant stakeholders.


Honorable Minister…

Thank you for taking the leadership to start the conversation on mainstreaming all youth initiatives.

Your passion and commitment towards young people is what will make this Programme a success.

Thank you.


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