At the common boundary of the best and the worst of times, are young people ready for it ?

At the beginning of the novel “A Tale of Two Cities” by the British writer, Charles Dickens, says: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, which should be particularly touching to contemporary young people. Due to the advancement of generations and the maturity of social development, young people in this era may have more choices about their life direction. However, they cannot be sure that the chances presented by their choices are optimistic because the burden they bear is relatively heavy. In addition to facing the dilemma of slowing economic growth and rising inflation, as well as a global decline in birth rates, young people will share more of the responsibility for caring for the livelihood of the elderly. What’s more, due to the worsening extreme climate brought about by global climate change, young people are becoming more and more pessimistic about the future environmental development, and they even have the “climate anxiety”. The development of generations brings new opportunities. While facing the multiple pressures mentioned above, young people enjoy many achievements left by their predecessors, especially the advancement of technology, information has become more transparent and has flown faster than before. Through the internet, young people can not only absorb a lot of information, but also allow their voices to be streamed across borders, so as to instantly transmit their personal appeals to any corner of the world and arouse the attention of the people, and the Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, is a good example to explain this situation. Therefore, compared with the past, modern young people are more likely to obtain the opportunity to hold the right to speak, spread their opinions outward like ripples, and increase their influence on international issues.

With the increase of the global youth population, the voices of young people cannot be ignored. Especially since nearly 90% of young people live in developing countries or regions, it is even more necessary to think about how to use international development assistance to not only assist them in becoming financially independent, but also provide opportunities for them to acquire knowledge and skills through education. Helping youths living in developing countries to change their lives is what the international community is concerned about.

Therefore, this issue is themed “International Aid Under the Changes of the Young Generation”, inviting experts and scholars in related fields to start by analyzing the “2030 Youth Strategy” presented by the United Nations, gradually exploring why young people have begun to pay attention to international issues, and what the role that youth can play in the field of international aid, and then putting forward relevant policy suggestions.

The special report of this issue takes “How Taiwan Youths Participate in the Issue of Sustainable Development Goals – Making an Impact Through Aid Work” as the topic. We have specially interviewed Tze-Luen Lin, Deputy Executive Director of Office of Energy and Carbon Reduction of the Executive Yuan, and Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and the Graduate Institute of Public Affairs of National Taiwan University ; Liang-Yi Chang, Regional Director of Asia of Climate 350, and Co-founder of Plan B ; and Yun-Ping Wang, Deputy Director of the Technical Cooperation Department of the TaiwanICDF. Dr. Tze-Luen Lin shared with readers the importance of the role of youth in current international issues based on his years of experience in leading Taiwanese youth in international engagement, and made suggestions for young people who want to join the international community in the future. Liang-Yi Chang and Yun-Ping Wang, represent young people of different generations, starting with their own experiences, and encouraging young people to strengthen their global perspective and influence on the world by participating in international aid work.

There are lots of people who claim that young people are now “Strawberry Generation” or “Peach Generation”, thinking that they are low stress resistant. However, apart from criticism, should we consider more positively how to moderately provide more resources and encouragement to young people? Let them have the ways to express their opinions, help the energetic and innovative young people to find a space to express their creativity and advance towards the international community with confidence. In this issue, we look forward to providing some suggestions to policy makers on the integration of resources for young people, and hope that young people can learn from the experience of their predecessors from this article as the examples for their own engagement in international aid work.

Summary

The Policy Implications of the United Nations’ “2030 Youth Strategy” and Taiwan’s Youth International Participation Policy

(Kwei-Bo Huang, Associate Professor at the Department of Diplomacy of National Chengchi University, Secretary-General at the Association of Foreign Relations ; Shao-Yun Wang, Deputy Director at International and Experiential Learning Division, Youth Development Administration, Ministry of Education)

According to the United Nations, young people are defined as those aged 15 to 24. Nowadays, young people account for about 16% of the global population, and nearly 90% of them live in developing countries or regions. By 2030, the global youth population is expected to exceed 1.3 billion. In order to develop the potential of young people, in 2018, the United Nations launched the “2030 Youth Strategy”. This article will introduce the background and outline of this strategy, analyze its policy implications, and finally make some brief discussions and suggestions on Taiwan’s existing youth policies.

Sustainable Development and Intergenerational Justice: How Can Young People Move Towards the Future They Want?

(Hui-Ping Chen, Co-founder at SunnyFounder, and Chairwoman of Taiwan Green Energy for Charity Association)

Global Sustainable Development must take Intergenerational Justice into consideration, especially the rights and interests of young people. According to the statistics of the United Nations, young people aged 15 to 24 account for about 16% of the global population. They are not only long-term profoundly impacted the most under climate change, but also hold the power to change the future. However, young people relatively lack the rights to speak or influence in contemporary environmental and political affairs. Therefore, we have to listen to the voices of the young generations and encourage the youth participation in order to truly implement the vision of sustainable development. This article will make an overview of the cognition and actions of Taiwan’s and international youth on sustainable development and climate issues. And finally, we will make some specific suggestions for expanding youth participation from the aspect of international cooperation, so as to call on more young people to endeavor to live the world they want.

The Impact of Education on Developing Countries

(Yeh-Yun Carol Lin, Emeritus Professor at National Chengchi University)

This article introduces the impact of education on developing countries from 4 aspects, including qualitative cases of international organizations, Taiwan government, the TaiwanICDF, and National Chengchi University. International organizations have made a lot of efforts to improve the level of global education. Over the past 18 years, the amount of funding for education has continued to increase, from 2010 to 2020, the average annual funding for education in low-income, low-middle income, and high-middle-income countries was about $5.9 billion. In 2004, the Taiwan government launched the “Taiwan Scholarship Program” which was established jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) ; in 2011, it was divided into “MOFA Taiwan Scholarship” and “MOE Taiwan Scholarship”. Since 1998, the TaiwanICDF has established the “TaiwanICDF International Higher Education Scholarship Program” for foreign students, providing full scholarships to assist Taiwan’s allies and friendly countries in cultivating their high-level professionals needed for socioeconomic development, and to share Taiwan’s successful experience of economic and social development. As for IMBA graduates of National Chengchi University, some of them returned to their home country and occupied an important position, some went to work in other countries, including investment bank in New York, and companies in Canada, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, and China, having influence on their own fields by applying what they have learned. Thanks to assistance from advanced countries before and our own efforts, Taiwan has now an indispensable economic and trade status in the world. When we are able to help others, fulfilling the global civic responsibilities, lending a helping hand to countries in need, and providing high-quality education and training are the most effective cut-in points to assist developing countries in the sustainable development. Taiwan is an active contributor to SDG 4 Quality Education!

Public-private Cooperation Strengthens Youth Assistance in Developing Countries

(Shih-Chang Huang, Deputy Director at the Third Research Division of the Chung-Hua institution for economic research ; Qian-Hao Hong, Research Assistant at the Third Research Division of the Chung-Hua institution for economic research)

The International Cooperation, which is used to globalized operations and circulation, has been affected by the Covid-19 in recent years. Not only has the supply chain been disrupted which made the transnational assistance almost suspended, but also the inflationary pressures have increased caused by rising raw material prices due to the Russia-Ukraine War, making the societies and economies of developing countries face major life challenges. Therefore, this article will start by analyzing the problems faced by young people in developing countries, through the results of Taiwan’s foreign aid projects, and make policy suggestions on how the Taiwan government and the private sector can make good use of Taiwan’s advantages to strengthen the strategic planning of international youth assistance through public-private cooperation and business collaboration, so as to demonstrate the socio-economic value of Taiwan’s implementation of ESG.

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