The Youth Policy Formulation Manual by the United Nations is consisted of 5 chapters that discuss the dynamics of National Youth Policy by defining the concept per se to its implementation and the assessment of its effectiveness. The introductory part of the youth policy formulation manual provides different definitions coming from different perspectives of the concept of national youth policy. However, the article merged all the given definitions and came up with general definitions of National Youth Policy such as a practical demonstration that youth are a priority; a framework for political action; a blueprint of the status, rights, responsibilities and roles of youth; and others.
Moreover, the foundation of the National Youth Policy was also discussed which emphasized on the importance of the youth in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) region by providing three vital elements which are: the youth as the hope of the future of the nation; the youth represents the majority of the population of the world; and historical importance of the success of previous national youth policies.The benefits of the policy are also discussed as the empowerment of the youth profile as a vital sector in society and it could also bridge the gap between the old and the new generation through cooperation. The next chapter focused on the formulation process of National youth Policies. The formulation process is made up of five stages which include the creation of an appropriate policy development vehicle, involvement of the key stakeholders, identification of the needs of the youth, utilization of a participatory formulation process and the adaptation at the highest political level of the policy. The chapter also provided different case studies of different countries such as Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines to name a few. The content of the National Youth Policy is the focus of the third chapter.
The common key structural features of the national youth policies of most countries in the Asia and the Pacific region were enumerated and were extensively discussed in detail with the support of case studies in Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea etc. The common key structural features are Foreword, Rational for the policy, Definition of youth, youth profile, Historical and contemporary issues, reference to other policies, Principles and values, Goals and vision statement, Policy objectives, Rights, responsibilities and obligations of young men and women, key strategies, priority target groups and implementation and coordination mechanisms.
The fourth chapter of the Youth Policy Formulation Manual is directed towards the implementation of a national youth policy. The chapter provides the strategies that should be considered by the youth development planners such as the promotion of the policy, formulation of an accompanying national youth action plan, creation of an appropriate mechanism for implementation and coordination of the policy, review and monitoring of the policy, and the mainstreaming of the policy. The fifth chapter of the manual provides different tools and methods on measuring the impact of youth policy initiatives. The development of a set of key youth development checklist indicators provides the standards on how to determine effective youth participations. Using specific targets includes the number of target participants. The Introduction of an annual youth audit aims to promote the maintenance of transparency in the youth agencies. The Establishment of a baseline data emphasize on the data-collection, in qualitative and quantitative forms, on the situation of the youth in every country.
The role of the youth in shaping the future has been emphasized by different influential people, most notably Jose Rizal. As the future leaders and forerunners of the world, the social and political rights, and welfare of the youth should always be prioritized by the government. Moreover, to assure that the said rights and welfare are implemented efficiently, policies that are pro-youth should be formulated. The United Nations Youth Policy Formulation Manual (1999) basically provides a thorough discussion on the importance of the youth sector and how the government, through the formulation of policies directed towards the youth, could protect the interests and rights of the future generation. This paper intends to partly discuss and analyze the Youth Policy Formulation Manual and provide a conclusion based on the opinion of the author regarding the manual.
One of the definitions of National Youth Policy that is given in the introductory chapter of the National Youth Policy Manual is that it is a practical demonstration that shows that the youth are the priority (United Nations, 1999). The importance of the youth, as explained earlier and in some parts of the manual is vital to the future of the nation and the world. However, other sectors of society should also be considered, or prioritized if possible, such as the industrial workers and the farmers that are propelling the present economy of the nation and the world through their respective works. The point is that the rights and welfare of the workers and the farmers should also be protected by policies similar to that of the youth as presented in the National Youth Policy formulation manual since they are also vital to the present and future developments of the nation and the world. Moreover, the youth policy formulation manual could serve as a guide for the creation of another policy formulation manual that will cater the rights and welfare of the farmers and the industrial workers.
The content of the Youth Policy Formulation Manual is a very substantial guide for policymakers who are into the development and protection of the youth. Moreover, in addition to the content of the manual, the European Youth Forum (n.d.) provided 11 indicators of a National Youth Policy which are vital elements of a National Youth policy such as non-formal education, Youth training policy, youth budget and youth legislation to name a few. These indicators should also be included in the manual since they present the specific realities of the youth in their constituency (European Youth Forum, n.d.) and the elements provided in the article by the European Youth forum is supplementary to the youth policy formulation.
The latter part of this paper will be focusing on the implementation of a National youth policy as provided in the chapter four of the manual by using the Philippines as an example. According to the United Nations (1999), there are strategies in implementing the National Youth Policy which are the promotion of the policy, formulation of an accompanying national youth action plan, creation of an appropriate mechanism for implementation and coordination of the policy, review and monitoring of the policy, and the mainstreaming of the policy. In the Philippines, I personally checked for the National youth policies which then lead me to the youth development plan of all the countries in the world. According to Youthpolicy.org (2014), the youth development plan of the Philippines for 2012-2016 is still awaiting endorsement. In addition to that, the National Youth Commission also created a Philippine Youth Development Index (PYDI) which aims to improve the planning and implementation of policies for the youth by measuring their development in the areas of education, employment, health and participation (National Youth Commission, 2014).
The mere fact that the Philippines have a Youth Development plan which is supplemented by a Philippine Youth Development Index shows that the National Youth Policies are given priority by the government and the agencies that are in charge of the youth such as the National Youth Commission. However, though the implementation of National Youth Policies seems to be successful in the sense that there is already a development plan for the youth and the ease of identifying their problems is provided by the Philippine Youth Development Index, the National Youth policy is not being mainstreamed yet. In my opinion, aside from the internet, one of the most influential medium to communicate with the youth is through television. However, in my observation, there are still no commercials or television advertisements that aim to promote awareness among the youth regarding their social and political rights. The government must promote and mainstream the National youth policy by maximizing the utilization of television advertisements and the internet since the two mediums, in my opinion, are frequently used by the youth of this generation.
In conclusion, the National Youth Policy Formulation Manual is useful for aspiring youth policy-makers that intends to promote the rights and welfare of the youth sector. The five chapter manual, as I stated earlier, could be used as a guide for the creation of policy formulation manual for other sectors that should also be prioritized such as the agricultural sector and others. Overall, the manual provides substantial information and insights regarding youth policies. However, the agencies that are in charge of the promotion of the National youth policy should be improved in the sense that the entire possible medium for promotion should be utilized in order to reach all the youth, the hope of the future.