Geographic focus: Brazil, China, India, South Korea
Thematic focus areas supported by the mechanism:
MDG 8 on Global Partnerships for Development; As in the entire Arab region, youth empowerment is a growing challenge in Saudi Arabia, with about 60% of population below 30 years of age. While local efforts are underway to improve education systems and expand non-oil employment generating industry, another need is to empower Saudi youth to emerge as globally connected citizens, sharing development experiences and lessons with partners across the emerging South.
In support of the Government's drive for greater intercultural dialogue, UNDP has been partnering for a south-south Youth Exchange project through which Saudi female and male youth visited counterparts in Brazil, China, India and South Korea in 2012 to explore models of youth employment, urban development, green economy, ICT for development, and knowledge economy generation.
Steps/stages in practical application of the mechanism:
The South-South Youth Exchange mechanism is based on a process of identifying thematic priorities for empowering Saudi youth and relevant exchange countries for given topics, identification of female and male youth from regions of the country, developing a rigorous agenda for exchange visits, and undertaking evaluation and follow-up to capture lessons learned and ways to integrate such lessons into local youth empowerment activities in Saudi Arabia. It also involved a process to continue engaging youth across the South as alumni of the initiative. The exchange is overseen by a Project Board with various Government and private sector partners who provide guidance, quality assurance and funding.
Results to Date:
The mechanism has been a success with positive evaluations from both Saudi institutions and host partners in Brazil, China, India and South Korea.
Saudi youth have benefited greatly through exposure to development models in other emerging economies and have begun to apply lessons learned into their work back in the Kingdom. It has served as a base for further South-South cooperation potentials on specific topics of bilateral interest among countries. For example out of the Saudi-India youth exchange process, which focused on the role of ICT for development, an innovative idea for web-based platform for citizen contributions to global development has been tabled for development, as an offshoot initiative now under review by UNDP and the Government.
Most Recent Annual Budget (USD): 500,000
Total Budget (USD): 1,000,000
Focal Point and Contact:
Haifa Al Mogrin
UNDP Saudi Arabia
UN Premises, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh 11614