Working for development in Asia-Pacific

10358573_10152380819711069_50411280029468616_nChesara, a young journalist from Sri Lanka, was one of the youth participants at the Asian Youth Forum and ADB Annual Meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan. We asked Chesara to pen a blog for us about what he’d learnt at the forum, and he wrote this piece about ADB and development in Asia Pacific.

In the world there are many kinds of financial institutions. When we look at Asia we can say the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is one of the most significant banks among these institutions. It is playing a major role in Asia-Pacific. Today ADB has a good reputation in the world. But some people still don’t know about ADB.

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As a financial institution, earning money and profit isn’t enough. We must work with society. We must work with the people. This concept is highly understood by ADB. Now ADB do many services for society. One of their main tasks is to fight poverty in Asian-Pacific. ADB always like to give a helping hand to Asian countries. As we know, our continent is behind the European countries. ADB is trying to make a difference here. We live in a competitive world and ADB wants to take us forward.

But we have many obstacles to overcome, such as poverty and a lack of education. Asia is still developing. Today ADB have opened their doors to all the Asian countries. With 47 years experience they give their support to all Asian countries. Because ADB has identified many issues in many countries and because they have their opened eyes over Asia, they know what are the necessities of each country.

For an example, they know this country needs a good education system and that country needs a proper road system. Every country has its own dreams and aspirations and goals. To achieve these goals, ADB is a partner in progress. Asian countries can borrow money from ADB at a low rate of interest. Because its main task is to develop Asian countries, not to earn more money, we can see that ADB has given money to make roads, bridges and buildings in Asian countries.

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It has close connections with many Asian countries. And ADB helps develop primary and secondary education. ADB has understood the importance of the education. Education is a knife to cut down the tree of poverty. So that is why ADB always facilitates educational aids to Asian countries, and also ADB has identified that development is insufficient.

But with economic growth of a country, sometimes it harms the environment. ADB has encouraged people to use green energy, solar power and renewable resources. As an example we see they have started some projects in India focussed on solar power. ADB has many connections with governments. They give money to governments and they expect there to be success in each and every country.

Some people may say ADB’s priority is to make money, but I’d like to mention here that ADB is not such an institution. As a participant of the Asian Youth Forum and ADB Annual Meeting I came to know the critical role of ADB. Papua New Guinea, for example, is a country that faces so many difficulties, but ADB supports the development of infrastructure in this country.

And ADB works with civil society. They have good connections with many civil society organisations, such as Plan, OISCA and more. ADB wants to promote society. At the Annual Meeting, we had a discussion with the ADB president. With his speech I understood that ADB really wants to reduce poverty in Asian countries. It is true that they need to achieve their financial goals. But they are not only for that.

They have identified that youth are very capable people. As youth particiapnts, we presented our ideas about water security, governance, environment, and education by creating roadmaps. So finally I would like to mention here that before I participated in this meeting, I did not know what the functions of ADB are. But I now know ADB is a vital institution that helps our countries and I would like to say that ADB is a genuine institution that can help each and every one of us.

New opportunities at Asian Youth Forum

sajidIn this post, youth participant Sajid Arghandaiwall from Afghanistan blogs about his experience at the 2nd Asian Youth Forum and the Asian Development Bank’s Annual Meeting. Sajid is a journalist, writer, peacemaker and photographer. You can follow him on Twitter here and find out more about him here.

Many people worldwide constantly struggle to find an opportunity to participate in a conference, forum or any other exchange programme through which they can share their views, exchange ideas, build skills and learn more about different cultures.

As an active member of my society I have always tried to find opportunities through which I can learn new skills and apply that knowledge to help my people, to build communities and advance peace in Afghanistan. The Asian Youth forum gave me the opportunity to gain lots of productive things.

In total we were about 60 participants at the forum. I was the only Afghan participant as part of VSO (Volunteer Service Overseas). Split into four separate groups we were given four different issues for discussion. They included water security, Environment, Education, building skills and unemployment. Ideas were workshopped in an attempt to find suitable solutions. This helped participants to advance their team work and planning abilities. We also had other skills building activities. They included social media, communications, debating and advocacy. Members of YAF gave functional presentations about each topic.

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Despite the forum lasting for only two days (April 30 to May 1) the participants gained an experience and more knowledge that will help them in every field of their lives.

The forum was just the start of our experience in gaining knowledge and skills building. We had the 47th Annual Meeting of ADB ahead of us from May 2 to May 5. Around 3,800 international delegates from many different fields participated, including ministers, members of ADB, social activists.

As members of civil society organisations we attended the Annual Meeting. Every group gave their own presentation concerning the different issues that we had workshopped. Many high-level personalities participated including country directors, bankers and journalists to share their suggestions about our presentations. Additionally many civil society organisations had seminars and panels in which the participants of the Asian Youth Forum took part in. This opened doors for the participants to start new projects on returning to their communities.

Meeting and listening to the views of new people from various organisations was one of the benefits of attending the annual meeting. I am really happy by being a part of AYF. It gave me the opportunity to make new friends, learn about other cultures, gain more knowledge and build skills, which is something I have always strived to achieve.