SINGAPORE: Young people will get more say in the Singapore they want to build with the formation of a new action plan, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann said on Friday (Mar 8).
Ms Sim said during her Committee of Supply speech in Parliament that the Youth Conversations dialogue series has highlighted young people's aspirations, needs and interests. These range from jobs and employment to mental well-being and environmental sustainability.
"We know the youths want to move these conversations into action," she added. "We will support the creation of the SG Youth Action Plan to give them a clear say in the Singapore they want to build."
Youths, for the purposes of this process, are people aged 15-35.
The action plan, developed by a panel comprising youth leaders from various sectors and organisations, will make clear a youth vision for Singapore in 2025, leading to proposals and partnerships.
The panel, co-led by Ms Sim, will identify opportunities for young people to provide policy recommendations and enter projects with the Government, communities, non-profits and businesses to lead the change they hope to see.
The panel will be formed in the second quarter of 2019 and will work closely with Government agencies and the National Youth Council to engage stakeholders and youths from all walks of life.
"These engagements will be carried out both online and face-to-face, and details will be announced later this year," Ms Sim said. "The action plan will articulate our youths’ vision for Singapore in 2025, and identify priority areas."
Young people can also get involved under the action plan by sharing feedback on the Youth Belt in the Somerset area.
The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), together with the National Youth Council, said it will start an engagement process in April.
The exercise will run in three phases. The first phase will invite young people to participate and share their views on what they would like to see in the Somerset Youth Belt, and how they can help rejuvenate the area.
Ms Sim noted that young people already congregate in areas like *SCAPE, The Red Box and Skate Park, which feature music and media, entrepreneurship, learning and urban sports.
“But as Orchard Road renews itself, we have a unique opportunity to re-imagine the Youth Belt," she said. "We will be engaging youths through a place-making exercise, with online and face-to-face sessions, so that they can show us how to take this youth precinct to the next level.”
The second phase will consolidate youths' feedback and ideas, before a panel supported by technical experts studies their feasibility. The final phase will invite youths to have a say on the shortlisted proposals.
"MCCY will work with Government agencies and other stakeholders subsequently for further development and implementation of the proposals," MCCY said.
Also as part of the action plan, the Youth Conversations dialogue series will continue this year via a digital platform to reach more young people. A beta version is slated for launch in April.
MCCY said it engaged more than 8,000 youths through the dialogue series in 2018.
The new digital platform will have tools like polling and discussion functions for young people to contribute and exchange views. Possible additions include participatory budgeting, which allows youths to vote for ideas - like those under the National Youth Fund - and allocate virtual budgets to projects they support.
"Through active civic participation, MCCY hopes that youths will feel more empowered to contribute back to society and to take greater ownership of Singapore," the ministry said.