The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and thePacific (ESCAP) initiated a project on capacity-building in HRD policy-making for youth in Asia and the Pacific in collaboration with Queen’sUniversity, Canada, in August 1999. The project aimed to strengthen thecapacity of governments to formulate and implement, in coordination withthe non-governmental organization (NGO) and private sectors, nationalyouth policies and programmes that address the human resources develop-ment (HRD) needs of young people in Asia and the Pacific.In focusing on the needs of youth in the region, the project supports thebelief of ESCAP that there are three key issues in providing a voice foryouth in society: access and benefit, ability to influence and equity. Thesethree issues are ultimately the pillars of youth participation – to ensure therights of all youth to have access to opportunities and to play an active rolein all spheres of society. This includes all youth, girls and boys, young menand women, rural and urban youth, youth with special needs andmarginalized youth. The project recognizes the critical need for youthconcerns and issues to be understood and addressed. The best way to do sois to give youth a voice through facilitation of their active participation.The project included three components: (1) advisory services to the govern-ments of Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam in the establish-ment or strengthening of national youth coordinating mechanisms for youthpolicy formulation and implementation; (2) analysis of the youth situation,policies and programmes in the four participating countries and drafting of policy alternatives; and (3) national youth policy dialogues among govern-ments, NGOs and the private sector.