The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and thePacific (ESCAP) initiated a project entitled “Capacity-building in HRDpolicy-making for youth in Asia and the Pacific” in collaboration withQueen’s University, Canada, in August of 1999. The project aimed tostrengthen the capacity of governments to formulate and implement, incoordination with the NGO and private sectors, national youth policies andprogrammes that address the human resources development (HRD) needs of young people in Asia and the Pacific.In focusing on the needs of youth in the region, the project supportsESCAP’s belief that there are three key issues in providing a voice for youthin society: access and benefit, ability to influence and equity. These threeissues are ultimately the pillars of youth participation – to ensure the rightsof all youth to have access to opportunities and to play an active role in allspheres of society. This includes all youth, girls and boys, young men andwomen, rural and urban youth, youth with special needs and marginalizedyouth. The project recognizes the critical need for youth concerns and issuesto be understood and addressed. The best way to do so is to give youth avoice through facilitation of their active participation.The project included three components: (1) Advisory services to thegovernments of Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam in theestablishment or strengthening of national youth coordinating mechanismsfor youth policy formulation and implementation; (2) analysis of the youthsituation, policies and programmes in the four participating countries, anddrafting of policy alternatives; and (3) national youth policy dialogues amonggovernments, NGOs and the private sector.