The National Youth Dialogues: Because young S’poreans deserve a say


The ongoing National Youth Dialogues are one of the best, most interactive platforms out now for youths to stake their claim towards shaping Singapore’s future. 

There was Session 1, “Renewing Our Social Compact”, which was about figuring out which policies need changing when the times call for them as has been discussed in Parliament this past April. This for a more inclusive, smoother-running Singapore. 

Session 2 was similarly future-oriented. It focused on what youths can do for climate change while Singapore heads “Towards A Net Zero Future”. 

And what sets these sessions apart from typical feedback opportunities is how attendees — industry, academia, the public service and political as well as grassroots leaders who are passionate about their causes – are treated as solution providers to problems they see in Singapore.  

So, these sessions let youth participants hear from all these panellists on future-oriented issues, respond to them, and then co-create public policies together.      

Climate action and boosting Singapore’s families   

Case in point: People at Session 2 (Sept 21), asking “What is Singapore’s impact on the global net zero effort?” 

25-year-old climate activist Qiyun Woo, better-known as she who runs the funky climate science communication Instagram account The Weird and Wild, spoke up then. 

She highlighted how local companies don’t always produce their goods locally, and that regulators should consider measures for managing carbon emissions “not visible on our shores”. 

Source: Grace Fu / Facebook 

Another response? From none other than Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu. She shared while Singapore accounts for 0.1 per cent of global carbon emissions, we do get affected by what happens in the rest of the world, and that she would do her best to keep the green transition on the global agenda. 

At Session 4 on “Enhancing Health and Support for Families”, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli and Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah were present.  

There, they candidly discussed with youth participants discussed the challenges facing Singapore’s families — housing stressors, the rising cost of living, caregiving duties and whatever else affects work-life balance in these busy 2020s. 

Source: National Youth Council / Facebook

The PAP government’s desire to do more for paternity leave was just one takeaway from that Dialogue. 

Minister Ong shared with youth that leave entitlements need to evolve alongside gender roles, and that more needs to be done for ensuring gender equality. 

Youth are the stewards of Singapore’s future 

These National Youth Dialogues have been a conduit to surface the very real concerns and aspirations of young Singaporeans. They have been held for a year now as part of Forward Singapore, which is also about Singaporeans and the PAP co-creating a better nation. 

The most recent dialogue, with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong (and Qiyun Woo once more) on how unity lies at the heart of a cohesive and harmonious community concluded just last week (May 24).  

Source: Edwin Tong / Facebook 

One final dialogue remains, register here if you are interested.  

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