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The State of World Population (SWOP) 2014 report, The Power of 1.8 Billion Youth, Adolescents and the Transformation of their Future, was launched on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at the Novo Turismo Hotel, Dili, Timor-Leste.

Key note speech by the First Lady, Dra. Isabel FerreiraThe report launch included a key note speech by the First Lady of Timor-Leste Dra. Isabel Ferreira and a panel discussion that included Dra. Isabel Ferreira, Ms. Dulce Soares, Vice Minister for pre and basic school, Ministry of Education, Mr. Leovigildo Hornai, President of National Youth Council, Reverend Mr. Daniel Marcal, President of National Aids Commission, Mr. Jacinto Gusmao, General Director of Secretary of State for Training and Employment (SEFOFE), Mr. Lourenco Borges, Director General of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr. Antonio Freitas, Director General of Statistics and Mr. John M. Pile, Representative of UNFPA Timor-Leste.

Panel discussion at the SWOP 2014 launch

According to the SWOP 2014 report, some 120 million young people across the globe reach working age every year while   more than 500 million youth in the world struggle to survive on less than $2 per day. The UNFPA report calls for better and faster implementation of policies to create more jobs and improve young people's employability. It stresses that "with the right policies and investment in human capital, countries can empower young people to drive economic and social development and boost per capita income."

More than 1 billion of these young people live in Asia and the Pacific region, constituting for half of the world's global youth population. Around 38% of Timor-Leste's total population constitutes youth and adolescents between 10 - 24 ages.

Mr. Pile, noted that "A young population can offer a country a huge return, known as a demographic dividend, if the right investments are made at the right time. A demographic dividend can be realized when young people are educated, resources are available for productive investment and levels of poverty are reduced."

"Today's record 1.8 billion young people present an enormous opportunity to transform the future," said UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Ostimehim in the official State of the World press release sent out at the global launch in New York. "Young people are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can transform the future only if they have the skills, health, decision-making powers, and real choices in life."

How we meet the needs and aspirations of young people and enable them to enjoy their rights will define our common future.