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On December 5, 2014, UNFPA Cambodia Representative, Dr. Derveeuw Marc G.L. met with the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, HE Hang Chuon Naron to officially launch the State of World Population (SWOP) 2014 report. Cambodia has a population of 4.7 million youth aged 10-24 years old, who make up two thirds of all Cambodians. This makes Cambodia one of the most youthful countries in the South East Asia region.

During the launch, key issues from the report were discussed in relation to the Cambodian context. In particular, investments in young people's education, health, and employment were considered. The UNFPA Representative reinforced the conclusions from the report, stating that investing in youth can propel sustainable socio-economic development for Cambodia. It was emphasized that meeting the needs and aspirations of young people and enabling them to be empowered and enjoy their rights will define Cambodia's future.

As the SWOP report reveals, Cambodia is in the early stages of a demographic shift where a growing youth population with declining mortality and fertility rates is opening a window of opportunity for a demographic dividend. The size of the dividend depends largely on how Cambodia will invest in young people to realize their full potential. With greater investment in the capacity of young people, giving them access to education, employment, and health including sexual and reproductive health, they will be able to seize the opportunity and will play an active role in driving social and economic development of the country.

At the launch, the Minister of Education, Youth, and Sports, HE Hang Chuon Naron adeptly linked several key issues from the report to the Cambodian context; seeing the report as a useful resource to guide and drive youth development initiatives ongoing in the country. As the National Youth Action Plan for the implementation on the National Policy on Cambodia Youth Development is in its final stages of development, the SWOP report is viewed a tool to drive youth oriented action in 2015. Making critical links between reforming the quality of education; increasing skills development, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities; and focusing on health including comprehensive sexuality education in schools, the Minister upheld the report as providing important information to back up and reinforce efforts for youth development in Cambodia.

In reinforcing key messages from the report, the UNFPA Cambodia Country Office issued an Op-Ed through a local leading newspaper on the same day