In recent years much international attention has focused on the plight of youth, many of whom live in abject poverty with minimal education and opportunities. Data indicate that almost one in five young persons - 18 percent of the 1 158 million 15 to 24 year olds worldwide - survive on less than US$1 per day while as many as 45 percent live on less than US$2 per day. The situation in Asia and the Pacific region is even graver, especially in rural locations where the majority of the population in the region live.
Against this background, FAO's rural youth programme has the mission to provide rural youth with the tools and support they need to become healthy individuals and take part in the fight against hunger in their communities. However, to be effective, such efforts must be guided by accurate data on rural youth, which are at present lacking in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. It was with this aim that the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific collaborated with local partners, in particular the Lao Youth Union and the FAO Office in Lao People's Democratic Republic, in activities to address this information gap.
In 2005, two complementary activities were implemented: a National workshop on rural youth in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and a case study on Needs and potential for rural youth development in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The report of the national workshop was published last year and is available online,1 while the latter case study has culminated in this report. It is our hope that both reports, together with others by FAO and partners relating to Asia and the Pacific region, will guide and stimulate action within the Lao People's Democratic Republic as well as within the region, together with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, to address the grave situation facing rural youth. FAO will assist within its areas of expertise and resource availability.
Assistant Director-General and
FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific