Empower youth to achieve SDGs

Speakers tell virtual dialogue

A space has to be created for youth so that they can participate in the country's development policy, said speakers at a virtual dialogue yesterday.

They said youth make up more than a third of the national population and the importance of their roles have been emphasised since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have been envisioned and Agenda 2030 has been adopted around the globe.

The dialogue titled "Accountability for SDG Implementation: Local Perspectives and Youth" was organised by Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh and ActionAid Bangladesh.

Speakers said the experiences of the youth-driven voluntary local reviews (VLR) to promote youth relevant issues have to be examined, reviewed and shared.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener, Citizen's Platform for SDGs, in his speech said among the 122 indicators of SDG, eight are directly focused on youth employment, various injustice, and educational rights.

He emphasised on having disaggregated data and mapping when it comes to empower youth locally. "Though we have been able to increase dialogue and participation of youth, we lag behind on transparency and accountability," he added.

Farah Kabir, country director, ActionAid Bangladesh, in her welcome remark pointed that the tagline of the 2030 Agenda "Leaving No One Behind" is a passive statement. Thereby, inclusion of the entire society should be an important goal that can be done via data and information sharing, capacity building, political commitment and environment, etc.

Though Bangladesh prepared two VNRs (Voluntary National Review -- in 2017 and 2020 -- to assess the implementation status of the SDGs, the youth and marginalised communities were not involved properly, she added.  

"Thereby, VLRs need to be prepared at district, sub-district and community levels, especially with the young men and young women (below the 35 years age group), who were left behind lately due to the pandemic," she said.

In her keynote presentation, Najeeba Mohammed Altaf, a researcher at Citizen's Platform, said rather than solely focusing on skills for employability, youth-based skills training programmes should also involve training to collect data through modern ICT solutions, relevant to protection of youth's wellbeing and rights.

"The youth should be involved beyond passive consultation processes and be encouraged to actively provide inputs to local and national SDG accountability mechanisms," Altaf added.

Md Azharul Islam Khan, director general of Department of Youth Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports, focused on various initiatives taken by the department.

Rashedul Islam, director general of NGO Affairs Bureau, Prime Minister's Office; Dr Ramiz Uddin, head of experimentation, Accelerator Lab, UNDP-Bangladesh; Mahmud Hasan, project officer, Governance Cluster, UNDP, and Ejaj Ahmad, founder and president, Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center, among others, participated in the virtual dialogue.   


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