A youth conference will take place in Bangladesh to create awareness among the youth on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations and their implementation by 2030.
The event also aims at providing a platform for the youth to showcase and explore their aspirations related to the country's development.
Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh will organise the daylong programme at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh in Dhaka on October 14.
The announcement came from the officials of the platform of citizens, 80 non-government and private sector organisations, at a press briefing at Cirdap auditorium in the capital yesterday.
“Youth cohort is the major beneficiaries and stakeholders of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the other development aspirations,” Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of the platform, said at the press meeting.
“Today's youth will be in the leadership role in the next 10-15 years. So, it is important to make them aware of the SDGs to ensure their increased participation in the implementation process.”
Iftekharuzzaman and Shaheen Anam, core group members of the platform, also spoke.
Students, representatives from various youth organisations across the country, policymakers, political leaders, government officials, academicians, citizens and representatives from private sector and business community are expected to attend the conference.
Bangladesh is on the way to achieve the SDGs and the 2030 agenda identifies youth as one of the vulnerable groups, which at the same time have the potential to arise as the driving force of any development approach, according to the platform.
More than 10 goals of the SDGs are directly related to the youth. The World Programme of Action for Youth by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs identified 86 indicators, among the 232 of the SDGs.
These 86 indicators are relevant and will provide information on the development of the youth, the platform said.
One in every three persons in Bangladesh is youth today and they represent about 3 crore out of the total 10.5 crore voters, said Bhattacharya, also the distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
The national election is nearing and political parties and leaders should know about the dreams and aspiration of the country's youth on the eve of the polls, he said. About 37.8 percent of the country's working age population of 10 crore are youth, the platform noted.
Besides, the youth account for 29 percent of the total labour force and 29.5 percent of the total employed population.
Moreover, 1.23 crore of the youth population are involved neither in employment nor in education and training, the platform said citing Labour Force Survey 2016-17 of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
The youth are still experiencing discrimination, limited political inclusion, poverty, limited access to quality education, decent jobs, proper health systems and sanitation.
“Most importantly, they are not completely aware of their rights, opportunities and responsibilities. These challenges need to be addressed to smoothen the SDG journey,” according to the platform.
Today's youth will be the beneficiaries if the SDGs are attained, said Iftekharuzzaman, also the executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh.
“If the targets are not achieved, they will have to face the negative impact. For this, the youth should be in the forefront of SDG implementation.”
He said the nation is hostage to bad political culture and all have to take responsibility to come out of the culture.
Shaheen Anam, also the executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, said youths are given priority for the conference as they can lead the nation to make Bangladesh a discrimination-free country, where all will be able to exercise rights and have dignity.
To mark the youth conference, the platform launches photography and short films competition for youths and plans to open an e-library.