Following the adoption of the landmark Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will serve as the guiding framework for each country’s development between now and 2030, the Government of Nepal hosted its first ever SAARC-level event aimed at promoting youth participation in the implementation of SDGs.
The “SAARC Regional Dialogue on Promoting Youth Participation in the Implementation of SDGs” that formally started today (24 March 2016) has brought together young representatives from the governments of all eight SAARC Member States and government stakeholders to explore ways and means to promote effective youth engagement mechanisms at national and sub-national levels in South Asia.
The SAARC dialogue is hosted by the Government of Nepal in collaboration with the SAARC Secretariat,with technical and financial support fromUnited Nations Population Fund(UNFPA).
“We are delighted to host the SAARC Youth Dialogue in Nepal,” said Nepal’s Minister for Youth and Sports Satya Narayan Mandal addressing the inaugural ceremony. “Youth in the SAARC region have similar problems, opportunities and challenges. Poverty and youth unemployment in particular are noted as significant challenges. These problems can be solved through the development of youth skills, entrepreneurship, leadership, and also by increasing youth participation.”
Other officials attending the opening ceremony included Laxman Prasad Mainali, Secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sports;Mr. Madhav Prasad Dhungel, Vice-Chairperson of the National Youth Council;FathimathNajwa,Director of Social Affairs at the SAARC Secretariat;LubnaBaqi Deputy Regional Director,UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office; and delegates from the SAARC Member States.
A total of 19 youth and 13 government representatives from SAARC Member States are participating in the two-day Regional Dialogue.
The main objective of the event is to share best practices and experiences across SAARC countries in policy development and involve young people in this process. The gathering will make recommendations on future plans and strategies to strengthen youth participation within SAARC countries in achieving the SDGs.
Yesterday, March 23, saw a workshop with the youth representatives from each of the SAARC Member States discussing meaningful youth participation in the development and implementation of policies and programmes at national and sub-national levels to implement the SDGs.