The next frontier
- Youths should voice their opinions on the Post-2015 development agenda
May 10, 2014-As our Southern neighbour is in the midst of elections, many children, adolescents and youths globally are also busy promoting the importance of votes. But this initiative does not involve political parties.
When the world came together in 2000 and aspired to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it marked the beginning of a new era. These days, the MDGs are back in the limelight because they are about to expire and the world is again looking forward to the post-2015 development agenda. The UN agencies, development organisations and civil society are discussing and consulting with the people to find out their issues, strategies and ideas for post-2015. But on discussing with many youths I found that many of them are not aware of the MDGs and some only know of it as they are about to expire. Most youths are not aware about the goals which have a large impact in their own life.
To dig in and prioritise the issues and development agenda after 2015, a global online voting initiative called My World (www.myworld2015.org) was started where anyone can vote--and also engage in group discussions and consultations on things that are happening and that have happened. We all know that if an issue has a global impact, huge amount resources are allocated for it and if we do not vote then we might not be able to get support. I am not saying we should vote so that we get money from INGOs or UN agencies. As a Nepali youth, I would love to see my country independent but we should not forget that we need support as well. The amount we are getting from development partners has brought some changes in the lives of many Nepalis though the issues of transparency and its real impact is still a matter for discussion.
Coming back to the point, this is the very first time the United Nations is allowing people to have a direct say in shaping a better world. Today around 1.7 million have already voted for the world they want. The UN is aiming for more votes because each votes counts, and the more people we have, the stronger our cause will become and the more pressure we can create. Globally, to emphasise the importance of voting and to collect more votes, My World has decided to celebrate Global Action Week with an aim to collect 500,000 additional votes from May 5-11, 2014. As you are reading this, many youths around the world are discussing the world they want in Sri Lanka at the World Youth Conference. Many children, adolescents and youths are claiming their rights through voting in different parts of the world and different parts of our country.
According to the 2011 census, there are 6.4 million adolescents aged 10-19, they comprise about 24 percent of the total population of Nepal. The youth population aged 15-24 years is 5.3 million or 20 percent of the total population. Our government defines youth as people aged between 16-40, and according to the Central Bureau of Statistics the total population of youth in Nepal is 8.9 million. Nepal has a youth bulge so the views of our generation can play a vital role both at the national and global level.
Nepal has already launched the Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter for the Post-2015 Agenda on September 9, 2013, in which around 500 adolescents and youths from 16 districts were consulted. During the South Asia Youth Conference held in Kathmandu last December, 70 youths from South Asian Countries including Malaysia and Germany (as an observer) came together to discuss their regional priorities. After that, on December 28-29, the Association of Youth Organisations of Nepal in coordination with Ministry of Youth and Sports and other agencies organised the National Youth Assembly in which more than 150 youths from 53 districts got together and discussed various issues. The Ministry of Women Children, SOS and the Social Welfare Board also organised the MDG and Children in Nepal consultation. Similarly, many child and youth rights-based organisations are currently doing a great job in collecting the views of Nepali children and youths.
If we effectively promote these documents that we came up with in these conferences and programmes in the global platform we could make an impact. Two things can be done. First, we can link whatever we have been doing or planning to do with the post-2015 discussion. If we observe the findings of the above-mentioned documents we can understand that the current generation is looking for equality, meaningful participation, employment opportunities, quality and skilful education and also concerned about climate change.
The 13,486 people who filled the 'My Ballot' from Nepal state their major priorities as better education, job opportunities, better healthcare, honest and responsive government and economic support for those who cannot work. This is not an end; we still have the chance to put forth our views. We can do lots of things in order to collect the views and make them heard. First, we can vote through the internet, use your social media (Facebook, Twitter) to promote this campaign and encourage people to voice their opinion. We can also organise discussions and interactions at the local level, in schools, colleges, or offices about the MDG and the post-2015 development agenda. Let us come together and make our voices heard on the matters which concern us and impact our lives. If we do not speak-up then they will never understand our issues and we will not be heard. Let them know we have a voice and that they must listen to us.
Thakuri is associated with Yuwalaya and advocates the voice of children
and youths in post-2015 development agenda
Published: 11-05-2014 08:05