Social obstacles, inadequacy of digital access hinder inclusion of youths in policy formulation, observe experts
Speakers at a dialogue have suggested that young people participate in decision-making, annual budget planning, education, and in any field related to youths and their future.
They highlighted the need for engaging the young people in Covid-19 pandemic prevention, and their contribution to coping with the crisis.
The representatives of the young people expressed their views on the obstacles and opportunities, and active participation in the decision-making process.
JAAGO Foundation and ActionAid Bangladesh jointly organized the virtual dialogue titled “Dialogue for change: Youth participation in decision making for community development” on Sunday, attended by government officials, civil society members and 24 youth representatives.
Korban Ali, deputy manager of ActionAid Bangladesh, said that gender inequality, cultural and social norms, age, caste, family identity and inadequacy of digital access hindered the inclusion of youths in policy formulation.
Dr Abul Hossein, project director of the Ministry of Women and Children, and Md Aktar Uddin, country coordinator UNV Bangladesh UNDP, observed that participation of the youths in decision-making was essential for achieving the SDG goals.
They emphasized ensuring active participation of the youths both at local and community levels.
About UNDP intervention on inclusion of youths in all platforms, Md Aktar Uddin stated that the UNDP had been working on a national voluntary policy since 2016. “It is currently awaiting final approval.”
Nazmul Ahsan, manager of ActionAid Bangladesh, emphasized on using the power of youths with dignity. Referring to the limitations of youth participation and access to socio-economic structures, he stated that these limitations were further exacerbated by gender diversity.
Junaid Saki, chief coordinator of Gono Songhoti Andolon, said that there was a lack of platforms for engaging the youths in policymaking, while some opportunities had not been used properly. He opined that verbal participation, as well as inclusive participation, was important in policymaking.
Muhaimin Araf, joint secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Mymensingh Medical College unit, said there was a lack of opportunities for the youths to join the organizational platforms.
Tanjim Ferdous, conductor of the dialogue and national consultant of the United Nations Bangladesh's Joint SDG Program, mentioned that more comprehensive steps were needed for youths’ participation in the policymaking process. He referred to the 2003 amendment to the National Youth Policy enacted in 1983 as a right step.