Youth orgs demand inclusion in long-term country development process

Representatives from youth organisations demanded the government to engage the youth community with all development initiatives to pave the way for youths to take the lead of the process of transforming the country into a steady progressing one. 

Dhaka, June 19 (ActionAid Bangladesh) – Representatives from several youth organisations across the country Tuesday demanded the government to engage the youth community with all development initiatives from community to national level to pave the way for youths to take the lead of the process of transforming the country into a steady progressing one.

They made the demand at a press conference titled Safe City for Youth: from Dhaka to RIO+20 held at National Press Club Auditorium. Activista Bangladesh, United Nations Youth & Students Association of Bangladesh (UNYSAB), Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), 1 Degree Initiative, International Youth Council (IYC), Kewokradong Bangladesh organised the press conference protesting government’s indifference to include youth’s voice in the process of formulating the long-term country development plan developed for RIO+20 UN Summit.

Fifteen other youth organisations including Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and Bangladesh Scouts expressed solidarity with the initiative.

“Youth constitutes 31 percent of the country’s total population. But our voice has always been left unheeded despite our immense contribution in the nation building process,” says Nafiz Imtiaz from Activista Bangladesh, the youth network of ActionAid.

“The history of this country can be said as the history of the youth. So, time has come to rethink about transforming youth energy into positive social change and development process rather than politically abusing them,” he further stated.

“Bangladesh, as a country worst affected by climate change, will join the RIO+20 Conference as a member states of United Nations. Bangladesh will present its long-term country development plan and also will demand compensation from the developed countries for the damage caused to them by climate change,” said Afeef Ahmed from ActionAid Bangladesh.

They alleged that despite repeated request by the experts and the civil society, the government kept its entire strategic plan related to the RIO+ summit confined within a limited group. Even the consultation process performed during finalision of the position paper was strictly kept limited debarring participation of the concerned groups. As a result, voice of the youth community has completely been ignored in the Bangladesh position paper.

The youth representatives came up with a 17-point demand on six areas. The key demands include: ensuring due opportunity for youth participation in the Disaster Risk Reduction Committees at Union Parishad to make the collective effort coherent to better respond to disaster and also lessen disaster risk; making first-aid and rescue training in all schools and colleges mandatory and also engaging the local youth clubs with the training programme; ensure wider access of youth smallholder farmers to agricultural training and extension services and also ensure their direct entrance to the market to make sure they get fair prices for their goods; incorporating agricultural studies with clear instruction on cultivation and preservation in the primary and secondary level national curriculum to make sure the rural youths receive the agricultural knowledge properly.

"Our demands are not only important for the Rio+20 Conference. These are the burning issues of this nation. We will continue our efforts to address this issues at a larger scale," said Subir Das from Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)

"Media should support initiatives from the young minds and help them to reach not only the policymakers but also our large young community."

Editors' notes


For further contact

Tanveer Ahmed Khan

Deputy Manager, Communication Unit

Governance and Communication Department

ActionAid Bangladesh