Kathmandu, March 24
The “SAARC Regional Dialogue on Promoting Youth Participation in the Implementation of SDGs” formally began in Kathmandu today.
This is the first time Nepal is hosting the SAARC-level event aimed at promoting youth participation in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.
Youth representatives and government stakeholders from all eight SAARC member states are participating in the event 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 and technical and financial support from United Nations Population Fund.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Minister for Youth and Sports Satya Narayan Mandal said, “We are delighted to host the SAARC Youth Dialogue in Nepal.
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 at the Ministry of Youth and Sports; Madhav Prasad Dhungel, vice-chairperson of the National Youth Council; Fathimath Najwa, director of Social Affairs at the SAARC Secretariat; Lubna Baqi, deputy regional director, UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office; and delegates from SAARC member states.
A total of 19 youth and 13 government representatives from SAARC member states are participating in the two-day regional event.
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.
A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.