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National Webinar on Role of Youth in Achieving SDGs

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11th May (Monday), 2020: Youth Council in Action for Nation (YOUTH CAN), a not-for-profit and entirely youth-run organization in Rupandehi, Province 5, Nepal organized the National Webinar on the topic Role of Youth in Achieving SDGs. The National Webinar had the Honourable presence of Mr. Sudip Aryal, Head of Field Office (Province 5 & Gandaki) at UNDP Nepal as the “Special Guest” and Ms. Binita Karki, Youth Program Officer at UNDP Nepal as the “Guest Speaker”. The National Webinar was organized in collaboration/partnership with organizations like IUCN CEC, AIESEC Nepal, BLI, Teach SDGs, and Province 5 Youth Network of National Youth Council, Nepal. Furthermore, this webinar was organized to ensure that youths have a productive time in this lockdown period and learn some informative stuff.

The National Webinar was conducted through Zoom with a formal opening from Mr. Ramu Pandey, Founding President at YOUTH CAN, followed by informative words from Mr. Sudip Aryal, session by Ms. Binita Karki and interactive open discussion platform between guest, speaker, and participants. The program was formally closed by Mr. Kushal Dumre, Vice President at YOUTH CAN being thankful for the Honourable presence of the Special Guest & Guest Speaker and for the effective coordination from Program Supporters & Participants. Throughout the webinar, the organizing team worked with passion to have smooth facilitation and for effective interaction.

The 85+ participants from 27+ Organization/Institution representing 33+ Districts, namely: Sarlahi, Jumla, Gulmi, Bhaktapur, Syangja, Rupandehi, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Dang, Bardiya, Palpa, Kapilvastu, Udayapur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi (West&East), Jhapa, Arghakhanchi, Dhankuta, Rautahat, Parsa, Kanchanpur, Kavrepalanchowk, Dolakha, Makawanpur, Okhaldhunga, Biratnagar, Gorkha, Morang, Kaski, Banke, Dhanusha, Nawalpur & Mahottari who joined the National Webinar where selected from the 101+ applicants on the basis of their response at the registration form. All the participants were actively engaged in the webinar via chat and interaction sessions.

The organizing team believes that all information forwarded by the speaker and guest will help participants to understand the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) well and get aware of their role while taking action. Meanwhile, the webinar stands out as equally informative for the stakeholders who are working to achieve SDGs despite the global crisis due to COVID-19. Some of the important information flowed by Mr. Sudip Aryal & Ms. Binita Karki are:

Mr. Sudip Aryal, Head of Field Office (Province 5 & Gandaki) at UNDP Nepal: He encouraged youths to participate in the planning and policy-making process of the Local/Provincial/Federal Government to ensure issues/concerns of youth are also incorporated in the plan/policies. He also addressed the collaborative approach as the best medium for sustainable development and UNDP is always open to like-minded youths in any sort of ideas and information sharing. He also suggested youths to follow the lockdown fully to help the Government to stop the spread of virus and be productive to innovate to solve the problems caused by pandemic utilizing the problems as opportunities. This is the perfect time for youths to explore their interest and groom their skill/knowledge to be the better version of self after lockdown ends; by accepting the evolving situation of a pandemic as ‘New Normal’ and adapt to it to gradually come out from Fear Zone to Learning Zone and finally in the Growth Zone, he mentioned. He was there to aware youths regarding SDG Localization and their role and responsibilities while volunteering for positive/sustainable social transformation and start it from where ever you are by extending own horizon and empowering others with the use ICTs and technologies available.

Ms. Binita Karki, Youth Program Officer at UNDP Nepal: Starting from the Millennium Development Goals (2001-2015), she explained how the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030) came into existence and its importance. And along with SDGs she also explained about 5Ps which are: People (SDG 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 10), Prosperity (SDG 7, 8, 9,11 & 12), Planet (SDG 13, 14 & 15), , Peace (SDG 16) and Partnership (SDG 17). She also talked about youth issues like Youth & Employment, Youth & Migration, Youth & Participation, Youth & Peacebuilding, and Youth & Resilience. With this talk, she explained the role of individual youth how they can enroll themselves and take action with effective participation at every level. The role of Youths for SDGs are:

  1. Critical Thinker: Youths are the most active population with lots of information and skill in them to be the change maker. And if the youths think critically to address the ongoing issues then it would be an asset in achieving SDGs.
  2. Communicator: Youths can be the bridge between the stakeholders and people/community in need to sort out the issues and challenges exist in the community.
  3. Leader: Youths can be a leader to lead a group of like-minded individuals to take action, advocate, and create awareness at every level.
  4. Innovator: Innovations are the core thing that changed the world from the stone age to present and youths can play a vital role in it by utilizing his/her expertise or knowledge.
  5. Educator: As a young mind it’s their responsibility to share the knowledge and skill among others that they had gain with experience or academics.
  6. Implementer: Youths as the active population, they play a vital role in the volunteering sector to make a difference and implement the plans of Government and stakeholders in the best way possible with effective coordination.

Along with the roles of youths she also mentioned the issues raised by COVID-19 like in Education sector, Rumors (Myths vs Fact), Unemployment/Migration, Disturbance in health services, Mental Health, Gender-based violence, Impact in the most vulnerable people: People with disability, Senior citizens, LGBT Community, Women, and Informal workers. So to tackle this issue she also flowed the role of youths such as:

  1. Fight rumors, spread authentic information
  2. Ensure an effective health system
  3. Support the local government
  4. Advocacy for post-COVID 19 response policy/plan
  5. Monitor youth unemployment and underemployment; take targeted measures during the recovery to promote youth employment and decent work.
  6. Delivery of Education
  7. Ensure basic human rights
  8. Ensure an inclusive social protection system
  9. Youth engagement in the development of health, economic, and social interventions in response to COVID-19 and in its recovery.

Ms. Karki, Youth Program Officer at UNDP Nepal; she also highlighted on UNDP Youth Strategy: Economic Empowerment of Youths, Youth Civic Engagement, and Youth Engagement in Resilience Building. Along with this she also informed youths regarding what UNDP has been doing for youths which are: V4Action online campaign and Series of Webinars to:

  1. Identify problems and hurdles faced by the gender minorities and those socially excluded groups.
  2. Inform respective communities and groups on government services and resources.
  3. Prioritize major social protection issues/problems of respective communities and groups.
  4. Design early and post-recovery program to support GESI.

Lastly, she ended her presentation with a quote “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right” – ZIG ZIGLAR.  At the end of her session, the floor was made open for interaction sessions among guests, speakers, and participants. The questions/queries were related to the advancement of agriculture to minimize the socio-economy crisis after lockdown, how can youths get connected to UN agencies to have a collaborative approach, the direct effect of this pandemic situation to youths, scenario after lockdown, plan & policies of UNDP and how they can coordinate, etc. And to answer these questions participants requested the guest and speaker to give the inputs that could be informative to them and take it as the guidance while taking action for positive social transformation. Despite some technical issues, participants supported the organizing team having passions and maintaining the ground rules of the webinar for an effective learning experience.