The political parties of Bangladesh pledged various commitments concerning the youth in their manifestoes for the National Parliamentary Elections 2018. These include, enhancing capacity of the youth, creating sufficient employment opportunities, formulating a policy for youth entrepreneurs, increasing rooms for quality education and research, among others. It is high time for the policymakers to reflect the youth aspirations in the national agenda and implement the election commitments. These views were shared at a dialogue on Electoral Commitments and Youth Agenda on 22 February 2019 in Rangpur.
The event was organised by the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh in collaboration with Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Nagorik Uddyog and Jaago Foundation.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Convenor of the Citizen’s Platform, and Distinguished Fellow, CPD, delivered the keynote presentation at the dialogue. In his presentation, Dr Bhattacharya noted that the youth are the catalytic agent of the development. They have the capacity to identify the challenges faced by society, and contribute towards mitigating such barriers with innovation. The policymakers should act properly to mobilise the youth power towards the sustainable development of the country.
Bangladesh is in its journey to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. As one-third of the population of the country belong to the youth cohort, it is necessary to engage them with the SDGs implementation process. This will require to embed the aspirations and demand of the youth in the development process. The voices of the youth should be heard and counted by the policymakers while devising the national development agenda.
The ruling party had several commitments concerning the youth in their election manifesto. It is time to materialise those commitments by incorporating youth aspirations in national policies, added Dr Bhattacharya.
The Mayor of Rangpur City Corporation Mr Md. Mostafizar Rahman attended the dialogue as Chief Guest. Freedom fighter Mr Akbar Hossain, Member of Central Committee of the Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), and Professor Malay Kishore Bhattacherjee, former Professor of Economics, Carmichael College Rangpur, as Guest of Honour, shared their views on youth development initiates in the country.
Mr Zakir Hossain, Chief Executive, Nagorik Uddyog, delivered welcome speech at the event. The dialogues was chaired by Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Core Group Member of the Citizen’s Platform, and Distinguished Fellow, CPD.
While speaking as the Chief Guest, Mr Md. Mostafizar Rahman committed to take feedback on his work from the people of Rangpur city, especially, from youth and women and also engage with them from time to time. He urged that budgetary allocations should be made considering the area and size of the population, poverty level and employment status of each district. Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya acknowledged Hon’ble Mayor’s pledge for a more just regional budgetary allocation and suggested formation of a local government finance commission to oversee such activity.
Discussions from the floor emphasised on ensuring good governance, especially, reducing corruption in availing public services and legal rights. Participants recommended to promote technical and vocational education and design the education system of the country as per demand in the labour market. Making quality education accessible and creating employment at local level through decentralisation of development was also called for.
The dialogue was attended by youth community from various academic institutions, professionals from non-government and civil society organisations, academia and media among others.