Understanding the importance of addressing youth issues at sub-national level, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka, through its ‘Youth Provincial Policy Programme’, has facilitated a series of consultations with key stakeholders from the Government, private sector, development sector, academics, civil society, and most importantly, with youth themselves, UNFPA said today.
Four consultations have already been completed in the North, East, South, and Sabaragamuwa provinces, which has resulted in Provincial-level Youth Policies being drafted for the Northern and Eastern provinces. The programme aims to facilitate the drafting process of Provincial-Level Youth Policies in all 9 provinces in Sri Lanka.
Over a quarter of the population in Sri Lanka consist of youth aged between 15 – 29 years. While youth comprise a significant proportion of the population, barriers exist in participation of young people in decision-making. While significant steps have beentaken by the Government to ensure inclusive development of youth at a national-level, the post-war context in Sri Lanka imposes unique challenges among youth at a provincial-level.
The Youth4Youth programme is an initiative led by youth for youth, to provide a platform for young people to foster strategic public-private partnerships and to be active community leaders in nurturing lasting peace. The Youth4Youth programme bridges young people from the Northern, Eastern, Southern, and Central Provinces in Sri Lanka, through a series of regional symposiums that lead up to a national symposium to take place in 2018.
The first regional symposium held in Anuradhapura from 27-30 November 2017, brought together 100 young people from the Northern Province. During the 4-day residency, the young participants shared inputs to feed into the Northern Provincial Youth Policy, engaged with leaders from the corporate sector, as well as debated on topics relating to health and wellbeing and employment. The Youth4Youth online platform was also launched, encouraging youth to use this platform to continue the engagement and discussions in driving social change and community leaders, with youth from across the island.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Ritsu Nacken, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka, said: “The role of youth in peacebuilding is often understated. Young people play a huge role in driving social change and in designing the future of our world. UNFPA is proud to be at the forefront engaging youth in peacebuilding in Sri Lanka, as we strive to deliver a world where every young person’s potential is fulfilled. This includes ensuring youth are at the center in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in leaving no one behind.”
The Youth4Youth programme is delivered by UNFPA, in partnership with UN Volunteers, and is supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.