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National Launch of the Post 2015 Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter

The Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter on the Post-2015 agenda was subsequently launched in September in Kathmandu. The launch was coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and chaired by the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha.

UNFPA partnered with UNICEF during the first half of 2013 to carry out a number of consultations in Nepal with young people. The consultations included around 520 young people representing 41 districts (out of a total of 75 districts).

These consultations used a toolkit titled ‘Youth Consultations for a Post-2015 Framework: A Toolkit’ which had been developed by Restless Development and successfully tested before in Nepal and many other countries. The toolkit was translated and adapted into Nepali and a Training of Trainers (TOT) conducted in June 2013 on its use to a group of 22 young facilitators aged 17-25 years to enhance their facilitation and communication skills in order to better engage and garner inputs, views and insights of adolescents and youth.

Ten district-level and 6 regional-level consultations were held between mid-July to mid-August enabling young people to evaluate the successes and challenges of the current Millennium Development Goals.

The participation was fairly even between male (49%) and female (50%) participants. Only a small proportion of participants identified themselves as third gender (1%) (officially recognized by Nepal). Almost 75% of the participants were adolescents from 10-19 years and the remaining 25% were from 20-30 years. Out of 520 participants, 3% considered themselves to have a disability such as a hearing impairment and a handicap and 4% of the participants had children of their own. Fifty-nine per cent were from rural areas and the remaining 41% from urban centres. The participants therefore represented a diverse Nepal not only in age, but sex, ethnicity, socio-economic, religion and geographical backgrounds, including those living with disabilities.

A significant proportion of the participants (75%) are enrolled in formal education and 4% are fully employed, 2% of them are self-employed, 8% of them are seeking jobs and 8% of them are engaged in volunteering activities. The remaining participants chose not to disclose their employment and education status.

The consultations highlighted the top 10 issues that would need to be factored in the Post-2015 agenda as follows:

  • Discrimination
  • Lack of Adolescent and Youth Participation
  •  Inequity
  • Unemployment and Underemployment
  • Lack of Enabling and Protective Environment
  • Corruption
  • Lack of Access to Health Services
  • Access to Quality and Practical Education
  • Environmental Degradation
  • Gender Based Violence

The Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter on the Post-2015 agenda was subsequently launched in September in Kathmandu. The launch was coordinated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and chaired by the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha.

Two young representatives from the consultations officially handed over the Charter to the Vice-Chair of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Honorable Rabindra Kumar Shakya. The handing over ceremony was then followed by special remarks by various government officials.

NPC then gave the Charter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for presentation at the UN General Assembly by the national delegation. The Charter, which represents the voices of Nepali adolescents and youth, is now considered a reference document to be used while drafting policies, development plans and programs that will affect their lives. The delegates who spoke at the Charter launch event have expressed their commitment in incorporating the Charter within their plans and programmes. The Ministry of Youth and Sports has also committed to incorporate the Charter within the National Youth Implementation Plan and pledged their ownership of the Charter.

The full text of the charter is copied below for reference:

Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter for the Post 2015 Agenda

This Nepali Adolescents and Youth Charter for the Post 2015 Framework is an official document, accepted by the Government of Nepal. This serves the purpose of providing a strategic framework and direction for our meaningful participation, empowerment and development activities at local, regional and national levels across Nepal in the upcoming development framework that follows the MDGs beyond the year 2015. According to Nepal’s 2011 Census, there are 6.4 million adolescents aged 10-19. This means we adolescents make up about 24% of the total population, while the youth population aged 15-24 is 5.3 million or 20% of the total population.

We, young people had a series of district and regional consultations among us, which were held in 16 districts namely Kathmandu, Sunsari, Udayapur, Saptari, Sarlahi, Siraha, Baitadi, Dadeldhura, Rolpa, Kapilvastu, Dang, Morang, Parsa, Nepalgunj, Kailali, and Kaski. The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) coordinated this initiative, with technical and financial support from UNFPA and UNICEF. The process was facilitated by Restless Development Nepal and other Civil Society Organizations, which took into consideration provisions and successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Declaration.

Preamble

The MDGs were established in 2000. They set a concise and measurable framework for development. The declaration is due to end in 2015. Over the next two years (2013-14) the international community will be reflecting on the successes and challenges of this global declaration and debating on what will next.

We are young people aged 10 – 24, this charter represents our voices. The consultations were conducted from mid-July – mid August 2013 led by a team of 18 young facilitators. Around 500 of us from more than 41 of Nepal's 75 districts participated in the consultations, representing a microcosm of Nepal regarding diversity not only in age, but the, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic, religious and geographical backgrounds, including adolescents with disability. The consultations allowed us to fully participate and to raise issues that we face at the local level as well as ways of addressing them. It provided us with an opportunity and a platform to share our priorities, agendas with a conviction that our voices would be heard and they could make a difference during the development of the Post-2015 Framework. The new goals, targets and indicators should resonate with what is of most value to us the young generation of Nepal and should in fact be a natural follow-up on the current Vision 2030.

A majority of Nepalese young people continue to face challenges including but not limited to: exclusion in the development processes at local and national levels; lack of social and entrepreneurship skills or quality education; child marriage, poverty and limited access to economic opportunities and meaningful participation.

The successes or opportunities of nationally implementing the post-2015 framework will be driven by young people like us, as the main rights holders of the achievement of the goals. The main purpose of this charter is to contribute to the development of a holistic post MDG framework that is more responsive to the needs of a significant proportion of Nepal’s population – us the young people.

We urge that these recommendations are to feed into the National Report by the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) via the National Planning Commission (NPC).

Definitions

Adolescents: Adolescence is defined as the age group of 10-19 years (UN definition).

Youth: Youth is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood and is defined as being between the ages of 15 years to 24 years (UN definition).

Young People: Young People cover both ‘youth’ and ‘adolescents’ and are therefore, defined as those in the age range of 10-24. However, our national definition of different age groups are not standardized as yet and it might vary from policy to policy.

Article I

Goal:

We hope this charter will amplify our voices to shape up an equitable country and world fit for us through the Post 2015 development framework.

Article II

Our Issues:

We individually identified the issues we felt most needed to change in a Post-2015 world, before voting to reach an overall agreement on ten of the most important ones:

1. Discrimination: We face a variety of discriminatory acts based on various forms of inequalities such as race, caste, class, gender, age and people living with disability and HIV, traditional social malpractices inherent within Nepalese society such as Chhaupadi, Kamalari, Dowry, Child Marriage, Witch allegation, Gender Based Violence; sexual and other forms of abuse and exploitation are still very much prevalent in Nepal.

2. Lack of Adolescent and Youth Participation: We are unable and restricted to fully enjoy our rights to be heard and participate in the decision making process in a meaningful manner. This is applicable in all spheres of our lives from family, community to state level decisions that affect our lives.

3. Inequity: Our country has done a lot of progress in terms of basis service provisioning however, not all our friends and peers have access to the basic services. Disparity and inequity is holding back our progress to make a big difference in Nepal. The quality of education, health and other basic services are also of our great concern.

4. Unemployment and Underemployment: Lack of job creation for us has led a lot of our friends for migration leading to brain drain. Caste and ethnic discrimination are causing barriers to our employment

5. Lack of enabling and protective environment: We do not have an enabling and protective environment, which is compelling us to leave school, restricting our mobility and in general making us vulnerable to abuse, trafficking, child marriage, violence and forced labor. The family, community and the state fail to safeguard our rights to be protected.

6. Corruption: Various corrupt acts such as bribery, culture of impunity, sycophancy, nepotism and favoritism, abuse of authority are inherent within local and national institutions and structures of Nepal affecting the lives of common people and ours too.

7. Lack of Access to Health Services: We have very limited access to health information and quality services, which cater the need of everyone and reach everyone. Many of us are from remote areas of Nepal, unavailability of health professionals in health posts and hospitals of districts and VDCs significantly affects our survival and development rights. In addition to that many of us are deprived from adolescent friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health services and facilities as the coverage is very limited.

8. Access to quality and practical education: Lack of access to education for all, especially the marginalized people, living with disabilities, lack of quality education, value-based moral education and practical, vocational education system, rigid curriculum, lack of age-appropriate textbooks and curriculum especially in regard to Sexual and Reproductive Health education are some of the major challenges we face in Nepal

9. Environmental Degradation: We are very concerned about the wide-spread pollution, deforestation, natural disasters and calamities, exploitation of natural resources, lack of conservation of natural resources and wild species are some of the appalling problems concerning environment.

10. Gender Based Violence: Unfortunately, we Nepali young girls face numerous harmful social norms, imposed on us by families and societies that inhibit our development and realizing our rights. We face various forms of physical, mental and sexual violence. Many of these are stemming from gender stereotypical roles as well as caste and ethnic discrimination.

Article IV

Solutions from us:

We worked together to identify solutions for our priority issues which are as follows:

• Equitable development: Enable people from every social strata (class, caste, race, and religion), gender, sexual orientation including those living with disability, varied health status and marginalized are able to lead lives as equal citizens and exercise equal rights and freedom. Recognize cultural and ethnic diversity and promote minority cultures. Ensure more inclusive socio-economic, political systems and better representation of marginalized groups in decision-making processes and forums.

• Ethical and meaningful participation of young people: Accept us - young people as change agents by ensuring that we are actively and meaningfully participating in the process of development through a rights-based approach, thus fully enable us to exercise our rights to be heard and seen.

• Employment: Promote partnerships with the civil society, invite NGOs and private sector to work along with government to create suitable employment, promote self-employment, entrepreneurship, volunteerism, on the job training opportunities. Invest for building our capacity and ensure we have access to adequate and quality services to pursue decent livelihood.

• Supportive environment: Creation of enabling environment, having evidence-based policies and adequate budgetary allocations for our development; and that legislation and law enforcement support our human rights and not impede them.

• Modernization in agriculture: Nepal is an agro-based country and advancement in traditional farming system is very important. Modern technologies should be introduced for a paradigm shift from subsistence economy to commercialization of farming.

• Good governance: Ensure there is fair representation of all groups and establish programmes to encourage active citizenship and knowledge or rights, agents of governance (media, government) should be held accountable to effective regulatory bodies, decentralize governance structures, including strengthening local and rural governments, to enable equitable distribution of wealth and services.

• Equitable access to quality health services: Provide affordable and quality healthcare for all, with a particular focus on reaching the most marginalized population. Sensitize people to basic health rights as well as roles and responsibilities, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and support for people living with HIV.

• Education for all: Increase access to quality education also invests for expanding numbers and improving quality of education. Invest on teachers’ training and introduce market oriented practical education ultimately leading to employability and sustainable livelihood.

• Environmental Sustainability: Provide environmental education and raise general awareness of sustainability issues such as the promotion of recycling and the use of green technology.