Kathmandu/Nepal recognizes citizens between the age group of 16 to 40 years as youth. Realizing the need for positive and creative contribution of the youth in the overall development and progress of the nation, Nepal has established foundation for youth rights through various National and International commitments and legal provisions like Sustainable Development Goals (2016 (2030), Constitution of Nepal, 2015, Fifteenth Plan, National Youth Policy 2072, National Youth Council Act 2072, National Youth Council Regulations 2073, Youth Vision 2025 , Ten-Year Strategic Plan, etc. and so on. The government of Nepal National Youth Council (NYC) has initiated Youth Friendly Local Governance (YFLG) campaign to ensure the effective implementation of these provisions for the establishment of youth rights in the country.
YFLG isa strategic frameworkthat incorporates the concerns of youths in the local governance system to operate with the active participation, involvement and cooperation of the youth. It is highly essential to promote YFLG concept for implementing theresponsibilities and rights given to the local government by the Local Government Operation Act, 2074, the five pillars of the Youth Vision, 2025 and Ten-year strategic plan namely; quality and vocational education, employment, entrepreneurship and skill development, health and social protection, youth mobilizationand participation, and leadership development and sports and entertainment.
This year, NYC jointly with Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal (Jcycn), and support of UNICEF and UNDP revised the YFLG Guideline, 2075 through virtual engagement of more than 180 stakeholders and youth of various backgrounds. The revised YFLG guideline provisions 7 strategies, 46 approaches, 45 indicators and 4 steps for adoption, implementation and declaration of YFLG at local level. They can be localized as per local need, importance and demand. In addition, a YFLG training Manual was prepared with the engagement of more than 200 youth and stakeholders for kicking off YFLG pilot program in the country. Seven Local Governments were selected for the implementation of YFLG pilot project including Rautamai Rural Municipality, Udayapur (Province no. 1), Kanchanrup Municipality, Saptari (Madhesh province), Madi Municipality, Chitwan(Bagmati province), KawasotiMunicipality,Nawalpur(Gandaki province), Tilottama Municipality, Rupandehi (Lumbini Province), Mahabu Rural Municipality, Dailekh(Karnali province) and Dashrathchand Municipality (Baitadi). Three days capacity building program was conducted in these selected local governments reaching more than 300 stakeholders including Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chief Administrative Officers, section officers, youths from private sectors, conflict affected youths, Sexual and Gender Minority youths, youths with disabilities, farmers, and so on. These pilot trainings have kindled YFLG momentum in the selected areas, and the stakeholders have provided complete ownership and commitment to contribute for the promotion of YFLG program realizing the contemporary need of YFLG intervention in the local governments. A support committee was formed for the continuation of YFLG campaign, and commitment letter was signed by the participants at the end of each of these trainings. Specific workplan has also been prepared at all selected seven Local Governments for the further intervention on YFLG agenda. Representatives of National Youth Council including Mr. Ramakanta Sharma (Administrative Chief), Ms. Chanda Thapa (Under Secretary) and Ms. Rajkumari Khatri (Officer) participated in pilot trainings at various local governments. Mr. BishnuKhatri,YFLG expert, Ms. Meena Sharma, GESI expert and Mr. Dipesh Ghimire, Associate Professor facilitated the trainings at various provinces. Ms. Binita Karki from UNDP and Ms. MachikoKatigawa from UNICEF provided technical support for ensuring quality and timely intervention.
Speaking at the review, reflection and way forward of the YFLG pilot program conducted on 11 August 2022 commemorating the International Youth Day, 2022, the Vice-Chair of National Youth Council Mr. Surendra Basnet said that YFLG is highly relevant in today’s context for ensuring the meaningful engagement of youth in the policy making process. Stating that the current effort is inadequate for real change, he stressed on the need of additional contribution andexpressed commitment for continuous promotion of YFLG campaign. Similarly, UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. AyshanieLabe emphasized the need to promote youth-friendly local governance by strengthening behavior, intergenerational solidarity, unity and interaction and expressed commitmentfor promotion of YFLG on behalf of UNDP. Ms.Usha Mishra, deputy representative of UNICEF, said that large investment in youth and children at the present time is essential to balance the increased number of senior citizens in the near future. Mr. TilottamPaudel, president of Jcycn and executive member of NYC said that as the lead implementer of YFLG campaign on behalf of CSOs, Jcycn is committed to seek further resource and continue the YFLG campaign as a sustainable approach to ensuring youth’s rights. Speaking on behalf of the participants of YFLG pilot training, Ms. RejinaGharti Magar stressed the importance of continuation of YFLG campaign in the country with the leadership and ownership of youth. The team leader of YFLG pilot campaign, Ms.Sumikshya Khadka stressed on enhancing competence, increasing creative interventions and ensuring meaningful participation for sustainable adoption of YFLG framework.
With the kick off of YFLG campaign against various burning issues hindering the effective development, platform and opportunities for youth, we can hope that the campaign will continue with the engagement and ownership of all the relevant stakeholders, especially youth.