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Global Goals Week Celebrated in Nepal with Youth

The present COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse decades of progress in all sectors including education. The Global Goals Week (18-26 September) is designed to bring together people—from leaders to regular citizens—to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In Nepal, Youth Advocacy Nepal, in partnership with UNESCO, UNV, ActionAid Nepal, the European Union, and Nepal Youth Council under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, organized a series of virtual events that brought together youth leaders all around the world.

More than 200 youth leaders participated in the high-level dialogue "SDG4 Education 2030 Nepal National Framework: Challenges and Opportunities,” organized on 24 September.

 “The 17 SDGs were adopted in 2015 to ensure that all people can live in peace and prosperity, leaving no one behind. Unfortunately, the world is confronting the COVID-19 pandemic which affects all aspects of human life, putting the education sector also into jeopardy,” said Balaram Timalsina, Chief of the Education Unit in UNESCO Kathmandu Office. While appreciating the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology’s effort to develop a framework that is aligned with the global and regional frameworks and national education policy and plans, he urged the Ministry to focus on its implementation, with an adequate budget and resources.

The dialogue highlighted the need for building the capacities of teachers and educators, and the importance of their roles in order to achieve the stated goals.  Prof. Dr. Basu Dev Kafle was critical that this framework has not focused much on higher education. He said, “Although this framework talks about education as a right, the annual budget has to be increased to fully implement the vision of this document.” In his remarks, Deepak Sharma, Spokesperson at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology explained that the document is aligned with constitutional provisions, international declarations, and the government’s commitment. “With this guiding framework, local and provincial governments should develop their own action plans to achieve SDG4 targets by 2030,” he said.

In another dialogue, "Localization of SDGs and Role of Young People," young leaders from Nepal shared their experiences and opinions regarding how they can help spread awareness about SDGs in their local areas. The dialogue emphasized that plans, design, programs, and projects should be supported by data and research that helps to reach needy and marginalized people. They are equally emphatic about the crucial need for advocacy and activities in order to end inequalities.

Dr. Min Bahadur Shahi, chief guest of the event and member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) shared that in order to achieve SDGs, the NPC has adopted multi-stakeholders' consultations and prepared SDG progress status and road map. Emphasizing the need for the involvement of young people in every stage of the process, he said, "Youth are constructive critical builders and NPC always remains open to their opinions."    

More than 175 youth from different countries participated in another event, “Global Youth Meetup,” organized on 26 September in the presence of the Hon’ble Minister for Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, Parbat Gurung. Young speakers shared their experiences and the work they are doing towards achieving the 17 goals. Expressing his appreciation for the efforts made by the youth, Dr. Baburam Dhungana, Administrative Chief at the National Youth Council said, "Youth leadership must be recognized and the National Youth Council is practicing youth involvement and welcomes partnership with young people."

The global meetup was an excellent platform to learn from each other's experiences. In his closing remarks, the Honorable Minister said, “The steering committee, under the leadership of the President of NPC and the thematic committee, have initiated strategies like SDG status, road map, and budget system. All have played their roles; however, COVID-19 affected much of the progress made in SDGs.” “In my view, young people are the agents of change, and if they are given a chance, we will surely achieve the SDG targets. The Government of Nepal is highly committed to achieving the SDGs,” he added.