Experts say young-adults from indigenous soceity are the most neglected and vulnerable group in Bangladesh
Addressing the obstacles faced by the younger generation in Bangladesh, especially from marginalized and indigenous parts of the society, will be a key to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said experts and activists.
Badiul Alam Majumdar, country director of the US-based charity The Hunger Project Bangladesh, said youths from indigenous soceity are the most neglected and vulnerable group in Bangladesh. “They are deprived largely in social, academic, employment and even cultural affairs.”
“In order to reflect and materialize the SDG focus of leaving no one behind, we must focus on diversity, tolerance, pluralism and the atmosphere of acceptance among some major measures, or else, they will not only get derailed but also get involved in extremism in numbers,” he warned.
The statements came up during a conference on Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2020 of Bangladesh: Positioning Non-State Actors, organized by Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, at a hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Chairman Rehman Sobhan said the work being done by the government and non-government organizations (NGOs) for the SDG implementation implies how serious they are.
Through engaging in the process, the government attest to its obstacles and reliance on the NGOs, he said, adding: “But did it formally recognize the role the NGOs are putting in?”
Rehman insisted on much more coordination among the government and non-state actors in attaining the SDG, for which he termed the next five years as highly crucial.
The noted economist suggested the civil society to recognize its role in the process and act as a pressure group, especially on behalf of the marginalized people.
“By assembling data, it can evaluate what has been and needs to be done alongside holding the government accountable for the development activities for the SDG implementation,” he further said.
Shaheen Anam of the citizen’s platform said achieving the SDGs by 2030 does not solely depend on the government’s efforts; rather it is a process that involves all citizens of the country.
“And in doing so, we have to focus more on the theme of the SDGs and the 16th goal, engaging more and more youths in the process,” she opined.
“In the past, we massively neglected the young population despite the latter being our future. We hardly thought of resolving the challenges they face,” Shaheen said.
The young must get assistance and guidance from all since their activities will decide where the country will be heading towards in the future, she said.
Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said the 16th goal of the SDGs may be hampered by politicization within the administration, the judiciary and authorities concerned.
He alleged that the space of civil society in the development process is being gradually shrunk since it is failing to raise its voice and criticize any irregularities in development projects.
“Even the young, in many cases, feel threatened only for dissenting on any graft in the development process, thus, refraining from participating in the dialoge for accountablity,” he said.
KM Abdus Salam, director-general of NGO Affairs Bureau, said the young have nothing to worry about in inclusive growth as the government believes in ensuring development for all.
The event was addressed, among others, by the citizen’s platform Coordinator Anisatul Fatema Yousuf, CPD Distinguished Fellow Mustafizur Rahman, and ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir.