Sept 7 2019
DHAKA: Regional NGO Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) is organising the ‘Asia Regional Youth Festival 2019: Building the Next Generation Movement for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, next week to empower young people in Asia to hold governments accountable to international human rights commitments.
The Asia Regional Youth Festival will be launched by Deputy Minister of Women Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan, Deputy Minister of Education, Teo Nie Ching, and Sivananthi Thanenthiran, ARROW’s Executive Director, on September 12 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said a press release Saturday (September 7).
The festival will see young people, youth advocates and activists from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar.
“Our region –Asia Pacific – is home to the largest number of young people globally, about 700 million,” said Sivananthi Thananthiran.
“Adolescents and young people in Asia continue to make their transition to adulthood without adequate information, especially on matters of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) adversely affecting their physical, social, emotional health and well-being and development,” she added.
Progress in our region should follow the path set by the 2030 agenda of sustainable development, comprising of 17 SDGs and 169 targets, and countries have committed to implementing the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA) and Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (Beijing PoA).
The SDGs refer to the ICPD PoA and the Beijing PoA, both of which have become synonymous with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. And they are integral to tackling challenges related to human rights, gender equality, freedom from discrimination, population and quality of life, urbanisation and migration and most importantly, sexual and reproductive health of all, particularly women and young people.
“While there has been some progress especially on maternal health, education and overall life expectancy, our region is still quite far off its mark in achieving the SDGs, and these affect the youth of our region,” added Sivananthi Thanenthiran.
“ARROW has been working with young people and youth-led organisations, addressing SRHR issues and the festival will build on our previous years’ work. Our objective is to further empower youth advocates and activists to become SRHR champions, who will powerfully demand for gender equality, meaningful and inclusive youth participation, universal access to quality health and education, access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, and elimination of traditional harmful practices and discrimination,” she said.
The three day festival, which will run from September 11-13, will have trainings, workshops, group discussions and leadership trainings. It will also provide creative spaces so young people can express their ideas on SRHR through art exhibitions, poetry slamming and music.