At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), the Youth Constituency statement was presented during the Review of the Implementation of the Regional Roadmap for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (Agenda Item 3, session 6). The statement was distilled from the proceedings of the Pre-APFSD Youth Forum (23-24 March) and was delivered by the Youth Forum participant Reshma Thapa on behalf of ARROW and APRCEM Youth Constituency.
Excellencies, distinguished guests, fellow civil society members. Namaste! I am making this statement on behalf of Youth Constituency of the Asia Pacific CSO Regional Engagement Mechanism (AP RCEM).
I come from Nepal where food insecurity, low basic education completion rate, lack of social infrastructures, increased vulnerabilities to climate change related disasters, lack of decent employment even for educated youth, systemic barriers in implementation of SRHR laws, and deeply rooted gender inequality remain widespread. In the preparatory Youth Forum, which was held earlier last week prior to APFSD, young people from across the Asia Pacific region echoed these concerns. This was further resonated by women, workers, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous people, migrants, people with disabilities and people living with and affected by HIV, and LGBTIs at the Asia Pacific People’s Forum on Sustainable Development preceding this meeting.
The regional roadmap adopted by member states have recognized the needs to go beyond the business-as-usual policies which we applaud. However, still missing within the roadmap is a means to address and overcome systemic and structural barriers and inequalities, in the physical, ecological, economic, cultural and social dimensions, through a holistic frame, and should be centered around human rights, gender equality, equity, social inclusion and justice, and youth empowerment. The roadmap also ignores the importance of SDGs reporting mechanisms, including VNRs, to ensure that review and monitoring is wholesome and truly comprehensive. We urge you to bring together different sectors, alliances and government ministries, and engage the local communities at all levels to ensure cross-sectoral coherence in the policies and programmes, domestication of the indicators, efficient and transparent monitoring and accountability mechanisms and disaggregated data on a priority basis, and a truly transformative agenda for just, sustainable, resilient and inclusive development in the Asia and the Pacific. We also urge you to address structural challenges, including the lack of public financing and allocation of budgets at national levels. As someone from a least developing country, we are acutely aware of the needs to raise public financing for the SDGs implementation, we call upon member states to revitalize the discussion of the regional tax body in the region, one that can curb illicit financial flows and the race to the bottom tax incentives, redistribute wealth and free up resources, to actually implement, the 2030 Agenda. ,
Lastly, we would like to reiterate that youth constitute the largest population of the region, and in order to start a truly meaningfully discourse on sustainable, resilient and inclusive Asia Pacific, we urge you to invest in youth-led and youth-serving CSOs and young people’s movements in order to prepare them with all the needed capacities and opportunities to meaningfully engage with national, regional, and global SDG implementation, and follow up and review mechanisms, to make progress towards holistic and rights-based sustainable development.
Thank you very much.