A policy level dialogue on “Youth Participation on Disaster Management” was held in Tripureshwor at National Youth Council (NYC) on 13th May 2018. The program was organized by Jagriti Child and Youth Concern Nepal (JCYCN), Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative (HAMI) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Studio. The chief guest of the program was Hon. Member of National Planning Commission (NPC) Mr. Min Bahadur Shahi. Mr. Tilottam Paudel of JCYCN was the chairperson of the program. The program was hosted by Mr. Niraj Neupane of SDG studio. Besides, there were other distinguished personalities and representatives of many respected fields and organizations. The main theme of the program was to address the involvement/participation of youth during the disaster in the nation.

As we know, Nepal was affected by an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on April 25, 2015, killing nearly 9000 people and leaving nearly 22000 injured. Besides, a huge number of people became homeless. Not only earthquake, Nepal has been suffering from floods and landslides from time to time. Therefore, being prepared beforehand for these kinds of natural calamities is wiser than to lament on the damages. Being prepared can prevent the loss of many lives to a great extent.

In the program, Mr. Bidur Subedi, representative of HAMI talked about the agendas for the youth mobilization. Also, he talked about the involvement of youth in the reconstruction after the earthquake. If there was no youth mobilization, there would be no reconstruction. Mr. Subedi also talked about various youth networks like Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), Youth Advocacy Nepal (YAN), Quick Volunteers, Youth Alliance for Reconstruction, JCYCN, etc. which has been playing an active role in youth mobilization after the earthquake. Mr. Shah further talked about the youth views and initiatives. For example, AYON has been ensuring efficiency and accountability in reconstruction. Similarly, Common Youth Stand Up (CYSU) has been active in the youth-led relief activities. He further talked about the reconstruction policy of 2072. Also, he talked about the rest works and emphasized that there has been no improvement in the heritage sectors after the earthquake.

Mr. Dipesh Ghimire, Assistant Professor of Tribhuvan University talked about the relationship between Disaster and Corruption Management. He talked about the reconstruction work after the earthquake. He further talked about youth vision. Besides, he has a perspective that one youth do not have a good opinion of another youth. If this perspective remains in the society, then it will be difficult for the upcoming generation to progress. He further said that, because of the effective youth mobilization during the earthquake, the relief materials could reach to the needy in time. He meant that, if the youths are to be addressed separately, then it will always lead to a positive outcome. Mr. Ghimire added that the reason the reconstruction work after the earthquake is showing a very little progress is due to the less involvement of the youths. Thus, more youths should be involved in the reconstruction work. Mr. Ghimire suggested that every ward should have a youth club in order to unite the youths. Also, we have to make the youths ready to always be prepared to tackle with the unexpected accidents and natural calamities like earthquake, flood, etc.

Mr. Naren Khatiwada, President of Youth Advocacy Nepal (YAN) had also put his views in the youth participation on disaster management. He also added that youths are not seen in the decision making policy. So youths should be seen active in the decision making policy of the country. Mr. Netra Prasad Subedi, Under Secretary of National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), also had a small talk session in the program. His opinion was, those people, whose home/property was damaged, should be involved in the reconstruction work. Involving the real affected people in the reconstruction work would be more effective. Thus, the reconstruction work should be done in the victim’s initiation to make it more effective.

Mr. MahendraPoudel, Under Secretary of Youth and Sport Ministry, also gave a small speech in the program. He talked about the Youth Vision 2015-2025. He also talked about the participation of youth in disaster management and social development. He further emphasized that every ward should have a high school and a youth club. He further said that it is a tragedy that youths have never been in the priority of the government. The government of Nepal does not have even 1% budget separated for the youths of the country. There are no youth-concentrated policies. Due to this, there is a prevalence of depression, sadness, lack of interest in youth participation and unemployment among the youths of the country. The youths are seeking space for them. It is high time that the government should trust the youths of the country and do the consultation with them.

Similarly, Dhurba Poudel, Under Secretary of National Youth Council said that, without youth, the disaster management is impossible. In order to make youth mobilization more effective, he suggested that there should be a uniform for youths whenever they go for work/action. In the same way, Mr. Giriraj Adhikari, Senior Project Officer of Mercy Corps Nepal said that there are no specific policies for the youths to work. Thus, policies should be made and implemented.Mr. Kamal Subedi, President of National Federation of Youth Network, also talked about youths in disaster management.

Mr. Padam Prasad Khatiwada, Assistant Professor of Tribhuvan University, also gave his opinion in the program. He said that youths are not the ones to be mobilized. If the youths are to be mobilized, then it is understood that there is someone above the youths who are mobilizing them and controlling them. Youths do not need to be mobilized. If given space, they can work effectively.

Mr. Min Bahadur Shahi, Chief Guest of the program also gave his opinion on “Youth Participation on Disaster Management”. He said that the government sectors and non-government sectors have the same responsibilities, their agendas are the same and their target groups are also the same. But, non-government sectors face more challenges than the government sectors. He further assured that the works of non-government sectors will be recognized. The government should create space for the civil society. Mr. Shahi further added that localization of sustainable development goals is necessary. It is necessary that every youth should be engaged in some kind of developmental work.

The program ended with a vote of thanks byMr. Tilottam Paudel, the Chairperson of the program and the President of JCYCN. He talked about the youths in disaster management and reconstruction. Also, he talked about the importance of social media among the youths and how it plays an important role in the effective mobilization of youths during the disaster period. Thus the main aim of the program was to unite the youths of the nation to take active parts in the disaster management from beforehand to post-disaster recovery phase.

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