Youth and Policy

Three out of every four people in Bangladesh are below 40 years of age which indicates Bangladesh is enjoying ‘Demographic Dividend’. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the total youth population of Bangladesh is about 52 million; that is more than 33% of the total population. Consequently, the comprehensive socio-economic development of this particular cohort is an important concern. Youth development agendas are to be addressed pragmatically in the policy document.  Reaping the demographic dividend is inextricably linked to the development and empowerment of young men and women. Strategic and visionary policy initiatives pave the way in reaping demographic dividend and leading Bangladesh towards a developed nation.

The first national youth policy was formulated in 2003. Over time that policy required revision to respond to the changing needs and priorities. Centre for Research and Information (CRI), in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Department of Youth Development (under the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh) organized the “Workshop on Finalizing National Youth Policy 2016” on 27 July 2016.

The principal objective of the workshop was to collect feedback, opinions, suggestions, and recommendations from key policymakers, stakeholders and experts in the arena of youth development and engagement, to finalize the draft National Youth Policy. In addition, the workshop also provided an opportunity to brainstorm on the next steps which include developing an Action Plan for implementing this policy. The workshop served as an effective forum for the stakeholders to give their opinions directly to the policymakers as regards the draft National Youth Policy.

The event was addressed by, among others Mr Biren Sikder MP (Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Youth and Sports), Mr Zahid Ahsan Russel MP (Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Youth and Sports), Mr Nahim Razzaq MP (Convenor Young Bangla), Mr Kazi Akter Uddin Ahmed (Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports), Ms Advocate Sanjida Khanom MP (Convenor, Youth Development Sub-Committee, Bangladesh Parliament), Mr Sabbir Bin Shams (Executive Director, CRI) and Mr Anwarul Karim (Director General, Department of Youth Development). The workshop was moderated by Barrister Shah Ali Farhad (Senior Analyst, CRI).

The workshop was also attended by Members of the Bangladesh Parliament who are members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Youth Development. Participants, who gave their feedback on the draft, consisted of representatives from various UN organizations, international and national NGOs, development wings of foreign missions, youth organizations, youth achievers and youth representatives

The young population as a special group is entitled to special attention from different public and private sectors. The Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) cannot solely assure cohesive youth empowerment and development. In addition, proactive commitment and active cooperation among public sectors, private sectors, youth communities, civil society organizations, and the media are crucial for youth empowerment and development.