The second preparatory Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) Youth Forum took place from March 23-24 in Thailand, Bangkok. Organised by the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) and the Youth Constituency of Asia-Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)- YouthLEAD, the youth forum preceded the main conference held from March 28-30.
The APFSD Youth forum is a platform that brings the global youth agenda to the centre by engaging with young people in the Asia-Pacific region who are faced with a myriad of intersecting challenges and concerns. The theme of the forum, “Transformations for Sustainable and Resilient Societies: Young People are Integral to the Agenda 2030” focussed on collaborative, multidisciplinary, intersectional, and participatory approach from more than 75 student activists, youth leaders, and young advocates who come from the diverse youth-led and youth-focused spaces across the region.
The QKnit has had great honour in engaging around the capacity and advocacy with ARROW at the Youth Forum. Based on the call for participants, Vivek D’souza, Advocacy and Policy coordinator was selected to represent The QKnit in Bangkok. The QKnit shared the space with a number of youth-led movements like The YP Foundation, Pravah - India, YPEER, The United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board, Right Here Right Now, and other civil society groups.
The Qknit got to engage in a much larger role during the two-day youth forum through advocacy and capacity building sessions by providing policy inputs and recommendations on several critical thematic areas of Health, Sanitation, Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights (SRHR), Education, and Gender Equality in the context of the sustainable development goals. The need for an inclusive and youth-focussed dialogue became apparent based on the social realities and lived experiences of young people at the local level. Although such global processes can be very complex in understanding, the QKnit played a significant role in taking the youth conversation ahead and addressing issues of climate change and financing that impact young people who identify across the sexual and gender spectrum.
Vivek D’souza was a panellist for a session titled “Poverty, Ending Hunger, and Revitalising the Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development where he addressed the participants on the politics, policies of global development agendas and its impact people at the local level. He talked about the defining and redefining of ‘partnerships’ citing India’s experiences with development and its historical trajectory and addressed the narratives of development in the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, Vivek also spoke about the dilemmas arising out of critical development policies that impact local policy measures.
During the world cafe, the participants provided critical recommendations and formulated a ‘Call to Action’ policy document which translates important youth concerns which will be used to advocacy and lobby with government officials and other stakeholders during the main APFSD conference. The goal now is to ensure that all of the work that has been done to promote a just, transformative, and inclusive development agenda, is translated into development on the ground for all people everywhere.