In the week of 24 April 2016, Nepal marked an important moment. It was the first anniversary of the great earthquake. To turn the page with forward-looking consultations, UN-Habitat hosted two urban youth discussions on the critical questions of “equity and youth development” in Kathmandu. A wide range of youth groups supported UN-Habitat to put together the two workshops. The result was an impressive output from youth participants.
UN-Habitat will publish the results as part of the Global State of Urban Youth Report 2015/16 later this year.
Young people were at the frontlines of relief work in the wake of the quake in 2015. They applied volunteerism and skills to do many post-disaster tasks, like distributing aid materials, building temporary shelters, and creating open-source maps of the affected areas. The images and videos of such youth volunteers flooded local and global media reports on Nepal Earthquake. In other words, the youth proved that they were resilient in post-disaster Nepal.
Needs have shifted from recovery to reconstruction and development A year on, however, the story of Nepal earthquake is more complex. The needs have shifted from recovery to reconstruction and development. Where are the same Nepali youths now? How do they feel about their own role in the reconstruction process as well as the country’s long-term development? And what about the state of equity among young women and men in Nepal’s rapidly urbanizing society? These were the questions asked in the Kathmandu events this week.
The week kicked off with over 50 young Kathmandu citizens debating youth’s role in Nepal Earthquake reconstruction at a special session hosted by UN-Habitat, during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) South Asia meeting, a joint initiative by Global Peace Foundation and UN ESCAP, 23-24 April 2016. Local youths aged 18-24 expressed frank opinions about the ongoing reconstruction process, and the related employment and social issues. Among other issues, participants argued that reconstruction needed to provide more jobs and skills development for local youths. If actively engaged, Kathmandu’s young population had much to offer. “We the youth are opportunity creators, not