16-year-old Dubai girl pitches for gender equality at UN

Staff Reporter/Dubai
Filed on August 14, 2016 | Last updated on August 14, 2016 at 08.29 am

Kehkashan Basu one among 16 invited to attend panel discussion held to mark International Youth Day

A 16-year-old from Dubai pitched for equal opportunities for both boys and girls at a panel discussion held to commemorate the International Youth Day in New York.

The UN Women and UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development organised the first ever panel discussion on “Investing in Young Women’s Leadership for the Implementation of the SDGs”, which was attended by 16 inspiring young women invited from all over the world.

Kehkashan Basu, who is the founder president of youth organisation Green Hope and the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, represented Dubai.

She was also the youngest speaker at this epoch making discussion which sought to highlight the key role of young women in leading the implementation process of the sustainable development goals.

Kehkashan shared initiatives of Green Hope in engaging youth, especially girls, in the sustainable development process.

In her speech, she said: “In order to ensure that women and girls are at the centre of the youth developmental framework, we need to design a gender-responsive climate action plan which strengthens gender equality through climate action.”

She called for region-centric programmes which could take into account local challenges and non-biased approach towards women, especially rural communities.

“It is also important to understand that women and girls do not face the same needs and vulnerabilities in the face of natural disasters and climate change. Thus governments, UN agencies, regional organisations and other stakeholders should build institutional and individual capacity and tools for mainstreaming gender into the Disaster Risk Reduction Plans.”

With the global population crossing 7 billion, the earth’s finite natural resources are under tremendous strain. Economic progress is being achieved at the cost of the climate and the environment while, paradoxically, the polarisation between the global north and south continues to increase.

She added: “The youth of today are aghast at the escalating rate of environmental degradation as a consequence of climate change and we are seriously concerned at the prospect of us, the future generation, inheriting a barren planet that cannot sustain its inhabitants.

“By 2030, our goal should be for a PLANET 50:50 and create an equal world by empowering women and girls, so that girls would have equal opportunities as boys and the freedom to live their lives the way they want.”

Kehkashan also conducted a workshop on Sustainable Consumption and Production on the sidelines of the event, which was telecast live on UN Web TV and reached out to millions across the world.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com 

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