Empowering Bangladesh's Youth with Green Skills for a Sustainable Future

Cultivating Green Ambitions: Bangladesh's Youth Step Up at the 2023 Skills Conference.

September 13, 2023

Holding the Future: Youth Voices Amplified Through Messages of Change.

©UNDP Bangladesh

To empower the youth of Bangladesh, "Youth Skills Conference 2023", powered by FutureNation, took place on September 13, 2023, at a hotel in Dhaka, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The British Council.

This transformative event is designed to cultivate an understanding of diverse green skill sets and equip young individuals from all divisions of Bangladesh with the knowledge needed to make informed career choices. With a strong focus on sustainable economic development, the conference promises to be a dynamic and engaging platform that inspires the future young leaders of the country.

This multi-faceted event featured a range of insightful sessions, including "The SDG Primer," "Green Skills for Future Employability," "Volunteering Opportunities as an SDG Building Block," "Green Start-ups," followed by a group work session titled "Connections between SDGs and Green Skills." Also, panel discussions on "Challenges for Youth to Take Initiative to Address SDGs" and "Skills of the Future."

One of the highlights of the event was the showcasing of 13 youth-led projects from 8 divisions of Bangladesh. These projects represent innovative solutions and ideas that can contribute to sustainable development in the country.

Earlier, 'Youth Talk' was arranged where Nasreen Afroz, the Executive Chairman (Secretary) of NSDA, HE Sarah Cooke, the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Stefan Liller, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone Ltd, and Tom Miscioscia, Country Director of The British Council Bangladesh were present.

Speaking at the event, Sarah Cooke, the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh said, “It’s wonderful to see so many young people at today’s conference, and I’m delighted that they have been able to develop their skills with the British Council and UNDP. Promoting education and skills training is at the centre of the UK’s drive to tackle poverty, promote gender equality and boost economic growth. By doing so we create more prosperous and inclusive societies. And we are working closely with Bangladesh to drive international action to tackle climate change. By building skills to support diverse careers in sustainable economic development, the young people here today are helping build a brighter future for Bangladesh and for the world.”

Stefan Liller, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh, emphasised how the future depends on the skills of today’s youth. “Youth perspectives, energy and meaningful participation are what will help secure a more inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous future for all in Bangladesh,” he remarked in the session.

Tom Miscioscia, Country Director of The British Council Bangladesh, said “It's amazing to see so many young people from different parts of Bangladesh engaging, learning, and talking about sustainable development, green technologies, and environmental stewardship today. The British Council is excited to collaborate with UNDP on this Youth Conference as part of our wider partnership in the FutureNation Programme. Together, we will harness the transformative power of education and boost young people’s English language skills across Bangladesh to enhance their entrepreneurship and employment prospects. The British Council is committed to supporting Bangladesh’s next generation by building their skills, confidence, and connections through life-changing opportunities in English, education, and the arts.

Yasir Azman, CEO of Grameenphone, said, “Our youth demographic dividend is a powerful force that needs to be harnessed to drive the journey of Smart Bangladesh Vision 2041 and the time to act is NOW”. “As we gather today at the Youth Skills Conference 2023, an event filled with bright, promising young faces, I am reminded of the incredible potential that lies within each one of these youth. This conference has not just been a gathering but rather a call to action, an invitation to act boldly to prepare a skilled Bangladesh. We must recognise that our nation needs to be fit for the future industries and I believe that FutureNation will act as a key driver to take this journey forward”.

The "Youth Skills Conference 2023" concluded with the launch of the FutureNation platform consisting of self-assessment, personalised learning and job portal with a promise to foster knowledge, collaboration, and inspiration among Bangladesh's youth. It will serve as a critical platform for the country's young generations to drive sustainable change and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).