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The International Co-operative Alliance- Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) hosted the second edition of ‘Co-op Mic’ on August 14 at its office in New Delhi.


The invited speaker was Ms. Ishita Chaudhry who spoke on the topic of ‘Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Opportunities and Challenges’. Ishita Chaudhry is an Ashoka Fellow, an INK Fellow and the Founder and Managing Trustee of The YP Foundation, a youth-led and run non-profit organization based in India.  



Ms. Ishita Chaudhry during Co-op Mic.


The inclusion of youth in co-operatives and subsequently for the realization of SDGs is a strategic priority for ICA, and therefore it was interesting to host this talk, which put up relevant points of discussion.


Titled ‘On leaving no one behind: Deciphering young people’s leadership in the SDGs, through our work at The YP Foundation’, Ms. Chaudhry’s presentation was an eye-opener as it built a strong case for empowering the youth to achieve human rights. She placed human rights as the basic foundation of development of any kind. She highlighted that it’s imperative to empower young people, by increasing their access to information and services, focusing on helping them understand and realise their rights.


The YP Foundation has adopted a multi-faceted approach where it has programs on not just skill-building, but also policy advocacy, arts programs as well as strengthening access to information crucial for the youth.


She shared some thought-provoking insights from the High Level Political Forum on SDGs held between 10th-19th July’17 at the United Nations in New York. The civil society organizations (CSOs) flagged issues of rising inequalities in countries, reduced public sector expenditures on important human development indicators of education, health; as well as shrinking spaces for CSOs to highlight the shortcomings of governments vis-à-vis the realization of SDGs.


Making a reference to co-operatives, Ms. Chaudhry spoke of how collectives need to include people from different background and thought processes. Co-operatives can harness the ideas, innovations and aspirations of the youth, and provide sustainable solutions for unemployment, economic and social inequalities, and other issues faced by the youth in several countries.