Adolescents as Agents of Change

The 3rd Annual Global Citizens’ Dialogue, organized on the occasion of the 70th World Health Assembly, brought adolescents and youth from around the world, together with health ministers and other key stakeholders to discuss promising practices in accountability for health, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A panel of young people shared issues they face in their communities and their experiences about national participatory mechanisms to engage citizens, particularly adolescents, in the planning and delivery of health services. The forum provided a platform for adolescents to articulate their priorities and challenges with regard to their own life stories. Government representatives described some initiatives in their countries to uplift and improve on issues adolescents face.

In concluding remarks, Dakshitha Wickremarathne, IAP Member, reflecting on the discussion, posed two questions to the audience:

  1. Have we done enough for adolescents and young people to ensure their rights are recognized and their potential fully realized?
  2. Are there enough meaningful platforms for adolescents and youth to voice their opinions to policy makers?

Wickremarathne praised the Citizen Hearing, noting that ` a direct, frank and constructive exchange between governments, civil society and other stakeholders is what we need so much more of, at all levels, and especially in-country and community, local levels`.

Explaining the mandate of the IAP, Wickremarathne affirmed that this engagement was especially timely, since the theme of the IAP report this year is about answering one key question: Where’s the World’s Accountability to Adolescents?

Wickremarathne expressed a wish to keep the momentum and for everyone to walk the talk, and be accountable making the lives better and healthier for every woman, every child and every adolescent.