On the occasion of the 11th International Association for Adolescent Health Congress held in New Delhi, the IAP convened a symposium on October 28 to present the IAP’s 2017 report, Transformative Accountability for Adolescents, and engage participants on how to take the IAP’s findings and recommendations forward. IAP Members, Dakshitha (Sri Lanka) and Giorgi Pkhakadze (Georgia), briefed the audience on the report’s main calls for action, affirming adolescents as the central promise for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the discussion, facilitated by Mariam Naguib, Youth Commissioner of the Lancet Youth Network on Adolescent Health, the importance of young people’s participation in achieving the objectives of the
2016-2030 Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health was highlighted by Professor Rima Afifi, University of Iowa. She reflected on the need to engage adolescents in research in near and far reaching communities – adolescents can be a key part of informing the research agenda, and informing the methodologies, of collecting data, of making adolescents visible and measuring what matters, of leading adolescent (and ‘adult’) citizen dialogue, and of being key members of programmatic implementation and evaluation teams.
In opening the panel discussion, Dr Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner In-charge of Child Health and Adolescent Health from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India welcomed the IAP’s recommendations and highlighted the relevance for India’s Adolescents’ health strategy – for the largest number of adolescents in the world.
Ishita Chaudhry, Founder & Managing Trustee of the YP Foundation, India, called for “the need to build political will that champions adolescent’s rights and challenges practises, laws and policies that perpetuate discrimination and inequalities amongst them, otherwise we run the risk of cherry-picking priorities that do not address their unmet needs and building national health frameworks that we cannot have real accountability for.
Young leaders responded to the IAP’s report and recommendations and shared proposals of how to adapt and translate them into actions at national levels. They raised security and safety concerns as critical aspects of youth engagement that need to be addressed. Participants also revealed insights into how the term ‘accountability’ is used in public discourse, and the importance of encouraging stakeholders to not ‘cherry pick’ evidence, but rather acknowledge the gaps and take adequate remedial action.