The Youth Advisory Board today had the opportunity to meet the new UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos for a quick chat about the work UN-HABITAT has been doing on urban youth and development as well as to brainstorm ways to continue to mainstream youth issues across UN-HABITAT’s agenda under his leadership!
– The Urban Youth Fund – $2million dollars over 2 years!
– Youth Research – the first State of Urban Youth Report
– Mainstreaming Youth – advising on youth perspectives throughout UN-HABITAT
– Global Networking – through the World Urban Youth Assemblies
– One Stop Centres – building capacity among youth for new job markets
And other initiatives, which we encourage the agency to continue, since we recognize that is through this support that UN-HABITAT continues to reduce long-term poverty and urban conflict.
But we were not there only to celebrate good the good things. We used the opportunity to discuss a bit about the recently completed evaluation (which YAB members participated in fully!). And from the lessons learnt in the evaluation as well as from the experience we had during our mandate, we took the opportunity to recommend few key points in regards to the future of the UN-HABITAT YAB:
1. Assignment of responsibility of supporting YAB to a specific Youth Unit Staff member. (We believe that to assure that the YAB works to its best potential, and that youth are mainstreamed and integrated into the operations of UN-HABITAT, that there be a dedicated staff. Proper staffing levels are fundamental to the success of youth programming.)
2- Identification of skill needs among Board members and build capacity accordingly. (We Strongly agree that one of the key aspects of the YAB is building YAB member capacity to better represent UN-HABITAT globally as we have done over the last two years.)
3- Identification of information gaps experience by Board members and address them by maintaining regular two-way communication, including preparation of quarterly reports by UN-HABITAT staff. (We believe that this again relates to the staffing and capacity issue of both the YAB and the Youth Programme. We cannot reiterate enough the need to assure that there is proper capacity within the Youth Programme.)
We also took the opportunity to support Dr. Joan Clos in the new focus areas for UN-HABITAT, which are: urban planning, institutions and employment. We believe that youth are key to each of these, and therefore we encouraged the agency to both target and involve youth in the planning of any programs developed.