Youth @ the 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council – 1st Day Wrap-UP!

Youth Caucus Summary – Friday 17th:

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We had some room challenges at the beginning, but we were still able to have a good constructive session, which included:

–        The experiences from the National Youth Secretariat in Brazil in the process of engaging youth in the lead up to Rio+20, and the different mechanisms Brazil currently have in place to ensure meaningful representation of a diverse group of young people, particularly the most vulnerable and excluded ones.

–        The experiences from the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), and the work that is being done to ensure young people from around the world have an active voice on the various UN processes, including: toolkit development, consultations, and lobbying at the UN level.

–        The experiences from the Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) particularly how the successful they’ve been in integrating youth delegates into the official government delegations, as well as Engajamundo, that mobilize Brazilian youth to pressure the government into including a youth perspective into national positions.

–        The experience from the Mayor Conradi, from Asker Norway, on the role young people play at the local level.

–        And the experience of Kashwesha youth group on how they’ve been consistently advocating from a grassroots level.

Some of the take aways from the meeting:

–        There is a big need to make things relevant to the local communities, and its reality, so we don’t get lost into big talks and big politics. Young people can ground all of the work we are doing through their work in the communities they live!

–        That while we value and acknowledge the work individual groups are doing, it’s important to keep in line with the process, and to play by its rules. Also the importance of collaborating using platforms such as the MGCY (www.childrenyouth.org).

–        There is a need to improve the accessibility of those processes, and to think of creative and effective ways to build young people’s capacity to influence the process.

  •          Making things like toolkits and web-portals can support in spreading the message
  •          Capacity building trainings
  •          Make it relevant in all languages

–        The importance of collaborating with governments, prevent the “us VS them”.

–        Moving beyond youth only talking about youth stuff, it is crucial young people have a voice in governance, land, economy, environment and every other aspect of life.

Youth 21- Enhancing the inclusion of youth in governance – Friday 17th:

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The Norwegian Children and youth council together with UN-Habitat organized a side event on “Youth 21- Enhancing the Inclusion of Youth in Governance”. The panelists presented the actions done to ensure real and meaningful youth participation in the UN, and how we the youth can build a coalition to move the agenda forward.

The Kenyan Permanent Representative, Ambassador Kimani, in his opening remarks, emphasized the crucial role young people play in sustainable and planned urbanization, and committed to work along UN-Habitat to ensure youth are mainstreamed in the agencies programmes and policies.

“Kenya will push UN-HABITAT to think seriously about how they involve youth in all issues.” – Ambassador Kimani, Kenyan Permanent Representative, Ambassador

The Mayor of Asker municipality in Norway Mrs. Lene Conradi, highlighted the importance of youth to be meaningfully at the table at all levels, from the local to national and global levels. Mayor Conradi also pledge to host a second session of the Asker Conference on youth and governance in January 2016.

“We must not walk away from the importance of addressing youth in all resolutions during the UN-Habitat Governing Council.” – Mrs. Lene Conradi, Mayor of Asker municipality, Norway

Mr. Fernando Pacheco, foreign affairs advisor, National Youth Secretariat, part of the general secretariat of the presidency of Brazil, shared the Brazilian understanding around youth as an opportunity, and stressed the importance of the Youth 21 process to Brazil.

Ms. Tone Vesterhus, youth delegate in the Norwegian delegation to the UN-Habitat reminded us that youth participation must not be a one off event, but rather, it has to be planned, structure and permanent.

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Mr. Christopher Dekki, UN liaison for the ICMYO, the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations, has reminded us that young people are a bridge between the current and the future generations, which in itself would be a reason for youth to have an important sit at the table.

“Even when spaces are not really provided for us, we are engaging and seeking opportunities to make sure that our voices are heard”. ~ Mr. Christopher Dekki, UN liaison for the ICMYO, the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations

Finally, Deputy Executive Director of UN Habitat, Mr. Aisa Kacyira in her message, reinforced the commitment of UN-Habitat to this process, and to continue to work along with countries like Brazil, Kenya and Norway to ensure space is created for young people to be heard and taken serious at the UN.

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