Engaging Youth in Our Global Future: UN Consultation on the International Assistance Review and Sustainable Development Goals

OTTAWA, July 14th, 2016 – The United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada), in partnership with UN-Habitat and UN-Women, launched today a series of national youth consultations on the future of Canada’s international development assistance. The Canadian Government has called for these consultations to assure the voice of youth, Canadians at large and other international development partners in the development of Canada’s international development assistance programme. In addition to the consultations on the international development, youth will also be consulted on their opinion on sustainable urbanization, as part of a larger consultation on Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

The consultations, taking place in 5 cities across Canada, will convene young leaders from across the country to hear their ideas about the work of the United Nations (UN), Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and the role of youth in international development issues. Youth will be given the opportunity to shape future global development policy. Priority policy ideas emerging from discussions will be reported to Global Affairs Canada as part of their International Assistance Review Consultations.

The consultation just completed in Vancouver highlighted issues such as the engagement of international diaspora

“Young people’s ideas and participation are vital to the work of UNA-Canada, to the UN, the Government of Canada and our Youth Minister and to attaining the sustainable development goals – in Canada and the world.” States Kathryn White, President & CEO of UNA-Canada.

The United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada) is a national charitable organization providing the leading policy voice on multilateralism in Canada, with 25 000 members from coast to coast to coast. Established in 1946, UNA-Canada was a founding member of the World Federation of United Nations Association and today holds the elected Vice-Chair, representing global civil society.

Doug Ragan, Chief, Youth and Livelihoods Unit, sees the critical role of Canada and Canadian youth in international assistance. “Canadian youth play a critical role in key global issues such as climate change, peacebuilding and the role of cities. We are excited to work with UNAC and UN-Women to assure their voice in developing Canada’s international assistance programmes.”

Locations and dates of Consultations are: July 12th: Vancouver, BC; July 15th: Edmonton, AB

July 22nd: Toronto, ON; July 26th: Montreal, QC July 29th: Ottawa, ON.

 

For more information please contact:

Elias León                                                          or                           Adlai Salcedo

Elias.leon@unac.org                                                                    adlai.salcedo@unac.org

(613) 983 5366                                                                                  (647) 983 9768

The United Nations Association in Canada

Our Work
UNA-Canada engages citizens and decision makers at every level of Canadians society. We invest across generations, bringing empathy-based educational resources on health, citizen education, diversity, peace and the environment to both the best and the brightest and to most marginalized youth within Canada and in the world’s poorest countries.

We meet our mandate with a national network of branches, volunteers and education programmes that are inspiring and mobilizing Canadians in support of the principles and critical work of the UN. By growing global citizens, we are building a stronger, more outward looking Canada ready to accept the greatest challenges of our time.

 

 

Using Sport as Vehicle to 2030

On Friday August 12th, UN-HABITAT in collaboration with Nexus Brasil hosted a high-level event to discuss the power of sport to drive social change, especially in regards to youth and SDGs. It was a very successful evening, full of inspiring guests and touching stories that left no-one behind (in the spirit of the UN!). We were not only celebrating the beautiful Olympic Games but also the International Youth Day that falls on August 12th as young people are the cornerstones in this agenda.

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Mr. Stephan Fox, the former Muaythai world champions and the current president of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognized Members of Sport, representing 23 international federations), vice-president of SportAccord and General Secretary of IFMA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) opened the event with his power story of how he works with Muaythai, Thailand’s national treasure, on number of socially responsible initiatives. Using the core values of Muaythai, they work with underprivileged kids to develop their self-confidence, respect and honor and help them grow into their full potential.

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“Respect is key when training in muaythai. You should respect and honor your teacher, opponents, training partners and community. This message we translate to the everyday life” (Mr. Stephan Fox)

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The first Roundtable looked at sport as a tool for peacebuilding, conflict resolution and countering violence. Three very special guests, Mr. Duran Farah (Head of Somali NOC), Mr. Hossam Hassan Gadou (lecturer at Behna university, Egypt) and Rafael F. Luciano (Founder of Artists 2 Advocates) shared their experiences from three very different contexts and angles. The case of Somalia is very unique. It is a country at war for past 25 years and counting, where illiteracy is higher than 62%, where children and young people and especially women have very little opportunities to socialize or to play sports as it is not high enough on political agenda. Yet history has proven that sport is the connector between conflicting groups and is the only thing that is universally liked and appreciated throughout the country.

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“We don’t have enough spaces for young people to play. Especially for young women that need adequate and safe space it is a challenge. Sport is the only thing that remained, the only institution that has not failed, yet there is no money and no support to develop more spaces for young people to practice. We need to work with international partners to rebuild our cities that will provide for everybody, especially for our youth that makes up 75% of our population. That includes building a sufficient sports infrastructure”. (Mr. Duran Farah)

Rafael works closely with one of America’s top Olympian, Ms. Sanya Richards Ross on addressing the rising issue of violence in the US. They are also huge supporters of Team Refugees. Artist 2 Advocates are using media to connect the right influencers with the right cause.

The second Roundtable examine the positive and negative sides of hosting these mega sport events. Since Sydney Olympics in 2000, it is mandatory for bidding cities to include the element of sustainability and make it part of their application package. Often they make fantastic plans of how the infrastructure will be build and renewed, how it’d going to generate more business for local small-entrepreneurs and how the newly built sporting complexes will serve the children and youth from the neighborhood to come and play. The reality, however, is often very different. And nowhere is it more visible than Rio. Carolina Caffe was looking at this element already in the run up to the Games. She shot this powerful documentary to bring the truth to the light.

While this is truly heartbreaking, we need to realize all the positive things mega sports are bringing with them. Like a magic, the city turns into multicultural party where everyone is welcome. Friendships and bonds made during the Games often last for decades. It does bring some tourists in (maybe not as many as predicted) which they happily buy snack or soda from a corner stall.

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“There are many positive and negative effects of hosting a sport mega event. We have to make sure to minimize the negative and maximize the positive. There are success stories from the past of cities benefited and transformed to thriving hubs yet we need to be more strategic to achieve that” (Mr. Hossam Hassan Gadou)

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The last roundtable was all about the local experiences. Michelle from Instituto Reacao came and showed us the incredible story of Rafaela Silva, who not only raised through their Judo programme, she actually won the gold medal in Judo. Flavio Canto, former Brazilian judo professional, and the founder of Instituto Reacao was her role model who won his bronze medal in Athens. Rafaela stood on the winners’ podium to receive her gold just last week. Mr. Zaremba, a professor at one of Rio’s top universities, psychologists and most importantly, well-known social entrepreneur paid us visit too. His team works with only young ladies and trains them in basketball. The last panelist, Mr. Gabriel Mayr works for URECE, a social enterprise working with blind people in football.

“The challenge on the ground is money. We have enough manpower, all volunteers, we have wonderful programmes but not enough money to pay for it. We struggle to operate, year by year, which makes it difficult for us, but for the young people that actually love and enjoy our programmes” (Mr. Gabriel Mayr)

The event was a first step to start a network of people working on different levels in sport, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship to find new ways of how to use the knowledge and experience to build upon these and contribute to achieving SDGs, especially Goal 11. We need to build more spaces for young people to play that will be accessible, affordable and safe and make sure that the positive impact of hosting mega sport events on cities outweighs the negative. Let’s work together to make it happen!

 

 

Youth Joining Voices with PrepCom3 Multi-Stakeholder Delegates

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

#H3Youth kept up the momentum built after the huge success of WUYM and other youth parallel event(s) at PrepCom3.  Their activities were in good cooperation with the broader multi-stakeholder groups who worked hard to bring about a more inclusive New Urban Agenda with an eye toward its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  Youth groups voiced their staunch and great support for cities and local governments, as well as for the Right to the City initiative, together with the broader civil society and advocates for local governments.  Youth activists with disability linked up with stakeholder group(s) to lobby with great effectiveness to mainstream important considerations for people with disability and those living in extreme poverty in urban settings.

Two official side events at PrepCom3, both on 27 July 2016, gave centre stage to discuss youth empowerment and contribution in the sustainable and inclusive urban agenda.  The first was “Prioritizing Children & Youth Within the New Urban Agenda” that brought together youth representatives, development partners (including UN-Habitat), and child centred agencies such as World Vision International.  The session emphasized the critical need of the youth to unite and work together in partnership with local authorities and partners.

The second was “Civic and Youth Participation in the Wired Age” made up of city governments, network of cities (CityNet), private sector companies, youth inclusive initiative (Block by Block), data initiatives Pulse Lab Jakarta (part of UN’s big data labs), among others.  Here, Microsoft Indonesia’s Ruben Hattari cautioned PrepCom3 participants that all the new technology in cities could go to waste in the absence of a people-centered approach and engagement with citizens, especially the next generation.  Youth contributed with lively Q&A from the floor, saying that social inclusion should be ensured in technologies and city development.  It was another demonstration of just how youth engagement in urban policy issues should work.

 

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On the Road to Quito and Beyond

Going forward, UN-Habitat will support youth groups in their last one mile on the road towards Quito, and their journey beyond the New Urban Agenda.

We urge governments to accept youth as development partner – working together with cities and local governments, and ALL urban actors – in achieving the New Urban Agenda and meeting the SDG’s, especially SDG 11.

So, thank you so much Surabaya!  Congratulations to all youth leaders who contributed to PrepCom3 last week!  Don’t forget to get ready for Quito – and beyond!

#GSUYR 2015/16 Research Results Presented to Youth at PrepCom3

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

UN-Habitat Youth Unit team also launched the early results of its Global State of Urban Youth Report (GSUYR) 2015/16.  GSUYR 2015/16’s theme tackled the issue of rising urban inequalities. “Urban Equity and Youth Development” was the topic.

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With hashtag #GSUYR, WUYM’s youth participants in Surabaya and other cities joined in.  They conducted focus group discussions (FGD’s) to deepen the understanding of economic, political, social and cultural and environmental inequity issues in their own cities.  As a result, the research team received much-needed input from the youth.  The team is looking forward to launching the GSUYR 2015/16 report officially at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador.

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Youth Said: We Can Be Partner in New Urban Agenda Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Even before PrepCom3 proceedings got started, local Indonesia youth-led organizations IYMM and Kota Kita impressed everybody by organizing World Urban Youth Meeting.

This full-day parallel event brought together around 500 youth participants in a showcase of “Youth Perspectives and Actions Towards People-Centred City” on 24 July 2016 (Sunday), the day before PrepCom3.  UN-Habitat, together with UNTAG university and Surabaya city government, supported the joint effort.  With cooperation from Microsoft, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN country teams in Asia-Pacific, WUYM plenary sessions were livestreamed and linked with six cities beyond Surabaya, as well.

 

Firstly, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Aisa Kirabo Kacyira captured the moment and said (at the opening ceremony), “the next generation [and women] must be treated as development partner if we were to succeed in New Urban Agenda.”  Her opinion received enthusiastic support from youth during the event, which ran non-stop all day, from 7am to 7pm.

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Perhaps more importantly, WUYM demonstrated that youth could be “doers” of inclusive urban development and policies that will be enshrined in the New Urban Agenda.  Youth-led and youth-inclusive initiatives presented  a range of variety expanding from the local to global: e.g. Urban Citizenship Academy, c2o in Surabaya, Safetipin for Manila, Youth 4 Global Goals, SDSN-Youth…just to name a few.

The Meeting was significantly diverse and highly participatory. The organizers directed the dialogue and focus group discussion (FGD) methodology; the youth volunteers facilitated the discussions, and the youth leaders shared best practices on urgent issues facing the urban youth such as “Good Government and Rights to the City”, “Urban Youth Against Extremism” and “Youth, Cities & Disaster Risk / Climate Change” (full schedule: here).  WUYM participants and speakers represented who’s who from PrepCom3.  Young people from 30 communities (kampungs) in Surabaya also joined forces.

To conclude a full day charged with youth energy, the APUFY 2015 delegate and urban planner, Emmy Yuniarti Rusadi declared at closing plenary, “We as youth have big responsibility in our own future.”  Having contributed to Indonesia’s national Habitat III consultations and also becoming one of the independent candidates for Mayoral elections in her city (after participating at APUFY in October 2015), Emmy sent powerful message to #H3youth, urging young people to see beyond “these big UN conferences,” and commit to act on the ground to improve communities and cities.  Joce Timoty Pardosi, Executive Director of IYMM, said their organization and actions in Indonesia, including contributions at PrepCom3, were the tangible legacy of APUFY.  Many youth speakers similarly expressed determination to stay engaged for the long haul, and to act as change agents both locally and globally.

#H3Youth Demonstrate their Collective Strength at PrepCom3 in Surabaya

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Habitat III PrepCom3 in Surabaya Takes One Step Closer to Next 20 Years

Last week, in Surabaya, a city in the East Java province of Indonesia, which is famous for its green and inclusive urban planning, witnessed many activities as it hosted PrepCom3, the last Preparatory Committee before the Habitat III Conference to be held in Quito in October.  About 4,200 delegates from 142 countries participated in PrepCom 3.  As always, youth and children were active, both inside and outside of the United Nations conference process (we suggest you to check out twitter #H3Youth to get a sense of the experience).

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So what happened at PrepCom3 in Surabaya and what were the outcomes from the perspective of youth that emerged from the conference?

PrepCom3 was the last big major push towards the the road to Habitat III. Negotiations by national governments were in full swing to finalize the text of the New Urban Agenda.  At this 11th hour, diplomats, civil society members, local government advocates and major groups were all seen running in the conference room and hallways, voicing their critical input (as this blog is being written, however, we heard that delegates fell short of agreeing and they will push for it again in New York in late August/early September).

However, there was no hiding the fact that everyone’s focus was already shifting to beyond the New Urban Agenda, during PrepCom3.  Of course, what lies “beyond” Habitat III is 20 years of making sure that the Agenda becomes a reality in the cities all over the world.  In this context, one of the most exciting highlights from Surabaya was a vision of youth as an essential partner for the New Urban Agenda’s implementation, monitoring and its evaluation.  Youth actions and messages from Surabaya made this point impossible to miss.  In our view, we witnessed a positive and powerful turning point for #H3youth at PrepCom3.

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