Launching #UrbanAction in Quito

In October 2016, the world leaders and representatives of the member states will gather in Quito, Ecuador to adopt the New Urban Agenda, a brand new road map to deal with all urban issues and a guide to achieving SDGs particularly in the urban context. For the first time in history, young people were recognized as stakeholders in the drafting process and are frequently referred to throughout the document. That is why UN-HABITAT wants young people to be placed in the front line of the action that will follow. Acknowledging young people’s enormous potential and capacity, UN-HABITAT works with top global youth networks to ensure that Quito marks the beginning of the youth “#UrbanAction”.

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What is #Urban Action?

#UrbanAction is a global campaign calling on young people to actively engage in positive urban development. Youth groups, organizations and individuals alike will be encouraged to design and develop #UrbanAction projects in their city that build on the commitments outlined in the New Urban Agenda, and positively contribute to achieving one (or more) of the SDGs. We aim to implement over 150 youth projects related to New Urban Agenda and SDGs within the first year of NUA adoption.

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Why Youth?

Youth represent an essential and dynamic resource. Globally, 85% of the world’s young people live in developing countries and ever-increasing number of them is growing up in cities. We have the largest youth population ever – 1.8 billion young people are below 24 years of age. This is not a small number and as such, youth should be brought on-board as partners and assets.

Youth participation and engagement is the cornerstone of the #UrbanAction, empowering them to increase their level of engagement in local governance and activate their participation in sustainable urban development activities socially, politically and economically. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. The success lies in participatory and inclusive approaches that leave no-one behind.

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While Quito will mark the launch of the #Urban Action, with first few project ideas implemented, the real work comes after Habitat III is over. Coordinated through the AIESEC international network and other partners, youth all over the world will commit and implement their #UrbanAction projects in their cities, in line with the New Urban Agenda and one (or more) of the SDGs. Join #UrbanAction today!

Connecting the dots in Sport

On Friday 16th September 2016, UN-HABITAT had a pleasure to attend the 2nd World Summit on Ethics & Leadership in Sports at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. It was a day packed with incredible sessions, high-level speakers from the world of sport, business and politics, and most importantly, energy and positive spirit that has transcended to all participants and guests.

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Sport illustrates how various stakeholders are directly impacted by the corporate culture (strategy, team spirit), the individual performance (skills and behavior) and the wider corporate context (leadership, legal framework, CSR, media) to reach the organizations business goal (to win the game). The Summit explored these links and role of sport in tackling societal problems, while celebrating already existing best practices of sport for development initiatives and ethical sportsmanship.

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Over 50 experts shared their know-how and experiences to enrich participants’ knowledge and proposed a substantial agenda for action. One of the featured speakers was also Mr. Wilfried Lemke, the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Sport for Development and Peace. Mr. Lemke received the Ethics in Sports Awards in the category “Outstanding Individual” for his contributions in promoting the use of sports as a unifying tool for peace across the world, especially in conflict-ridden zones and war-torn countries. It is truly sad news to hear that Mr. Lemke’s term if close to finish and he will be leaving his position as the UN SG’s Special Advisor at the end of the year.

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While one day was way too short to take it all in and establish proper action plan or connections, UN-HABITAT is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be there and discuss with these experts possibilities of collaboration, especially in relation to New Urban Agenda and legacies of mega sport events and SDGs, particularly Goal 11. It is our hope and dream that these will soon translate into concrete action and long-term partnerships. For now, have a look at the plan….

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UNAC, UN-Habitat and UN Women undertake 5 city consultation on Canada’s Role in International Development

During July 2016, the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada), the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), and UN Women conducted a nationwide series of youth consultations with the goal to elevate the youth voice on the International Assistance Review (IAR) undertaken

by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). The report can be downloaded at this link

ENGAGING YOUTH IN OUR GLOBAL FUTURE.

This report is a compilation of youth recommendations and views on international development according to GAC’s identified policy issues.

The consultations undertaken convened more than 100 diverse Canadian young leaders from Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, aged 16-29.

The conversations were organized to address the policy issues identified by GAC for the IAR and the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The importance of youth involvement in international development policy, and also in urban and national policy implementation, was echoed in importance throughout the country.

The following questions provided the framework of each consultation:

  • What is the role of youth in international development? Should youth in developing countries and youth-led organizations be supported by Canada to undertake development work?
  • What are the key areas that Canada should focus in empowering and improving the wellbeing of young people in areas such as education, skills training, governance engagement, and health?
  • How should Canada support girls and young women in areas like education, skills training, governance engagement, health, and safety?
  • Cities play a vital role in sustainability – What are the urban issues that are critical to youth globally? (Some urban issues: housing, transportation, jobs, crime and safety.)

The report is organized by thematic recommendations according to the policy issues of the IAR, identified by GAC. These include Health and Rights of Women and Children, Clean Economic Growth and Climate Change, Governance, Diversity and Human Rights, Peace and Security, Responding to Humanitarian Crises, and Delivering Results. However, as UNA-Canada, and its partners, embarked on its nationwide youth-led initiative, addressing youth policy issues was a recurring message across the country.

As a result of this call for youth engagement, a key recommendation to the Government of Canada is to add the theme of Youth-led Development within the IAR policy issues framework.

This submission has incorporated a Youth-led Development thematic component, in addition to

the pre-determined policy issues identified by GAC. UNA-Canada and our UN partners recommend, in concurrence with our Minister of Youth, that the intersectional youth voice be elevated not only in Canada but across the globe through representation in various levels of policy processes as well as through grass-root initiatives. Detailed recommendations from Canadian youth for youth in developed and developing countries can be found under Youth-led Development within the thematic recommendations below.