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I am practical by nature, radical by design. I believe in patterns not lines; paradox not certainty; and the chaotic not the orderly.

World Leaders Gather with Youth to Promote Peace

 

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Over 500 delegates from more than 70 countries are attending the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver being held November 14th and 15th in Vancouver, Canada. One of the key focuses of the conference will be on securing new pledges from Member States on the issues of peacebuilding, with a special focus being given to youth and women.

A two day Youth as Peacebuilders forum is being held during the conference which will bring hundreds of youth from around the world. A focus of the Forum will be giving input to the government representatives on how they should support youth. Also, the youth will be reviewing the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2250, the first ever resolution to address youth issues in conflict.

“As UN-Habitat we believe that young men and women are critical to peacebuilding, and are very excited to see this as a focus of the conference,” states Tessy Aura, UN-Habitat Human Rights Officer, “I am looking forward to discussing what are the best practices in engaging youth in peacebuilding with the youth gathered here at the Youth As Peacebuilders forum.”

A two day Youth as Peacebuilders forum is being held during the conference which will bring hundreds of youth from around the world. A focus of the Forum will be giving input to the government representatives on how they should support youth. Also, the youth will be reviewing the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2250, the first ever resolution to address youth issues in conflict.

The youth of today are yearning for peace and are ready to sacrifice everything else to realize the dream of a better future. This an opportune moment for the UN to invest in youth4peace that can have greater impact in Somalia.

Mohammed Arshad, Youth Activist, Mogadishu, Somalia.

It is estimated that a 600 million young people are living in conflict zones or fragile states, many of them in the cities and towns of the world. UN-Habitat, which is the UN agencies charged with sustainable urban development, is at the forefront of developing programmes for youth and peacebuilding in conflict areas such as Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria.

“We are currently working with local and national governments in Somalia and South Sudan to establishment youth-led peacebuilding programmes,” states Douglas Ragan, head of the Youth Unit for UN-Habitat, “For example, we recently established a mutli-purpose youth centre in Mogadishu, Somalia and soon in Juba, South Sudan. These centres work with youth in a holistic way, providing them with critical job training, while as well engaging them in governance and peacebuilding activities.”

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Since the passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 in December of 2015, youth have had high hopes for their recognition and engagement in the peacebuilding process.

The need to understand the dynamics of peace within the urban context has also become a critical issue for decision-makers globally. The International Red Cross estimates that fifty million people are currently bearing the brunt of war in cities around the world.

Peace can also be made in cities – those on the frontline are young people who often live in slums and informal settlements. Isaac Muasa who lives in the Mathare Slum in Nairobi, Kenya is one of those youth. In the ongoing election tensions in Kenya, he and many of his contemporaries continue to promote a strong message of peace.

“We must continue to engage in developing our communities, ensuring social change and dignity for all residents, states Muasa, “We don’t have to bleed so that they can lead. We will lead our generation to a better tomorrow.”

In another confict area, Mogadishu, Somalia, that same message and commitment is prevalent.

“Somalia has had a long protracted conflict of about three decades. Since the start of the civil war in 1991, the international community has made a number of efforts to broker peace negotiations among warring factions that had limited success,” reflects Mohamed Arshad, Youth Activist, “The youth of today are yearning for peace and are ready to sacrifice everything else to realize the dream of a better future. This an opportune moment for the UN to invest in youth4peace that can have greater impact in Somalia.”

 

 

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UN Security Council Resolution 2250 Reminds Us that Peace is Possible

Co-authored by Hussein Nabeil Murtaja, UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board Representative for Arab Regions and member of Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace, and Security

The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2250 at the end of 2015. This is the first resolution of its kind that recognizes and promotes young people’s role as peace-builders. To achieve the vision of this resolution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the formation of a 21-member Advisory Group of Experts for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security that will ‘carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels.’ Aligning with the spirit of the resolution, this panel included nine young people under the age of 30 who have been helping prepare the report, which will be delivered to the Security Council in December of this year.

The Arab region and the Middle East region are most affected by the emergence of terrorist and tycoon groups that destroyed cities and displaced thousands of people. It has also contributed to and compounded by issues such as corruption, unemployment, migration, refugee resettlement, education and health, and violations of the rights of women and children. Given their social, economic, and political vulnerability and marginalization, it is clear that many terrorists are youth. Among others, the solicitation of youth to join terrorist organizations have led to their absence in the peace-building process.

Resolution 2250 calls for the protection of young people from all kinds of extremism, which we now see through providing a stimulating work and social environment, policies and mechanisms to enable them to contribute effectively to peace-building, and promoting a culture of tolerance and respect for religions. This requires the effective and institutional integration of young people into their societies, enhancing inclusive education, providing jobs that meet their needs.

United Nations
Poster on UNSC Resolution 2250.

Youth taking #UrbanAction for the New Urban Agenda

The following video shows how youth got active at Habitat 3! Watch, be inspired and take some #UrbanAction!

#UrbanAction is the new UN-Habitat Youth campaign the was launched at Habitat 3 in Quito. The goal is to inspire and advocate for youth action to achieve the urban Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.

#UrbanAction is part of the Youth 4 Global Goals Campaign.

Celebrate World #CitiesDay!! UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda show how investing in cities advances progress across societies.” – UNSG

The world is celebrating cities — join in!! Following the highly successful Habitat III conference , the world is now focused on how cities can be #Cities4All and a positive force sustainable development and the achievement of both the 2030 Agenda and the NUA.

Please watch UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s World #CitiesDay message.

If you want to get involved please follow us our on Facebook a UN-Habitat Youth, or twitter at @unhabitatyouth, and the #UrbanAction campaign.

Youth DeclarAction for Habitat III

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And .. its live! Please read the Youth DeclarAction for Habitat III.

Young people from all over the world gather in Quito to create the Youth DeclarACTION for the New Urban Agenda

Quito, October 14th, 2016. Young people participating at the YoutHab Conference have gathered from October 13th to 15th, 2016 in Quito, Ecuador, to develop a “DeclarACTION” to seek local authorities commitment to youths within the framework of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and strengthen the partnership between them. Supported by UN-Habitat and a coalition of 10 civil society partners, youth worked 24/7 to assure that everyone’s perspective was heard and reflected in the final statement.

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The Mayor of Quito Mauricio Rodas, opened the YoutHab conference with a strong endorsement of youth’s engagement in the New Urban Agenda.

“Certainly the more voices and more participation we have in these discussions [on the New Urban Agenda], we will have better elements to build a city more respectful of human rights, a city that offers quality public services, a more democratic city where everyone can access spaces, have first class infrastructure, booming economic development and social inclusion under a clear focus on respect for the environment, natural resources “, stated Mayor Rhodes.

The “DeclarACTION” proposes goals and actions that fulfill youths demands and needs to achieve more just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and builds a roadmap to cities’ governments and young people work together. It is structured according to the same that structure NUA’S Zero Draft.

The document approved included not only the actions co-created by young people present in the YoutHab conference but also the propositions of consultations and position papers written and/or subscribed by youths that were previously systematized and integrated to the process the development of the DeclarACTION to ensure an inclusive and integrated approach. In YoutHab people from 14 countries were present and propositions from 20 countries were systematized as a part of other regional and international the 5 regions of the world consultations and positions papers.

The “DeclarACTION” will be officially launched and available on Youthab’s website in the first day of Habitat III, October 17th, 2016 when the first approach with youthmand with the horizon of an approved NUA begins. Bellow, a first overview of its content with the goals developed. Please see this link for updates on the DeclarACTION :

For More information:
Ana Cristina Benalcazar and Alice Junqueira
youthab.conference@gmail.com

In Text Version
Youth DeclarACTION for the New Urban Agenda

We, young people participating in the YoutHab Conference, have gathered from October 13th to 15th, 2016 in Quito, Ecuador, to co-create this “DeclarACTION” in order to seek a local authority commitment to the youth within the framework of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and strengthen the partnership between city governments and young people. With 1.8 billion young people worldwide and considering the demographic transition we are currently living, today more than ever, it is absolutely crucial to include us in working to achieve NUA’s compromises and, as equally important, in the work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this sense, as active and compromised citizens, we are proposing goals and actions that fulfill our demands and needs to achieve more equitable, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and share a roadmap so city governments and young people from all around the world can work together.

The approved document includes not only actions co-created by young people present at the YoutHab Conference, but also the proposals of consultations and position papers written and / or subscribed by youth, that were previously systematized and integrated in the processes of the creation of the DeclarACTION, aiming to guarantee an inclusive and integrated approach to it. This way, the document compiles the inputs from young participants from 15 different countries that attended the YoutHab Conference; in addition, it includes the proposals of consultations and position papers from 20 countries, as well as regional and international youth statements.

In this regard, we:

Build on our core principles of Human Rights, Right to the City and Universal Access to Opportunity and Infrastructure;

Acknowledge the ongoing work of our governments and local authorities to engage youth but, emphasize that we still need to be seen as key assets and partners in the process of designing, implementing and monitoring of public policies; and not only be seen as its beneficiaries, since we are the ones who suffer the consequences of poor decision-making;

Express the need for UN-HABITAT, as a leading UN agency to implement NUA, to strengthen its support of youth initiatives, national and local governments, and youth partnerships and;

Call on all Member States to also support the implementation of the NUA and increase the capacity of youth and local governments to work in a collaborative manner and promote the engagement of young people in the implementation of the action points we have proposed to reach defined goals:

SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION AND POVERTY ERADICATION

1) To eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions, recognize it is a multidimensional problem and approach it cross-sectionally; 2) To guarantee equal access to affordable, culturally appropriate, age-responsive, easily available, accessible, non-discriminatory infrastructure of basic services; 3) To eliminate discrimination against young people and fight generational prejudice; 4) To prevent and end all forms of violence, crime and discrimination; especially violence, crimes and discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity and those against children and youth; 5) To protect and foster diversity, heritage, tangible and intangible urban cultural expressions; 6) To guarantee migrants, internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees’ rights and foster their inclusion in cities.

SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE URBAN PROSPERITY AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

1) To eliminate youth unemployment; 2) To regulate the informal sector and prevent the criminalization and stigmatization of artistic and informal economic activities; 3) To foster youth entrepreneurship, fair trade, local economies and new models of economy; 4) To eradicate child labor, forced labor and all kinds of exploitation; 5) To guarantee universal access to education; 6) To guarantee access to quality health services, including sexual and reproductive health services.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE AND RESILIENT URBAN DEVELOPMENT

1) To guarantee an environmentally sustainable urban development and minimize cities’ environmental impact; 2) To develop resilient urban infrastructure and promote disaster risk management; 3) To promote alternative mobility infrastructure and systems that prioritize walkability, pedestrian safety, cycling and public transportation; 4) To create efficient, environmentally friendly and and low-carbon public transportation systems; 5) To promote energy conservation and ensure affordable and sustainable energy for all.

BUILDING URBAN GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE: ESTABLISHING A SUPPORTIVE FRAMEWORK

1) To adopt and implement financed, multi-sector, bottom-up participation mechanisms that value young people as key actors; 2) To promote and implement data-based decision making processes with disaggregated data; 3) To eliminate corruption and improve participation, transparency and accountability mechanisms; 4) To promote user- friendly Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and foster access to information, accountability and public effectiveness and efficiency.

PLANNING AND MANAGING URBAN SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT

1) To adopt and implement urban planning processes that promote sustainability, inclusion, equity, well-being and the right to the city; 2) To consider the urban-rural linkages and dynamics for urban planning to protect natural resources and foster equitable regional development; 3) To create efficient and integrated public transport systems; 4) To create and maintain safe, inclusive, accessible, green, multi-purpose and quality public spaces; 5) To adopt and implement housing policies that will guarantee an adequate standard of living for all; 6) To guarantee the social function of land and tenure security; 7) To upgrade informal settlements and slums and prioritize integrated, multidimensional and participatory interventions.

Highlighted above are the goals that establish the roadmap we want to see put into practice to start our communities and cities transformation through the NUA, along with the SDGs. We are ready and willing to partner with our local governments and other stakeholders to join forces towards building more people-centered, socially cohesive, equitable, inclusive, intergenerational, environmentally-friendly, democratic and collaborative cities. We ask the governments and local authorities to take urgent steps to ensure that we are finally listened to and taken seriously. As young and responsible citizens who have already been working hard to improve our cities, we commit to continue to be part of the implementation of the action points outlined in this “DeclarACTION” that are further detailed in the website: http://youthab.com/

 

Visit to Mathare by Youth Envoy

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Great to see  to the Secretary General, visiting once again the  Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G). As he states, some huge leaps forward in services at the centre with the the development of the ‪‎Innovate‬ Kenya‬ ICT and Entrepenruship programs, the great work of the iHub – Nairobi’s Innovation Hub and their Kio Kits, the continued focus on public space and football, and of course the indomitable spirit of the Mathare community and its youth!!!

On Friday July 22nd, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi joined UN-Habitat and the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G) to check the youth-led projects in Mlango Kubwa community in Mathare. It was his second visit of this community and he was very impressed to see the progress the youth center made since 2014.

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Mlango Kubwa community lies at the periphery of one of Nairobi’s biggest slums. Like everywhere else, young people face many challenges there, from access to safe spaces to access to resources and opportunities. What distinguish them from others though is their drive, enthusiasm and willingness to strive for change. They take no chances and work together to make their community a better place for all, but especially for the children and young people.

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We were equally inspired and enchanted by the spirit of this youth. After we saw how they claimed burned-down space in the middle of their community, negotiated with authorities and built their first ever community football field with minimum resources and their hard work, we couldn’t not work with them. We wanted to support them so they can carry on their fantastic work and offer more opportunities for young people to grow in healthy environments.

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With the help of Samsung, we built a fully equipped ICT center that offers not only access to internet, but access to knowledge. As part of our Innovate Kenya project, UN-HABITAT and its academic partners developed a series of E-learning courses that come with the Samsung donated equipment. There are number of courses on offer, including project management, marketing or urban agriculture.

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Envoy’s visit to Mlango Kubwa meant a lot for the local youth, as well as for all of us who tagged along. It was great to watch how they presented their achievements with pride. It was even more touching to hear Envoy’s words of admiration and appreciation at the end.

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Keep it up guys!

 

 

 

 

GOT AN URBAN SOLUTION? SUBMIT IT TO THE HABITAT III PROCESS

reprinted from Citiscope

 

Ideas are due by 15 February for a document – The City We Need 2.0 – that will comprise key stakeholder input to the drafting of the New Urban Agenda.

With the calendar turned to 2016, momentum is now picking up toward Habitat III, this year’s United Nations conference that will result in a 20-year urbanization strategy called the New Urban Agenda. Ahead of that once-a-generation conference, a major stakeholder initiative is soliciting ideas for inclusion in a key set of recommendations for that strategy.

Specifically, the World Urban Campaign is looking for “urban solutions”, or initiatives, practices, policies, legislation and models that address urban challenges to achieving what the campaign calls The City We Need. Individuals and organizations are now being asked to submit proposed urban solutions to wuc@unhabitat.org by 15 February using the following template.

The City We Need is an evolving document that the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat, has been preparing for several years ahead of Habitat III. (Note: Citiscope is a media partner of the World Urban Campaign.) Its title piggybacks off of the Future We Want, the outcome document from the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, held in 2012.

With the Millennium Development Goals set to expire at the end of 2015, the Rio+20 conference decided that U. N. member states should adopt a new framework — a series ofSustainable Development Goals — to tackle ambitious targets on issues such as poverty, hunger and education. That conference also set in motion a global consultation to solicit ideas on what those goals should be. The landmark result, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted in September.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals here]

If the U. N.’s sustainable development agenda could be described as “the future we want”, then the lead-up to Habitat III should in turn define “the city we need,” organizers felt.

The City We Need 1.0 emerged ahead of the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín. In the run-up to that April 2014 global gathering of urbanists, the campaign released a manifesto with nine principles. According to that March 2014 document, the city we need is:

  • Socially inclusive
  • Well-planned, walkable and transit-friendly
  • Regenerative and resilient
  • Economically vibrant and inclusive
  • Of a singular identity and sense of place
  • Safe
  • Healthy
  • Affordable and equitable, and
  • Managed at the metropolitan level.

The City We Need took on additional life in the aftermath of World Urban Forum 7 at the firstUrban Thinkers Campus, held later in 2014. At that first-of-its-kind event in Caserta, Italy, the members of the World Urban Campaign realized that The City We Need could evolve with input from around the world ahead of Habitat III.

The campaign thus established a temporary initiative, the General Assembly of Partners(GAP), to gather that input. Today, that process is ongoing through the deliberations of 14 partner constituent groups, representing the breadth of civil society with a stake in Habitat III, as well as a series of more than two dozen Urban Thinkers Campuses, which began in June 2015 and will wrap up early this year.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Urban Thinkers Campuses]

Both the outcome of the Urban Thinkers Campuses and the new call for Urban Solutions will contribute to the drafting of the next iteration of The City We Need — version 2.0. The document is slated to be presented on 15 March at the next meeting of the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, in Prague, on the sidelines of the Habitat III Regional Meeting for Europe.

Upon adoption by the campaign, the document will be handed over to the General Assembly of Partners, where it will likely form the basis of that group’s outcome document. Last month, the U. N. General Assembly recognized the GAP as a formal player in the Habitat III process.As such, once the GAP’s outcome document is submitted to the Habitat III secretary-general, it is expected to influence the first draft of the New Urban Agenda, due in April.

Back to Citiscope

Story by “Greg Scruggs, Citiscope”

“Citiscope is a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at Citiscope.org