Category Archives: Governance

Refugee Youth- Why the Silence

The city, known for its diverse population from many countries and cultures, is home to various exemplary youth initiatives that offer social services, cultural programs or sport activities in their respective communities. With a big migrant population and so many vibrant youth initiatives, Friday’s panel on “Youth Migration: Why the Silence” side event held during the Global Conference on Cities and Migration could not have wished for a better setting.

The side event discussed the social and economic risks and opportunities of young migrants and ways on how to improve the social capital and economic integration of youth. Youth in audience had a good chance to listen and learn from best practices and experiences of the distinguished panelists in a discussion guided by Sharmaarke Abdullahi, Programme Management Officer at UN-Habitat’s Youth Unit and Livelihood Unit.

In her keynote speech, Emine Bozkurt, former Dutch member of the European Parliament and daughter of Turkish immigrants, reported how the situation in the Netherlands changed since the arrival of her parents in the 1970s. “Back then, my family was welcomed with music and joy, as labor force was desperately needed.”

In contrast, today European politics seek to discourage people from entering the European territory. Behind this agenda, the stories, wishes, hopes and desperations of individual youth fade away. Migrants are regarded as an anonymous part of a mass phenomenon.

This approach dehumanizes  individuals’ need labeling third and fourth generation migrants as foreigners in their home country. To overcome this situation, Mrs. Bozkurt highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for migrants to participate in civil service positions to contribute in serving the society.. She also indicated that “Ownership, participation, dialogue and creating a sense of belonging are key components to fostering a welcoming spirit among host communities to migrants.

For many communities, an unexpected increase of newcomers often creates new challenges, especially when it comes to spatial integration. In his research, Professor Frank Eckardt from the Bauhaus University Weimar focuses on the spatial integration of refugees and migrants in urban areas.Professor Frank Eckardt identifies three options for city planners to create sufficient housing:

1 Build own houses for refugees; 2) Build new houses in socially diverse areas and provide space for refugees and the local population; 3) Integrate refugees in existing social housing structures.

All options are practiced in Germany, however, Eckardt identified five factors that are crucial for their success:

1) Access to education; 2) A good learning and playing environment for children; 3) An environment that provides emotional support and social control – for young migrants, families often provide this environment; 4) A concentration of migrations in one area must be socially and culturally accepted by the neighbors. Eckardt warns to place migrants in areas with a strong history of xenophobia; finally,
5) The community must identify positive role models, communicate success stories of migrants or refugees and show that a successful integration benefits the community as a whole.

Ahmed Ulla, a young Rohingya-Canadian, shifted the attention from practical guidelines for integration to the challenges he faced when becoming a refugee himself. He grew up in a rich household in Myanmar, but became a refugee when his family was forced to flee to Bangladesh when their life came under threat.

With his father killed, his mother traumatized and all the family possessions lost, his life turned upside down. Fortunately, in 2009 he was resettled to Canada and had the opportunity to start over.

Ahmed Ulla gave insight into the feelings and challenges he faced when he arrived in Canada. He did not know the language and he entered a society, whose way of life he had never imaged to exist nor to have. But, he wanted to take the opportunity he received and build up a new life for himself – with success. Today, he has become an active member in his community. When hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flew Myanmar in August 2017, he launched a campaign in Canada to raise awareness to the situation of his fellow Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and called upon the Canadian Government to step up and help the Rohingya people. The Canadian Government agreed to match every dollar raised.

Kader Sevinç, member of the Turkish CHP and the European Socialists and Democrat’s presidency, underscored the need for richer countries to step up their support for the millions of migrants that are living under severe conditions in many developing countries. “Especially Europe should do more to support the three million migrants in Turkey and the refugees suffering in Libyan camps,” said Kader Sevinç She called for a more active debate in the European public about the responsibility Europeans have to support people in need. She emphasized the need for more local and national government to reject the anti-migration populism that has led to a severe restriction of refugee’s opportunities to find support in Europe and for non-Western migrants to integrate in European societies.

“The aggressive debate about refugees and immigrants that has taken hold of European politics in the last years has led to distinction between “good” and “bad” migrants in the last years,” said Jonas Freist-Held, European representative in the Youth Advisory Board of UN-Habitat adding that “the rights of refugees (e.g. the right to family reunification) have been restricted in the past two years and measures to prevent refugees from crossing Europe’s external borders increased throughout the last two years. At the same time, migrants that do not qualify for asylum have been discredited and labelled as criminals that illegally entered the European Union. Whereas refugees are considered as “good”, because their reasons to come to Europe are considered as legitimate by most people, irregularly arriving migrants have been labelled as “bad” as their reasons to come to Europe are considered illegitimate. This distinction has been enforced by the public debate and political decisions and created an atmosphere of hostility against many people that come to Europe in hope for a better future. “

The individual stories, wishes or hopes of human beings have become irrelevant. This climate poses a challenge to integrate migrants and refugees at the community level. Especially for young migrants, it is difficult to become an active community member in a society that is hostile to their presence.

The different inputs and discussions highlighted what stereotypes and prejudices migrants face, what needs and hopes they have and what impact the public debate has on the capability of communities to successfully integrate newcomers.

To successfully integrate migrants and refugees at the local level, essential challenges such as housing, language, education and labor market participation have were addressed. The panel discussion provided a platform to share different experiences that are relevant to develop policies and activities that facilitate the integration of (young) migrants and refugees in cities at this time when UN-Habitat advocates to #LeaveNoOneBehind.

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Youth and Urbanization | Youth innovation is the clean fuel to light up world cities

“Today, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing, of which 1 billion live in slums and informal settlements. While millions of people lack suitable homes, the stock of vacant houses is gradually increasing. Ensuring housing affordability is therefore a complex issue of strategic importance for development, social peace and Equality. Addressing the housing needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women, youth and those who live in slums must be a priority in the development agendas,” UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos,

In 1985 the United Nations through Resolution 40/202 declared every first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day, with the first celebration held in 1986. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right to adequate shelter of all. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. In December 2013, the United Nations through Resolution A/RES/68/239 designated every 31 October for the celebration of the World Cities Day. World Cities Day is a legacy of the Shanghai Expo 2010 which theme was ‘Better City, Better Life’ and aims to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The World Cities Day was celebrated for the first time in 2014.”

The 2017 theme of the two international days marking Urban October will be at its peak advocating for Innovative Governance, Open Cities”.

This year Urban October celebration will coincide with the first year since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, the outcome document of the Habitat III Conference.

UN-Habitat recognizes that cities are not only places where development happens, but so are they a platform where youth meet to bring their minds together and share their vast experiences to engineer strategic solutions for that development to happen.

UN-Habitat through its Youth and Livelihoods Unit is hosting youth activities across the world to promote the concept of Urban October. One of the key projects is the implementation of a project dubbed the ‘Innovate Counties Challenge’. The project seeks to build youth inclusion in local governance in small and medium sized cities around the use of ICT as a tool for good governance, planning and youth entrepreneurship, ultimately institutionalizing innovative solutions to enhance citizen engagement in line with UN-Habitat’s priorities according to the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Youth drive innovation at the local level, and can if given the proper support; develop solutions for our most pressing urban issues such as transportation, housing, climate change and inequality,” UN-Habitat, Youth and Livelihoods Unit Chief, Douglas Ragan

The Innovate Counties Challenge will kick start in two cities in Kenya, Kisumu and Mombasa, which have also been considered as most affected cities by the heated political instability currently in the country. The project will entail a two day extensive and intensive entrepreneurship boot camp featuring training by business experts in technology, media, finance and more to build resilience among youth residing in the named cities as a means to create sustainable solutions toward achieving social cohesion. This project also aims to empower youth with the adequate knowledge to understand the fundamentals of good governance:

Cities can generate more wealth by utilizing youth intelligence and sufficiently attractive, available and sustainable innovative solutions from youth.

 “And here, is where I find my hope in the youth, because if one looks today in societies there is a trend for them to be closed on themselves, there is a trend for people to be more nationalistic, less and less open to the need to understand that global challenges need global responses, need multinational cooperation, need multilateral institutions,” United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

It is therefore vital and rational for governments to invest in infrastructures and activities that will engage youth and help them find a sense of belonging in cities by putting their innovative skills to practice..

UN-Habitat encourages governments, institutions and persons in power to keep involving youths in shaping the new urban agenda as well as identify sustainable urbanization as a priority.

If youth are not included in urbanization and governance processes then they could become an obstacle to economic development as poorly designed urbanization that does not cater for the needs of youth will become a significant source of poverty and inequality.

Exclusion of youth in such activities as policy making in regard to issues affecting them could lead to a stronger informal sector and higher marginalization, which, in turn, could cause a rise in social conflicts and even threaten the economic, social and environmental stability of countries

“Globalization and technological progress have tremendously increased global wealth; contributed to trade growth, prosperity in many societies and improved living conditions in many parts of the world; extreme poverty has been substantially reduced globally, but, at the same time, inequalities have also grown tremendously,” United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

Youth population and urbanization are rapidly developing at the same time causing profound ramifications on economy and local administration development. The two likewise commonly impact each different as statistic development substantially affects urban planning while the nature of urbanization determines the wellbeing of populations. Urbanization has a growing influence on development and economic trends in cities Urbanization impacts advancement and financial patterns in urban areas

“For housing to contribute to national socio-economic development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda calls for placing housing policies at the center of national urban policies along with strategies to fight poverty, improve health and employment. As we strive to create cities for all, an urgent action for achieving affordable homes requires a global commitment to effective and inclusive housing policies,” UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos,

A large number of events all over the world are taking place as commemoration of the Urban October as well as part of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. UN-Habitat invites all those working on sustainable urban development to join the celebration.

Youth Gathering in South Korea Call for Peace

More than 500 youth from Korea and 19 countries around the world gathered in Goyang, republic of Korea to state their firm commitment to the peace agenda and youth involvement.

The conference, focused on peace as the theme for 2017 International Youth Day through the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was hosted by Youth Now and UN-Habitat supported by the Seoul Housing, Happiness Foundation, Korea Tourism Organization, Goyang City, KINTEX, Kyuongki CVB.

The highlights of the discussions were on the youth commitment to peace, especially in the context of the ongoing tension between North Korea and the world. Examples of Somalia and Kenya which is currently experiencing some level of instability were echoed.

“We call leaders globally to immediately begin a dialogue for peace in the Korean Peninsula. And youth who participated in the Youth week agreed unanimously to take appropriate action towards sustainable peace for the world.

‘We are here to find the connection between the SDGs which is the UN template for sustainable growth and peace’ Kim Juyong, Executive Director of Youth Now, “We cannot continue to go down this insane path of destruction; all the youth gathered here from all cities across South Korea and around the world must make a declaration of working towards sustainable peace. We expect that our leaders should lead from the front”

Mayor Choi Song of Goyang City told the gathered youth “You are the hope for peace for the Korean peninsula and around the world … Goyang City will take the initiative in promoting international movements for peaceful unification in cooperation with peace leaders worldwide.” The Mayor also declared the week April 13 – 15 International Peace week in Goyan City.

Linus Sijenyi of UN Habitat representing Mr Douglas Ragan said ‘The world is experiencing numerous challenges today. Lack of employment, the rise of terror groups, climatic changes which cause massive destruction of life and properties, all these have contributed to massive instabilities across the globe. Deliberate and concrete efforts has to be put in place to ensure the youth have gainful employment, deliberate policies put in place to secure the place of the youth in the society, police and other law enforcers to work together with the youth to ensure peace and to avoid this assumptions that the youth are the problems but actually the solutions.

Linus Sijenyi of UN Habitat

Other speakers who echoed similar sentiments include Changheum, Byun CEO, Seoul Housing And Communities Corporation, Teayoon KIm, representing the youth, Youngseo Min, chair of advisory committee, Doyoung Kim CSR team leader, SK broadband, Donyun Kim, Professor, Sungkyunkwan University, Mr. Yossi (Offer, CofoundDevelopment Jerusalem, Mr. Nguyen Quang, Programme Manager, UN-Habitat Vietnam Office. As a way of providing opportunities to the youth as the ambassadors of peace, youth delegates promised to mobilize resources to initiate an e-sport center in Kibera and Mathare Kenya.

This will provide employment as well as act as exchange programme centers for the Korean students.

 

UN-Habitat: Innovate Counties Challenge promotes peace and sustainable human development

Peace and Governance

Good governance is a path to peace.  Good governance is about the processes for making and implementing decisions. Not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about the best possible process for making those decisions.

Poor governance on the flip side, offers greater incentives and more opportunities for corruption—the abuse of public office for private gains. Corruption undermines the public’s trust in its government. It also threatens market integrity, distorts competition, and endangers economic development.  The citizen is disenfranchised as their voices are unheard and their needs unmet making them prone to resorting to conflict as a measure or expressing their dissatisfaction with the status and as a means for advocating for change.

Three parallel dynamics—the “youth bulge”, the ICT dynamics and the devolution process—are setting the stage for promoting good governance in towns and cities of Kenya. The growing number of young urban citizens, coupled with the explosion of hand-held devices is introducing new challenges and opportunities for both local governments and youth that have not been adequately addressed. It appears that the scope of concerns crosses into new and uncharted territory as governance itself is transformed by fast-moving changes of ICT in the hands of the youth. UN-Habitat started to address these converging trends through the development of a conceptual framework on improving local governance for youth using ICTs articulated in its “ICT, Youth & Urban Governance” paper.

Further, UN-Habitat implemented a project dubbed the ‘Innovate Counties Challenge Project’ seeking to build capacity of local government in small and medium sized cities around the use of ICT as a tool for good governance, planning and youth engagement, ultimately institutionalizing innovative solutions to enhance citizen engagement in line with UN-Habitat’s priorities according to the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

This project promoted the fundamentals of good governance:

County governments are bound to deliver services and tangible outcomes for their main constituency, the majority of which in Kenya are youth. County governments are key players in Kenya’s relatively new devolution framework and can use ICT as a tool to improve urban public service delivery, operational efficiency and planning and design.

Accountability

Local government has an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions it has made on behalf of the community it represents. Thus local governments can have better reporting by using ICT tools developed by youth.

Transparency

Citizens should be able to follow and understand the decision-making process. This means that they will be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made – what information, advice and consultation considered, and which legislative requirements (when relevant) were followed. Most of the time this is not the case as most decision-making channels are made via traditional media and require physical presence. ICT tools can promote more participation digitally.

Responsive

Local governments should always try to serve the needs of the entire community while balancing competing interests in a timely, appropriate and responsive manner. ICT tools can be used to capture citizen needs more comprehensively.

Equity and inclusivity

A community’s well being results from all of its members feeling local governments have considered their interests in the decision-making process. This means that all groups, particularly the most vulnerable, should have opportunities to participate in the process. This is the core of the project. The youth, an often-marginalized group in decision-making, are the drivers of this project with their views sought and their niche is ICT harnessed to develop digital tools to solve governance challenges.

Efficiency

Local government should implement decisions and follow processes that make the best use of the available people, resources and time to ensure the best possible results for their community. Employing ICT tools in governance processes enhances efficiency.

Participatory

Anyone affected by or interested in a decision should have the opportunity to participate in the process for making that decision. This can happen in several ways – community members may be provided with information, asked for their opinion, given the opportunity to make recommendations or, in some cases, be part of the actual decision-making process. This is the backbone of the Innovate Counties Challenge. Incorporating views from pertinent representatives such as academia, media, civil society, private sector, local governments, youth groups, etc.

And in this week, we showcase how the Innovate Counties Challenge Project has provided a framework to foster good governance thereby promoting peace and consequently, sustainable human development.

Rhoda Omenya| Youth and Livelihoods Unit, UN-Habitat

#HackForMombasa

Courtesy of Rhoda Omenya, UN-Habitat

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Hacking. A word more often than not, heavy with negative connotations – specifically with reference to digital technologies. Today, mainstream use of hacking still refers criminal activities but has also given rise to a positive meaning – use of technical computer expertise to solve problems. Extrapolated to the term hackathon – an intense 24 or 48 hour event that provides a venue for self-expression and creativity through technology where people with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code a unique solution from scratch — these generally take shape in the form of websites, mobile apps, and robots.

UN-Habitat, Youth and Livelihoods Unit in collaboration with SwahiliBox, held a hackathon on May 20th – 21st, in Mombasa County to solve urban challenges that the county is facing. This hackathon is part of a project dubbed Innovate Counties Challenge Project that seeks to include local government partnerships in enabling governance technology applications developed by youth, have tangible impact at the community level. These challenges were identified in a challenge workshop previously held with participation and contribution from a cross cutting representation of pertinent persons from academia, civil society, youth groups, private sector, media and the core partners of the project, the county representatives particularly in the Youth and ICT departments.

The hackathon had participation from students as a result of outreach sessions done at Technical University of Kenya, Mount Kenya University, Kenyatta University and Kenya Methodist University. From the sign-up sheet, 71% were participating in their first hackathon, an indication of both the novelty of the hackathon and the challenges that would be faced therein. As such having the participants take part in a continuous 48 hour hackathon would be strenuous and thus was split in two full days.  Web4All, an ICT Enterprise founded with the sole aim of utilizing ICT to Improve the Livelihood of People in Africa, facilitated the hackathon.

In the first day of the hackathon, participants were grouped into the challenges they wanted to solve and taken through ideation and theme matching, meeting user needs and problem solving and low fidelity prototypes and placeholder sites under rotational mentorship. This enabled them to immerse themselves into the problems they were trying to solve by understanding the main person faced with the challenge – in line with human centered design’s core principle of empathy. Ultimately aiding the teams to narrow their thinking to one solution – what they were envisioning, for whom and how the solution would ameliorate the user(s) life. Day 1 concluded with hacking of their solutions.

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Figure 1 Participants at the end of Day 1

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Figure 2 Working through the Idea Canvas

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Figure 3 John Paul from Web4All taking participants through the Business Model Canvas

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Figure 4 Taking a break to fuel the body

Day 2 of the hackathon had the participants hacking and finalizing their solutions, as the mentors took them through deck preparation and pitching for the presentation.

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Figure 5 Mock pitching to mentors

The hackathon had four judges:

  1. Nyevu Karisa – County Government of Mombasa Officer, Department of Trade, Energy and Industrial Development
  2. David Ogiga – Director, Sote Hub
  3. Adam Chagani – Consultant, UNODC
  4. Sharmaarke Abdullahi – Project Management Officer, UN-Habitat

The air was stiff as teams began presenting their seven minute terse pitches, with a three minute follow up Q&A from the judges. There were thirteen teams exhibiting solutions on varied governance problems from service delivery (waste, transport and water management), tourism promotion, urban farming, county government transparency, to the often forgotten social and intangible human facets of drug abuse, etc. The judges evaluated the presentations based on the tangibility of the solution (thus showing the team’s grasp of the problem being solved), the solution’s feasibility on a technical level, its creativity and originality. Further, the teams had to show that the solution is socially acceptable, economically viable and environmentally sustainable. The teams were additionally judged on their cohesiveness and presentation skills.

The judges then went into weighty deliberations, finally agreeing on the top three teams:

  • Winners: Mji Safi with their innovative solution of preventing food produce at markets turning into organic waste. This would be done using an inventory control system, working with a market management authority and vendors.

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Figure 6 Winners: Mji Safi

  • First Runners Up: Azucorp with a hardware solution of delivering urgent medical supplies using drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) thereby reimagining transport modes. This solution comes an opportune time as the Government of Kenya has recently approved the use of commercial drones.

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Figure 7 First Runners Up Azucorp

  • 2nd Runners Up: Veve with an interactive web portal for both locals and tourists to restore Mombasa as a tourist destination and thereby reversing the drop in Foreign Direct Investment and specifically the five year drop in tourism earnings.

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Figure 8 2nd Runners Up – Veve

Special mention is given to Aqua Harvesters who came in sixth with their novel solution of a solar desalination and pump system that sanitizes and distributes water by exploiting road traffic movement to push water without fuel – consequently tackling water scarcity and quality.

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Figure 9 Judges

Looking ahead, the top six teams will be taken through a fundamental training on the startups and entrepreneurship to give them the starting block to techpreneurship whereas the winners, Mji Safi will continue on with the incubation to develop their solution for piloting and provide them with the necessary skills to develop a business model for scale.

The two days captured the vision, creativity, resourcefulness, and imagination of youth despite the newness of a hackathon in Mombasa County. Emboldening them should be a never ending exploit.

 

News Letter Brief; Strengthening Policy for Young Women in the Changing World of Work, Case Study: Kampala Municipality, Uganda

Courtesy of Judith Mulwa, UN-Habitat

StWOW Publication Capturerengthening Policy for Young Women in the Changing World of Work, Case Study: Kampala Municipality, Uganda, is a research publication sponsored by UK-AID to Plan International UK. UN-Habitat played a key advisory role on policy at municipal level, to the innovation hub, which aimed to challenge social norms and practices that keep girls and young women in positions of powerlessness in the World of Work (WoW). This resonates to the Commission on the Status of Women 61, 2017: Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work. The research aims to elaborate the need for an enabling policy environment and/or enforce legislation that enhances gender equality for girls and young women in the WoW.

The publication appreciates that local governments are the key vehicles for formulating interventions, and a key partner in the implementation of a Local Economic Development (LED) strategy. In this regard, the local government is discussed to work hand in hand with other stakeholders in contextualizing gender gaps and addressing gender imbalances. This is relevant in addressing social and cultural practices that keep young women in positions of powerlessness in the WoW.

As a result, the publication contextualizes the position of the Republic of Uganda, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), on gender integration, mainstreaming and implementation, while also proposing interventions to progress the proposed recommendations and achieve the goals of inclusion and equality for women in the WoW. This was achieved through a Desk Study, a gender lensed policy analysis and a Key Informant Discussion (KID) to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

The methodology provided the background to existing policy as well as recommendations towards improving women’s economic, social, and political status. These recommendations include working with a variety of stakeholders to help strengthen partnerships, involving the private sector in gender mainstreaming and awareness raising, advocacy and lobbying, entrepreneurship training, and bridging the gaps between legislation and communities at the KCCA. This resonates with the gender-responsive nature of the recently adopted New Urban Agenda (NUA), which has been adopted to guide urban centers. In addition, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015, in particular Goal 5, to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls and Goal 11, to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

To download the publication, click

https://unhabitat.org/books/strengthening-policy-for-young-women-in-the-changing-world-of-work-2/

Peace, Progress and Employment Opportunities for Youth

GC26

Courtesy of Rhoda Omenya, UN-Habitat

‘Opportunities for the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) – an apt theme of the twenty-sixth session of the Governing Council (GC26) delving into prospects for attaining the NUA – a global roadmap setting global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities by fostering cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector.

Commitments have been made in the NUA such as: “Everyone has the right to benefit from what their cities offer. The New Urban Agenda calls on local governments to take into account the needs of women, youth and children, people with disabilities, marginalized groups, older persons, indigenous people, among other groups.

With this in mind, experts and practitioners from the UN, World Bank, private sector, and national and local government; were brought together to deliberate in a side event dubbed Combating Poverty and Promoting Peace through Job Creation Opportunities for Young Men and Women in African Cities that took place on 8th May 2017.

John Sibi Okumu, a Kenyan media consultant, editor and translator; moderated the event that began with a moment of silence and remembrance for the late H.E. Abass Siraji, Somali Minister of Public Works, Housing and Reconstruction, who was killed in an accident involving bodyguards of another government official. The late Abass, who was Somalia’s youngest member of cabinet, was to give the keynote address that was given by Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda.

Mr. Mohieldin shared on the World Bank’s researches on Africa showing dense and disconnected cities that are expensive for households. Further city growth in Africa has not in tandem with economic growth as is the case in Asian nations such as China and Vietnam. He also shared on the collaborations that World Bank has with UN-Habitat such as – municipal finance. Improved municipal finance, infrastructure investment and improved land management as some of the key action points for policy makers to focus on in light of sustainable growth of cities. Moreover, he emphasized on the need to incorporate technology in order to gain the involvement of youth in city growth.

‘Before proposing a new idea, it is useful to eliminate existing bad ideas’ – Mr. Mohieldin.

Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the Deputy Executive Director, UN-Habitat then thanked all participants of the side event, welcomed them to GC26 and specifically to the discussion on youth, women and jobs.

Her opening remarks were followed by a case study presentation on Shaqeso  Training Programme – part of the Youth Employment Programme (YES) in Somalia. As an integrated 3 month training programme targeting youth aged between 17 and 25 – launched in Oct 2016; YES aims to capitalize on recent security, governance and reconciliation achievements in Somalia. Through the programme youth acquire comprehensive life skills, construction skills training, how to build your own business, among others. Through the programme Mogadishu youth are able to meet, socialize an acquire skills that will increase their employability given the bleak employment landscape in Somali especially for youth and more so in the formal sector.

The case study presentation was part of a moderated discussion on the same by a panel comprising:

  • Ms. Aminata Traore, Former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mali
  • Mr. Nick Langford, Country Head, Kenya, Tatu City
  • Ms. Mary Kawar, Director, ILO Country Office, East Africa
  • Ms. Margaret Koli, UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board
  • Joyati Das, Senior Director, Urban Programs, World Vision International

Here are some snippets of their comments:

  • Ms. Aminata Traore: ‘The more important thing is to question the economic model. Is it creating jobs? If the economy is not able to create jobs, then the country is in trouble. Peace building starts by job creation’.
  • Mr. Nick Langford: ‘Kenya’s most pressing problem is youth unemployment’.
  • Ms. Mary Kawar: ‘African women have a higher economic participation in comparison to the Arab States and yet the work is not paying enough. Peacebuilding has direct implications on labor relations – fair working conditions for everyone (both employer and employee)’.
  • Ms. Margaret Koli: ‘Collaboration among young people has resulted in a myriad of innovations’.
  • Joyati Das: ‘With guidance and active involvement, youth can become peace builders’.

Throughout the session, the emerging theme was that youth are not only leaders of tomorrow but leaders of today and they matter. When equipped with the right tools and given opportunities to lead, youth are catalysts of progress and peace.

In his last speech at TEDxMogadishu 2017, the late H.E. Abass emphasized the importance of young people in rebuilding a nation. Before he finished the talk, Abass posed a very emotional question: “Everyone should ask themselves, what can you do for your country?

We ask: “What can you do for your youth?”

 

New feature at GC! Welcome to the SDGs Digital Media Zone!

For the first time ever, we’ve brought the SDGs Digital Media Zone to the UN-Habitat’s Governing Council. The SDGs Media Zone is a platform for editors, bloggers, content creators and influencers to communicate innovations, partnerships and discussions as a call to action for humanity to engage the Sustainable Development Goals. Inspired by the original model developed by the Pvblic Foundation, and heavily supported by their incredible team, we have adapted the plan to create a space to talk about everything important, highlight the best practices from the field and discuss the role of young people in the New Urban Agenda and other global processes. All of these have been captured on short videos and posted across our social media, powered by #GC26, #Cities4All and #SDGLive.

The team of dedicated volunteers enthusiastically interviewed our special guests, ranging from government officials, ambassadors, civil society representatives, partners and of course, youth. Everyone had something interesting to say or share and we can only encourage you to watch the full videos of the interviews as there are some interesting stories right there! Find out how Colombia is planning to include young people in the peacebuilding process or how a small NGO is fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria. You will not regret!

Links to the videos:

http://fb.me/26e8iIKNu  (Norwegian Youth Delegate, Aleksander Gjøsæter)

http://fb.me/8pnVDPvb4  (Colombian Ambassador to Kenya, her Excellency Ms. Elizabeth Taylor)

http://fb.me/1Ozv7cQW0 (Secretary General of the Moroccan Ministry of Housing and Urban Spaces, Ms. Fatna Chihab)

http://fb.me/3mxqMP0rf (SENA-Colombia representative, Ms. Luisa Fernanda Gallo)

http://fb.me/6AFHqQSHZ  (AIESEC Representative, Ms. Tanya – Part 1)

http://fb.me/1aiq9FKLI  (AIESEC Representative, Ms. Tanya- Part 2)

http://fb.me/4ltFnLy0a (North East Youth Coalition organization (Nigeria) representative, Mr. Ballisum Luka)

http://fb.me/62p1B0gzy (Mr. Alfred Otieno from Police is My Brother Initiative organization).

http://fb.me/1ma2GOdAU (Mogadishu One Stop Youth Centre, Life Skills trainer, Mr. Abdikadir Dubow Mohamed)

http://fb.me/yAsz4udh (UN-Habitat Somalia Programme, National Programme Officer, Mr. Liban Mallin)

http://fb.me/11xD73Fqi (National Environment Management Authoritative in Kenya, Mr. Kimani Muruku)

https://www.facebook.com/youthfund/

 

 

 

GC26 Youth Events Programme

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COMMUNIQUÉ

Young People at the Centre of the New Urban Agenda

UN-Habitat Youth Unit

Announcing our side event plans for the 26th Session of Governing Council

Are you attending the 26th session of the Governing Council taking place from May 8th-12th? The UN-Habitat Youth Unit is excited to announce our side events taking place throughout the session. The youth side events will highlight a different innovative youth-led programme each day, which include enhancing youth participation in peace, local governance and development featuring the One Stop Youth Centre model.

Our planned activities include:

…and much more. Please view the Side Event page for a full list of other events.

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Please help us spread the word by sharing this communique with other colleagues attending the 26th Session of the Governing Council.

 

UN-Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board at GC 26!!

 

YAB GC story pic
YAB hosted by the United Nations Association of Germany in Berlin for talks with representatives of the Government of Germany, Mayor of Berlin and stakeholders. 

Mandated by the UN-Habitat Governing Council, the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board (YAB) will be participating in the 26th Governing Council of UN-Habitat, ready to represent the voices of the global youth that elected the board in 2015.

 

To bring together all the youth joining the GC, UN-Habitat’s youth unit and the YAB are hosting youth caucuses every morning to discuss important developments at the GC and to organize that the various youth representatives speak with a coherent voice.

 

In addition, the YAB members will be involved in various events and consultations. On Monday, May 8th Margaret Koli, African representative on the YAB, will give input at a side event on “Combating poverty and promoting peace through job creation. Opportunities for young people.” On Tuesday, May 9th Jonas Freist-Held, European representative on the YAB will join a special session on housing in Europe, led by the German government and will give insights on challenges young people face in Europe.

 

The week’s highlight will be the YAB’s side event “From Rhetoric to Action: The UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board and the Berlin Declaration” with high level panelists such as UN-Habitat’s DED, YAB members, and representatives of the German GIZ, the European UN-Habitat office, UN MGCY as well as the Russian youth representative and the Norwegian delegate.