The countdown is on! Since the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in Quito in October 2016, we’ve been working with our partners, AIESEC International, to develop a global campaign and a game to spark the real action of young people in their cities that will contribute towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
To celebrate that young people were recognized as key stakeholders in the drafting process of the New Urban Agenda as well as in its implementation, we want to put them in the front line of action to turn NUA from paper to reality. The power of 1.8 billion is not just in its volume! Young people’s potential, capacity, passion and drive are the reasons we believe they can be the first ones to act! Unlike governments, they have the freedom and flexibility to start working immediately and we want to ensure that every young person out there feels the same way.
At the occasion of UN-Habitat’s 26th Governing Council, Ms. Tanya Landysheva from AIESEC International paid us a visit in Nairobi to help us launch this exciting game.
#Urban Action is part of a larger campaign to engage youth on the Road to 2030, Youth 4 Global Goals. To make it all more fun and engaging, we’ve created a game around the process and results. The game revolves around all SDGs and their relation to SDG 11. The main mission is to create better cities while fighting typical urban challenges along the way. 16 challenges posted weekly shall contribute to creating nicer, safer, more resilient, and more sustainable cities, thus not only hitting SDG 11. targets but also significantly contributing to implementing the New Urban Agenda.
While we’re still fixing some last details, stay tuned and keep checking the youth4globalgoals.org/urbanaction website so you don’t miss the start! Game on!
Written by: Judith Mulwa
Colombia, April 2016: UN-Habitat’s Youth Unit in partnership with Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) launched the Colombia Urban Youth Fund Window at the AIESEC’s Youth Speak Forum. Over 300 young people witnessed the event from the Latin America & the Caribbean region, as well as UN-Habitat’s Youth and Livelihood Unit Leader, Mr. Douglas Ragan, Habitat Programme Manager in Colombia, Mr. Edgar Cataño Sánchez, SENA’s Director of International Relations, Dr. Juan Pablo Castro, and the president of AIESEC Colombia, Mr. Juan Carlos Fayad. This is one of four of similar cooperation’s globally, which makes it possible to fund several youth- led projects from the same country and have an increased presence in the region. The Colombia Urban Youth Fund window aims to focus on vulnerable and minority youth by contributing to strengthen their entrepreneurship capacity while at the same time assisting them to build their capacity to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). The fund will empower these youth by providing them with grants and project management training to ensure the projects succeed.
The windows draw their framework and practices from the Global Urban Youth Fund program that has provided grants and capacity building to selected organizations in developing countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Caribbean and the Arab States. Annually, more than 8,000 youth-led organizations respond to the call for applications and about 30 organizations are selected to receive grants of up to USD 25,000. The Fund supports new and innovative ideas and solutions for job creation, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure planned and implemented by youth-led groups globally. This is with the aim of providing innovative solutions towards Sustainable Urban Development.
UN-Habitat embraces the belief that youth are a solution for sustainable urban development; the 21st session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council recognized this and proposed the fund with the objective to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda. UN-Habitat also trusts that the funded projects provide best practices on youth-led development important for undertaking researches. This in light of creating greater awareness of youth-led development and the urgency to ensure that youth perspectives are integrated into local, national and international development policies and strategies.
Dr. Juan Pablo Castro, SENA’s Director of International Relations endorsed the project and said that it was necessary in building the social and economic development in Colombia with a great focus on youth, vulnerable youth and minority youth. At the end of the launch the two partner representatives, Mr. Douglas Ragan and Dr. Juan Pablo Castro signed a letter of intent.
Bogota witnessed something very special on Friday 8th April, 2016. Over 300 young people from the Latin America & the Caribbean region gathered in the Colombian Capital for AIESEC’s Youth Speak Forum, which was organized in partnership with UN-HABITAT and PVBLIC Foundation to bring LATAM youth voices to the discussions around Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.
The energy in the room was electrifying from the moment the participants strolled in, making the event one not to forget. The whole thing kicked off with a dialogue between Mr. Douglas Ragan, the Chief of Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT and Mr. Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, the Chairman of PVBLIC Foundation and co-founder of P3GM. The gentlemen had an extremely interesting and engaging discussion around the importance of public/private partnerships for global political frameworks, SDGs and 2030 Agenda and building sustainable and resilient cities. What we’ve learned is that the partnerships need to be reinvented with a purpose, if we ever want to achieve anything. The private sector struggles to understand the importance of working for a cause and is thus largely missing on new market opportunities. Although it may not seem so, young people play a critical role in the equation. Public and private sector needs them more than they need them in the battle of social transformation and community development in cities. Therefore, it’s a three-way partnership that we need to look at if we want to make a difference.
Surrounded by inspiring and highly experienced professionals from various backgrounds, the participants had a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions in 12 breakout sessions that were designed to make them discuss different issues young people face in contemporary cities. The outcomes and recommendations from each session were then collected and presented at the end of the day as a draft positioning of LATAM youth towards Habitat III. Completing the statement will take a while but it was clear from the beginning that in order to achieve any enhancement of LATAM cities, mindsets of ordinary people as well as people in power will have to change and communication will have to improve.
With Habitat III in Ecuador fast approaching, we have to continue working together to ensure that young people are not only heard but are present at the negotiations in October. Watch this space for updates what’s next.
On February 16, 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco, a new global campaign was born. Created for young people to promote and contribute to achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the campaign will educate, empower and engage youth in the global process. UN-HABITAT joins forces with AIESEC International, PVBLIC Foundation and Asian Development Bank to launch this very important campaign that aims to reach hundreds of thousands young people worldwide and become part of the history.
Unlike with the Millennium Development Goals, young people have an opportunity to play a significant role in achieving SDGs since the very beginning of the process. They have the skills as well as the capacity to plan and deliver, especially because they are not hindered by bureaucracies of governments and large international organizations. Thus, the way the world will be shaped by 2030 depends largely on youth engagement and youth participation in the SDGs projects and initiatives.
In 2016, the campaign has a number of its own ambitious goals. With the help of the founding partners, #Youth4GG wants to reach out to 1,000,000 young people across the world through the Youth Speak Survey. It is important to understand how young people themselves view the world and its challenges, what solutions they propose and what they imagine the world in 2030 to be like. Youth Speak Forums, organized to bring together young and senior leaders from a diverse cross-sectorial background, are held to ensure that young people are not only aware of SDGs, but that they understand the message, the targets and the indicators. Over 15,000 youth leaders are invited to attend the forums in the upcoming months. Lastly, the action. It’s time we walk the talk and shift our focus from the conference halls to action on the ground. 28,000 young people are expected to take an action in 2016, however small or large, to contribute towards achievement of SDGs.