Tag Archives: Governing Council

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)






The 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council- What’s in it for #Youth? – #GC25 #Habitat3

2014-09-18 09.34.46

My name is Tone Vesterhus, I am the youth delegate for Norway to the 25th Governing Council. I have been following UN-Habitat and the Habitat III process since the beginning of 2014.

Unfortunately there were not many youth delegates in the official government delegations at the Governing Council this year, Brazil was the only other delegation to have a youth delegate. This comes to show that we have to stress the importance of delegations including youth delegates, as the Governing Council really only does consist of the member states of UN-Habitat, and there is not much space for civil society, at least not formally.

I will try to give a recap of the most important things that happened at the Governing Council, especially youth related issues. First, I will give an overview of the most important resolutions that were discussed.


Strategic plan for 2014–2019 and the work programme and budget of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme for the biennium 2016–2017

The work program and the attached budget is the most instrumental tool for the work of UN-Habitat, and what goes in there, goes. This, in addition to the omnibus is the most important resolution that the Governing Council discusses and adopts.

The work programme and budget resolution can be read here: https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/sites/papersmart.unon.org.habitatgc25/files/K1501210.pdf

Omnibus: Implementation of the strategic plan for 2014–2019

This resolution gives direction on how to implement the strategic plan of UN-Habitat. The initial idea for this Governing Council was to have an “omnibus” resolution, a resolution that touches upon most of the substantive issues regarding the work of UN-Habitat. This was instead of there being 20 different resolutions for the different themes. Although there was a fair few other resolutions that came up anywas, it contributed to reduce the amount substantially.

The omnibus resolution can be read here: https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/sites/papersmart.unon.org.habitatgc25/files/K1501218.pdf

In addition to these two, there was a resolution on the special theme for the Governing Council, namely UN-Habitats contribution towards the post-2015 agenda, a resolution on the Habitat III process, a resolution on strengthening the national ownership and operational capacity as well as a resolution on international guidelines on urban and territorial planning. They can all be read here:  https://papersmart.unon.org/habitatgc25/?q=taxonomy/term/22


Youth highlights

Mainstreaming of youth in UN-Habitat and the financing of it

The most important thing that the Governing Council adopted (youth related anyways), was the mainstreaming of youth in UN-Habitat. In the omnibus resolution the following paragraph was agreed upon:

The governing council requests the Executive Director to continue to pursue the mainstreaming of youth and gender equality perspectives in the normative work and operational programmes of the United Nations Human Settlements programme and to ensure that youth and gender equality and empowerment remain an important part of the preparatory process for Habitat III and of the substantive content of the New Urban Agenda;

Even more importantly, a similar paragraph was adopted in the work program and budget, with the additional wording “and that the resources be allocated accordingly”, meaning, we do not just agree upon the mainstreaming of youth, we actually request the executive director to spend the amount of resources needed in order for that to be achieved. All in all, a pretty good achievement. There was a lot of discussions on this paragraph in both resolutions, as some member states were reluctant to, quite frankly, spend money on this. Luckily it remained in there.

A strong focus on youth unemployment and job creation for youth

In the omnibus resolution there were two paragraphs that highlighted the need for a focus on youth unemployment, and that UN-Habitat needs to work on this issue.

The Governing Council Requests the Executive Director to address the high rates of youth unemployment by developing high-level programmes and policies, thereby enabling the United Nations Human Settlements Programme to work with member States and local authorities to develop and implement targeted and integrated local and national youth              employment and entrepreneurship programmes and policies for inclusive, sustainable and innovative job creation;

The Governing Council invites member States to work towards the prevention of slums, the empowerment of slum communities and the strengthening of institutional mechanisms equipping slum dwellers to contribute to the improvement of the living environment, aiming   at promoting social, economic and political inclusion and poverty eradication through, among other things, access to sustainable mobility, skills and capacity development, the creation of job opportunities, in particular for women and young people, public spaces and respect for cultural diversity, and by strengthening linkages to the formal settings in the rural and urban surroundings of slum settlements;

These were both paragraphs that all member states more or less agreed upon from the beginning, and there was no sign of reluctance towards mentioning youth specifically as a key actor in sustainable urbanization. This is historic. Youth has previously been a highly contested issue.

Maybe then, we have reached a point where we can all just agree upon the simple fact that youth are a driving force of positive change, and that youthless development is useless development.

Youth @ The 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council – 4th DAY – WRAP UP!

Youth Caucus – Wednesday – 22/04

Today we kicked off our Youth Caucus with a presentation about “Youth and Urbanization – A strategy for youth in UN-Habitat”, led by Helene Opsal from the UN-Habitat Youth Unit. The presentation explored some of the data we have about youth population in the urban world, and why it is so important to think about the youth perspective when it comes to urbanization.

The presentation emphasized that UN-Habitat recognizes youth as right-holders and apply the 5 Principles of Youth-Led Development in it’s youth programming, which are:

1.Youth define their own development goals and objectives;

2.Youth have a social and physical space to participate in development and to be regularly consulted;

3.Adult mentorship and peer-to-peer mentorship are encouraged;

4.Youth act as role models to help other youth engage in development; and

5.Youth are integrated into all local and national development programs and frameworks.

The presentation also covered the UN-Habitat proposed “three legged approach” which consist of:

– Urban Planning and Design – directs urbanization

– Legislation – guides implementation of plans

– Urban Finance – pays for planned and legislated urbanization

And we discussed some of the entry points for youth.

You can download the entire presentation here: Youth and Urbanization Presentation (Three Legged Approach) 

We took the opportunity to discuss about the UN-Habitat Youth strategy, which guides the work of the agency and the need for rethinking and update the curernt strategy, which we are hoping to do collaboratively online (More about it in the next post!)

We than, moved into discussing the resolutions, and we dedicated some time to reading through the current version of the Omnibus Resolution, particularly looking into the paragraphs relevant to youth! You can download the version of the resolution here: K1500938-HSP-GC-25-3-Add-1-ADVANCE markup

Side Event – “Using ICTs for youth participation in the design of public space projects” 

Organized by: UN-Habitat, Mojang, Mojang, Major Group for Children and Youth and Kounkuey Design Initiative.


The event was organized considering the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11), on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It looked at the opportunities presented by SDG 11 for an enhanced focus on urban public spaces while debating how young people can take active part in implementing, monitoring and reporting on the “urban goal” with particular focus on target 11.7 which aims to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities by 2030.

The event addressed young people’s ability to design and plan for safe, inclusive and accessible urban public spaces that provide opportunities for knowledge, civic engagement, employment as well as leisure activities. It presented the methodology of using Minecraft as a community participation tool and showcase case studies from around the world as successful examples of ICT’s potential in creating local ownership and engagement.

As cities grow and densify, access to well-designed and pleasant public spaces are becoming increasingly important. This is particularly true for those citizens – for example single mothers, the elderly and young people with low income – whose living circumstances are lacking in quality and comfort, or who are in special need of decent road infrastructure and communal spaces for health, recreation and socialization. Improving access to public spaces on the part of vulnerable urban residents is a powerful tool to improve equity in the city.

Chris Dekki, from the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, spoke about the crucial role young people can make in shaping communities and the importance of ensuring youth is part of the decision-making table.

ICT in the hands of youth can improve urban development, governance and livelihood opportunities, including by addressing issues of public space. Mobile phones with access to social media allow young people to engage local government on their own terms, expressing voice and engaging in community life. Building on existing social networks to extend into areas of governance can help improve local services and transparency and fight corruption. User generated data through social media and data-gathering apps can be used to promote opportunities which help local governments understand preferences of citizens, as well as to monitor service delivery and provide feedback to government. ICT provides a range of avenues for participatory planning that can improve urban public spaces.

Minecraft is a ‘sandbox’ computer game developed by Mojang and launched in 2011. The game has sold over 60 million copies worldwide, making it one of the world’s best-selling computer games. The gameplay is perhaps best imagined as a complex ‘digital Lego’. The creative aspects of Minecraft allow players to build structures out of textured cubes in a three-dimensional generated world, thus creating buildings similar to those produced by complex 3D modelling software.

Minecraft has been shown to be a useful tool in engaging young people in the design of urban public space projects. As part of the public space implementation process, participatory planning workshops are held with local youth in which they provide input into the design and eventual implementation and management of spaces. By using Minecraft in this way, young people are given the confidence to make urban professionals and policy makers listen to their ideas for improving the city. You can learn more about the project here: http://blockbyblock.org/about

You can watch the message by Lydia Winters, Director of Communications at Mojang, which explains a bit about how Minecraft is being used as a tool among young people: 

Community participation workshops with youth and Minecraft have been held in Kenya, Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia, Peru, Nepal, Philippines and Bangladesh. The projects implemented so far show that using Minecraft adds value to community participation processes. Power relationships are changed, communities are engaged in new ways and the process presents great opportunities to engage hard-to-reach groups, particularly young people.

Bukonola Ngobi, from Kounkuey Design Initiative (http://www.kounkuey.org/) concluded the event bringing a strong hands-on example of how young people are already transforming their communities using ICTs. You can see her full presentation here: UN-Habitat Side Event 22-04-2014