Tag Archives: Habitat III

It’s World Cities Day!

It’s a World Cities Day! So what are you doing to make your city a better place?

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Since 2013, the 31st October is designated to celebrate the world’s cities and draw attention to its opportunities and challenges. In fact, the whole month of October was dedicated to promote better urban future, with Habitat III – the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development as a highlight of the month. The conference brought over 30,000 delegates to the Ecuadorian Capital Quito to discuss the way forward for our cities in the next 20 years and representatives of all the member states who took it upon them to commit to deliver on the newly adopted New Urban Agenda.

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But the change and advancement of our cities is not only up to our governments. We young people have equal responsibility to contribute to making our cities more liveable, sustainable, safe and resilient. And how are we going to do it? That’s up to you! There are no “one size fits all” guidelines. The world’s cities are as diverse as our societies, with their unique structures, cultural heritage and vibrant people. They require individual approach that takes into consideration all its special features. It is up to you to be creative and design a plan of action that is doable, smart and impactful.

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Motivated? Great! Join the #UrbanAction, a global campaign to encourage young people all over the world to take action in their cities to advance SDGs and support NUA. Sign up and share your ideas, your plan of action, struggles and victories with the others! Inspire them! Motivate them! Join them! Together we can do so much more than on our own! In the spirit of the SDG 17, let’s build unbreakable partnerships between all segments of society and make our urban future better.

http://www.youth4globalgoals.org/urbanaction

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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!

Youth Joining Voices with PrepCom3 Multi-Stakeholder Delegates

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

#H3Youth kept up the momentum built after the huge success of WUYM and other youth parallel event(s) at PrepCom3.  Their activities were in good cooperation with the broader multi-stakeholder groups who worked hard to bring about a more inclusive New Urban Agenda with an eye toward its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  Youth groups voiced their staunch and great support for cities and local governments, as well as for the Right to the City initiative, together with the broader civil society and advocates for local governments.  Youth activists with disability linked up with stakeholder group(s) to lobby with great effectiveness to mainstream important considerations for people with disability and those living in extreme poverty in urban settings.

Two official side events at PrepCom3, both on 27 July 2016, gave centre stage to discuss youth empowerment and contribution in the sustainable and inclusive urban agenda.  The first was “Prioritizing Children & Youth Within the New Urban Agenda” that brought together youth representatives, development partners (including UN-Habitat), and child centred agencies such as World Vision International.  The session emphasized the critical need of the youth to unite and work together in partnership with local authorities and partners.

The second was “Civic and Youth Participation in the Wired Age” made up of city governments, network of cities (CityNet), private sector companies, youth inclusive initiative (Block by Block), data initiatives Pulse Lab Jakarta (part of UN’s big data labs), among others.  Here, Microsoft Indonesia’s Ruben Hattari cautioned PrepCom3 participants that all the new technology in cities could go to waste in the absence of a people-centered approach and engagement with citizens, especially the next generation.  Youth contributed with lively Q&A from the floor, saying that social inclusion should be ensured in technologies and city development.  It was another demonstration of just how youth engagement in urban policy issues should work.

 

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On the Road to Quito and Beyond

Going forward, UN-Habitat will support youth groups in their last one mile on the road towards Quito, and their journey beyond the New Urban Agenda.

We urge governments to accept youth as development partner – working together with cities and local governments, and ALL urban actors – in achieving the New Urban Agenda and meeting the SDG’s, especially SDG 11.

So, thank you so much Surabaya!  Congratulations to all youth leaders who contributed to PrepCom3 last week!  Don’t forget to get ready for Quito – and beyond!

Youth Said: We Can Be Partner in New Urban Agenda Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Even before PrepCom3 proceedings got started, local Indonesia youth-led organizations IYMM and Kota Kita impressed everybody by organizing World Urban Youth Meeting.

This full-day parallel event brought together around 500 youth participants in a showcase of “Youth Perspectives and Actions Towards People-Centred City” on 24 July 2016 (Sunday), the day before PrepCom3.  UN-Habitat, together with UNTAG university and Surabaya city government, supported the joint effort.  With cooperation from Microsoft, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN country teams in Asia-Pacific, WUYM plenary sessions were livestreamed and linked with six cities beyond Surabaya, as well.

 

Firstly, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Aisa Kirabo Kacyira captured the moment and said (at the opening ceremony), “the next generation [and women] must be treated as development partner if we were to succeed in New Urban Agenda.”  Her opinion received enthusiastic support from youth during the event, which ran non-stop all day, from 7am to 7pm.

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Perhaps more importantly, WUYM demonstrated that youth could be “doers” of inclusive urban development and policies that will be enshrined in the New Urban Agenda.  Youth-led and youth-inclusive initiatives presented  a range of variety expanding from the local to global: e.g. Urban Citizenship Academy, c2o in Surabaya, Safetipin for Manila, Youth 4 Global Goals, SDSN-Youth…just to name a few.

The Meeting was significantly diverse and highly participatory. The organizers directed the dialogue and focus group discussion (FGD) methodology; the youth volunteers facilitated the discussions, and the youth leaders shared best practices on urgent issues facing the urban youth such as “Good Government and Rights to the City”, “Urban Youth Against Extremism” and “Youth, Cities & Disaster Risk / Climate Change” (full schedule: here).  WUYM participants and speakers represented who’s who from PrepCom3.  Young people from 30 communities (kampungs) in Surabaya also joined forces.

To conclude a full day charged with youth energy, the APUFY 2015 delegate and urban planner, Emmy Yuniarti Rusadi declared at closing plenary, “We as youth have big responsibility in our own future.”  Having contributed to Indonesia’s national Habitat III consultations and also becoming one of the independent candidates for Mayoral elections in her city (after participating at APUFY in October 2015), Emmy sent powerful message to #H3youth, urging young people to see beyond “these big UN conferences,” and commit to act on the ground to improve communities and cities.  Joce Timoty Pardosi, Executive Director of IYMM, said their organization and actions in Indonesia, including contributions at PrepCom3, were the tangible legacy of APUFY.  Many youth speakers similarly expressed determination to stay engaged for the long haul, and to act as change agents both locally and globally.

#H3Youth Demonstrate their Collective Strength at PrepCom3 in Surabaya

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Habitat III PrepCom3 in Surabaya Takes One Step Closer to Next 20 Years

Last week, in Surabaya, a city in the East Java province of Indonesia, which is famous for its green and inclusive urban planning, witnessed many activities as it hosted PrepCom3, the last Preparatory Committee before the Habitat III Conference to be held in Quito in October.  About 4,200 delegates from 142 countries participated in PrepCom 3.  As always, youth and children were active, both inside and outside of the United Nations conference process (we suggest you to check out twitter #H3Youth to get a sense of the experience).

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So what happened at PrepCom3 in Surabaya and what were the outcomes from the perspective of youth that emerged from the conference?

PrepCom3 was the last big major push towards the the road to Habitat III. Negotiations by national governments were in full swing to finalize the text of the New Urban Agenda.  At this 11th hour, diplomats, civil society members, local government advocates and major groups were all seen running in the conference room and hallways, voicing their critical input (as this blog is being written, however, we heard that delegates fell short of agreeing and they will push for it again in New York in late August/early September).

However, there was no hiding the fact that everyone’s focus was already shifting to beyond the New Urban Agenda, during PrepCom3.  Of course, what lies “beyond” Habitat III is 20 years of making sure that the Agenda becomes a reality in the cities all over the world.  In this context, one of the most exciting highlights from Surabaya was a vision of youth as an essential partner for the New Urban Agenda’s implementation, monitoring and its evaluation.  Youth actions and messages from Surabaya made this point impossible to miss.  In our view, we witnessed a positive and powerful turning point for #H3youth at PrepCom3.

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LATAM Youth Shaping One Latin America for Habitat III

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Upcoming Urban Thinkers Campus on Youth

PrintThe City Youth Need, the World They Want

On February 10-11 the UN-Habitat Youth and Livelihood Unit is organizing the Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) at the UN-headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The two-day Campus will focus on youth and is inviting more than 160 youth from Kenya and other parts of Africa.

Urban Thinkers Campus is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals and decision-makers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity that can lead to positive urban transformations. It is intended as a prelude to the Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016, where the New Urban Agenda for the next 20 years will be agreed on. The Campus will be a pivotal event for youth to engage and an opportunity for them to make their voices heard.

Through inclusive debates and review processes, the UTC will allow a large number of youth to come together and discuss the future of urban youth and to address the key issues for the New Urban Agenda. The outcomes of the Campus will provide input to the City We Need.

The theme for the youth Campus is: Inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities for youth: Policies and programmes for urban youth empowerment.

It will encompass five thematic areas.

  1. Youth and Livelihoods
  2. Youth and Urban Planning / Public space
  3. Youth, Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation
  4. Youth and Urban Governance
  5. Youth and Environment

We look forward to welcoming all the invited participants to the Campus.

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

Youth Participation in Habitat III High Level Regional Meeting

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The Habitat III High Level Regional Meeting for the Asia-Pacific Region occurred on 21-22 October 2015, hosted by the Government of Indonesia to identify key issues and regional perspectives for the New Urban Agenda. Young people were strongly represented as a constituent group throughout these proceedings, with their activities coordinated by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY).

A total of 30 youth participated in the High Level Regional Meeting: 18 from Indonesia and 12 from other countries within the Asia-Pacific region. These youth came from a number of major youth-led organisations, like the International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana (IMCS), the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), Children and Youth International (CYI), the Japan Youth Platform for Post-2015, World Vision International (WVI), the Indonesian Green Action Forum (IGAF), and several others.

Throughout the forum, they worked hard to meet directly with Member States and stakeholders in order to advocate regional youth priorities and recommendations for the New Urban Agenda, in addition to maintaining two exhibition booths in the main foyer area to further highlight youth engagement. In addition, the UN Major Group for Children and Youth coordinated and hosted one side event about amplifying young Asian voices in the New Urban Agenda, whilst also having three representatives serving as panel speakers in two other side events.

On 22 October, young people’s voices were formally recognised in the meetings through the statement delivered on behalf of the Children and Youth Partner Constituent Group, a member of the General Assembly of Partners. UNMGCY, the chair of the Children and Youth Partner Constituent Group, delivered the statement which summarised the key priorities and recommendations of young people in the region on sustainable urban development, as outlined in the Asia-Pacific Children and Youth Position Towards the New Urban Agenda.

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These positions were put together through the culmination of months of online and offline consultations facilitated by youth, in addition to the key themes arising from the Asia-Pacific Urban Youth Assembly (APUFY), which had gathered 300 young people together from the Asia-Pacific region earlier that week. In addition to making a strong call for children and youth to be seen as equal partners in the process, the statement also called for the right to safe and inclusive public spaces, a contextualised framework and new ways of financing sustainable urban urbanisation. It concluded by highlighting the critical importance of linking the New Urban Agenda with other intergovernmental processes to ensure coherency and build a more transformative, inclusive and sustainable future for all. You can see the full statement and the Asia-Pacific Children and Youth Position.

Overall, young people were highly engaged in this process, with many stakeholders voicing how impressed they were by the level and quality of youth engagement throughout the meetings. We were particularly pleased that most of the key points outlined in the Children and Youth Partner Constituent Group statement were incorporated into the outcome document of the meetings (the Jakarta Declaration), with stakeholder inclusion and participatory approaches strongly reflected in the language of the document.

Looking forward, the key regional youth priorities outlined in the Asia-Pacific Children and Youth Position Towards the New Urban Agenda will be used to continue to advocate the priorities of young people in the region with Member States and other stakeholders. In addition, the experience of meaningful youth engagement from this week will also be used to encourage stakeholders from other regions to prioritise youth participation and inclusion in all aspects of the Habitat III process leading up to Quito.

Asia-Pacific Urban Youth Assembly 2015 – How it all began

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The first ever APUFY kicked off on Saturday October 17th in Jakarta, Indonesia with number of optional activities at the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. Although  optional, the 70% turn-out suggested the quality and energy of the historic event. Motivated and eager participants jumped into discussions without further encouragement and were later rewarded with a welcome reception hosted by the Minister Basuki Hadimuljono himself. To set the mood, the Minister proved he’s not only a man of big words and tough decisions, but also a melody when he sang and danced on the stage along other guests and APUFY participants.

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The main activities were set for Sunday October 18th. An impressive line-up of honorable speakers gave their opening remarks to the audience of 300 youth participants from all over the region, carefully selected out of almost 2000 applicants. Douglas Ragan, Chief of the Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT alongside Basuki Hadimuljono, the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Governor of DKI Jakarta and Gatot S. Dewa Broto, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia opened this remarkable event.

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The opening session set the scene and placed APUFY’s deliberations in the context of the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals and the emerging New Urban Agenda to be adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, aka. Habitat III. Remarks have been made in the global, regional as well as Indonesian context. Not surprisingly, youth came to be the key stakeholder in the equation of finding solutions to urban challenges.

Following the Opening, there was a very interesting and often amusing dialogue session between the Governor of DKI Jakarta, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport and the participants. The participants had a unique opportunity to ask any question and they used it without hesitation. Luckily, both of the honorable guests were eager to talk to the young people, and have answered even the most direct and sensitive questions. Here are some of the highlights of the Q&As:

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Q: I have heard Indonesia has a large number of young people. What is the most effective way to take advantage of such youthful population?

A: The most important thing is to educate them and prepare them for adult life. We need to fight high unemployment rates by facilitating their integration to public as well as private sectors. We need to create sufficient opportunities and activities for young people to grow and develop.

Q: What do you expect from youth in terms of building sustainable and resistant cities?

A: To contribute to building and fostering the unity and diversity, two very important things in Indonesia. I can’t even imagine how the Indonesian independency would look like without the young people. Given the huge number of youth, nothing can work properly without their involvement. Young people shall stop to be underestimated. Remember the Arab Spring. It would have never happened without the active participation of the Tunisian youth.

Q: How can youth be better involved in decision-making?

A: Internet represents a great platform as they can share their ideas, thoughts and opinion with their peers as well as us, the officials. Open data are public and cannot be modified before they reach us which helps to fight corruption as well. We can also make our budgeting and policy making more transparent and thus facilitate easier participation of young people. Lastly, we need to work on improving of our own image in public. Many young people believe that government officials are lazy and that they don’t care about them. We need to make ourselves more approachable to prove them wrong.

And what were the recommendations for the way forward?

o Having more public spaces for recreation and activities in social housing and public spaces generally which encourage multigenerational interaction.

o Electronic planning and budgeting that allows transparency because data is easily accessible.

o District level discussions that go to city and then province level.

o Making things transparent allows youth to get involved through these forums.

o Using social media and QLUE program.

o Create incentives for young people to innovate for cities and participate, not just about entertaining young people without results and not just about financial support. Harness creativity of young people.

o Governments should not only give voice to youth but also opportunities.

o Use ICT that is not just about entertainment but focuses on encouraging youth to innovate.

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