A Stockholm+50 Youth Inclusion Strategy - Evalution Report

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STRATEGY

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EVALUATION REPORT
STOCKHOLM+50 YOUTH INCLUSION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report assesses the youth inclusion in the Stockholm +50 process. The analytical framework builds on a set of widely recognised criteria that, together, determine “meaningful youth inclusion”. The criteria used are: a clear mandate; representation of global youth; youth autonomy; youth policy development; co-creation and dissemination and follow up.

The author concludes that the overall representative structure and the results of the process were, by and large, consistent with the set of criteria for meaningful youth inclusion.

Youth were given increased access to political fora. They were also provided with adequate supportive measures. The access was non-discriminatory in regards to age and background of youth involved. However, the inclusion of global youth at local, national and regional level as well as the reach of the process were limited.

The youth inclusion process paved the way for youths’ careful elaboration and advocacy of several demands and policy inputs. These were finally integrated into the conclusions of the international meeting in the form of a youth policy paper.

The evaluation concludes that adequate tools and structures for meaningful youth inclusion have been created and tested contributing to positive results in regards to youth inclusion. The report also identifies some aspects that should be adjusted and improved.

For instance, the youth inclusion process within the S +50 should have been launched much earlier. The late start is identified as one of the determining, hindering factors in the evaluation, because it delayed and hampered youth’s meaningful inclusion in S+50 in various ways.

One of the aspects that could be improved in future processes is dissemination. Constant and comprehensive dissemination activities throughout the process would have facilitated the communication about the process, its contents and the demands and positions of youth engaged in S+50. A wider scope would have contributed to a broader global outreach and inclusion of youth from the local and national levels in the process.

To conclude, the author strongly suggests that the parties of the S+50 process reserve time for sense-making, self-assessment, reflection and dialogue. The evaluation of the S+ 50 process identifies several experiences shared by all actors involved. They make up excellent opportunities for learning, constructive reflection, recycling of what works and improvements of what appears to work less well. Last, but not least, they are potential material for building similar processes in the future.

Dear reader,

When I, as an expert on youth inclusion and co-creation processes, was asked to conduct an external evaluation on the youth inclusion in Stockholm + 50 I was excited, flattered, but also frightened.

To evaluate a global process, characterised by a complex structure of which I, myself had not been part, was a big challenge to take on. I knew that I would have to detangle the functions of different structures, at diverse levels as well as the roles and links between several coordinators and institutions/organisations. Different perspectives of understanding, expectations, experience and values among various stakeholders would need to be analysed and comprehended. Besides, all of this had to be studied within the complex context of meaningful youth inclusion.

All too often I have seen examples of “youth washing”, where a few youth in sneakers are invited on stage, just so that the decision makers can “tick the box” of youth inclusion. I have seen youth being disillusioned after having participated in ambitious and well-resourced processes that, in the end, ignored the youth input. I have also seen money go to waste, as strategies have failed to include the knowledge of the very target group concerned; the youth.

I am aware this is a heavy report. I chose to include a detailed account of the analysis and the results of the evaluation. It is to serve as a documentation and a guide for anyone who may design future processes of meaningful youth participation; future host countries in particular. For other readers, my recommendation would be to consult the summary report, which will be published separately.

Since I did not attend Stockholm + 50 myself, I have based my assessment on accounts provided by the respondents and interviewees who availed themselves for the evaluation.

I apologise in advance for any misinterpretations, smaller factual errors, and approximations regarding numbers, the actual format of activities, outputs, etc. for which I am fully responsible.

I would like to thank UNEP, the Swedish government offices, MGCY, the Swedish National Youth Council as well as the Youth Task Force for their open and supportive contribution that made this evaluation possible. My gratitude also to Monica Johansson, who provided valuable guidance in her role as supportive evaluator.

Stockholm, 20 April 2023

INDEX PART 1 BACKGROUND .............................................................................................................................. 8 The evaluation assignment 8 Evaluation methods 9 AN EVALUATION MODEL OF MEANINGFUL YOUTH INCLUSION ...................................... 10 Conceptual framework 10 An S+50 evaluation model of meaningful youth inclusion in policy making 12 DEFINING OUTCOMES IN A UN LEVEL YOUTH INCLUSION PROCESS ............................ 13 MAPPING OF THE YOUTH INCLUSION IN STOCKHOLM +50 14 Background and mandate of Stockholm +50 14 Key moments in the youth inclusion process 15 PART 2 INTRODUCTION 20 A YOUTH TASK FORCE (YTF) TO FACILITATE YOUTH INCLUSION 21 L AYER A: AMANDATE FOR A HIGH LEVEL OF MEANINGFUL YOUTH INCLUSION 26 LAYER B: REPRESENTATION OF GLOBAL YOUTH 31 LAYER C: YOUTH AUTONOMY .................................................................................................. 41 LAYER D: YOUTH POLICY DEVELOPMENT 44 LAYER E: A CO-CREATION PROCESS 48 LAYER F. DISSEMINATION & FOLLOW-UP 60 APPENDICES Appendix 1 – Evaluation questionnaire 68 Appendix 2 – Presidents’ Final Remarks – Key recommendations 72

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

Abbreviation

Definition

IWGs Informal Working Groups (of the LDs)

LDs Leadership Dialogues

LSU The National Council of Swedish Children and Youth Organisations

MGCY Major Group for Children and Youth

S+50 Stockholm +50

UNEP United Nations Environmental Programme

YEA Youth Environmental Assembly

YFG Youth Focus Group

YTF Youth Task Force

BACKGROUND

The evaluation assignment

This external evaluation was commissioned by LSU, the Swedish Youth Council and financed by SIDA and the Nordic Council of Ministers, that are also two of the donors of the youth inclusion strategy in S+50.

The youth inclusion structure and strategy in S+50 was a pilot, aimed to try out new formats for youth inclusion in international policy making. LSU, the Swedish Youth Council, wanted an external eye on what could be learned from this experience, that could be used in similar, future processes. To this end, the evaluation documents and assesses the youth participation in S+50, and aims to contribute to similar, future processes, by capturing what was learned through the process implementation.

Åsa Gunvén1, author of this report, was commissioned in September, 2022 to undertake this evaluation. Mrs Gunvén is a political scientist2 specialised in participation and co-creation processes for policy making on both practical and strategic level.3

Evaluation questions

The evaluation questions below were formulated by LSU to serve as framework for the evaluation. The evaluation plan also included several detailed indicators, all of which are included in the evaluation model presented in the next chapter.

Evaluation questions

1. Goal achievement. Has the promise of a high and meaningful youth participation and influence been incorporated into the entire Stockholm 50+ process (before, during and after the international meeting)?

2. Prerequisites. Have the conditions (structures and enabling factors) for a high level of youth influence and participation been created? If/when they were missing, what were the consequences?

3. Inclusion. Was the opportunity for active participation equal from a Global North/Global South perspective?

In addition to answering the questions above, the author decided to create an “evaluation model”. The model should be designed so that it could be used as a checklist in creating structures for participation in similar processes in the future.

1 gunven.eu

2 Economics and Politics (MA Hons), University of Edinburgh

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PART 1: Background and theory
3 The author has been involved for several years in the European Youth Forum, as part of the team of facilitators of the EU Youth Dialogue, a youth policy making structure based on national youth consultations and European level co-creation processes.

Delimitations

The focus in this evaluation lies on the main activities of S+50, as well as the main output of the interventions of the YTF.

Due to time constraints, certain delimitations have been necessary, regarding the scope of the events/activities/participants covered. For instance:

The Youth Focus Group, the S+50 Youth Environmental Assembly, the youth advocacy and the dissemination activities are only dealt with briefly, and mentioned only when respondents/interviewees refer to them as contributing factors to the youth inclusion as such.

The role of the co-host country Kenya has not been evaluated at depth. Advocacy meetings, side events, etc. have been excluded.

Evaluation methods

Different research methods were used in the evaluation process;

• Text analysis

Text analysis was done, mainly based on information found on the webpages of the organisations involved. The analysis was conducted with the aim to do a first mapping of organisations involved, activities and events and what came out of the process.

• Questionnaires

Questionnaires were sent to all members of the YTF and to several individuals within each of the organisations involved; MGCY, LSU, UNEP and the Swedish government offices. In total, 12 people responded.4 The purpose of the questionnaire was to capture tendencies and indications that could later be tested in the interviews. A questionnaire is attached in Appendix 1. Some minor adjustments were done, depending on target group.

• Focus groups

The Youth Task Force was invited to two focus groups. Due to low numbers of participants, a few interviews were conducted instead.

• Interviews

Three persons each from MGCY, LSU, UNEP and the Swedish government offices were invited to participate in an interview. In total, 10 interviews plus one focus group were held with representatives of the different organisations. All the 57 YTF members were invited to participate in individual interviews in addition to the focus groups. In total, four longer interviews were held with members of the YTF, including one with the Kenyan youth platform.

The first tendencies and threads could be discerned in the questionnaire answers. A few mapping interviews served to form a few assumptions.

At the next stage, in depth interviews were conducted to a) confirm/contradict these assumptions and b) form new assumptions. Statements in the final report are backed by evidence provided by at least two or three interviewees/respondents.

The recommendations were based on the challenges identified or suggestions/requests collected during interviews.

4 The number of respondents was relatively small and replies were quite fragmented. Half of the YTF respondents would take one position, and the other half another in regards to a certain question. While this is a useful indicator of diverging expectations and experiences for the evaluator, answers could not be used to draw reliable conclusions.

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Several of the main recommendations were also presented to, and to, confirmed as relevant by the main coordinating organisations.

AN EVALUATION MODEL OF MEANINGFUL YOUTH INCLUSION

The youth inclusion structure in S+50 was rather complex; it involved many structures, stakeholders, activities and coordinators. The outcomes and achievements would manifest at different levels. In order to evaluate whether the youth inclusion in S+50 was meaningful, it was necessary to set up an evaluation model with all relevant indicators, most of which were identified jointly by LSU and the evaluator.

The first step in designing the model was to set up a conceptual framework for how meaningful participation can be grasped and mapped out.

Conceptual framework

Three conceptual components of meaningful participation make up the cornerstones in our model of understanding and mapping meaningful participation:

(I) The ladder of participation, Arnstein (1969); (II) MGCY’s definition of youth participation and (III) the co-creation concept, with reference to Abrahamsson (2015).

The ladder of participation

Sherry Arnstein’s “Ladder of Participation” is often used to represent different levels of citizens involvement and power sharing.5

An important concept in Arnstein’s Ladder of Participation is that of tokenistic participation. In tokenistic participation, citizens are mainly included for “show”, a phenomenon often referred to as youth washing in youth participation processes.

In processes such as S+50, with the overall objective of creating a high level of meaningful youth inclusion, the expected and desired level of participation best corresponds to Partnership, on Arnstein’s ladder.6 Importantly, for participation to be interpreted as “Partnership”, a certain degree of citizens/youth power needs to be present. We will examine what partnership may look like in the following parts of the conceptual framework.

Co-creation as meaningful youth participation

In an intergovernmental policy making process (such as S+50), it is not possible to conceptualise an equal partnership, as decision will rest with the member states.

This does not mean that meaningful youth participation cannot be achieved, but rather that the evaluation model needs another component, in order to serve as an adequate instrument

5 Arnstein, S. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Planning Association, 35(4), 216–224.

6 One of the critiques of the Ladder of Participation is that progress should not be perceived as vertical only. This observation is relevant also in intergovernmental policy process. Different levels of Arnstein’s ladder will be meaningful in decision making in various settings, and at different stages of the process(es) analysed.

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for interpretation and mapping. To this end, the concept of co-creation as defined by Abrahamsson (2015) will be added to the conceptual tools in this evaluation. Abrahamsson (2015) argues for the “importance of citizens’ co-creation as regards to identification of the problems, measures to be taken as well as the implementation of the same… in a new era characterized by complexity.”7 8

Co-creation is a process where citizens/civil society/youth are included in the entire process; from identifying the problem, to searching for solutions and, finally, in the negotiations of and implementation of policy. Processes take place in a highly complex setting, which makes it necessary to integrate a wide array of perspectives, and create vertical as well as horizontal cooperation/action.

The quality and outcomes of co-creation processes can be assessed, in a thorough analysis of the conditions for participation, the ability for cross-sectoral deliberation as well as the fairness9 of the negotiations. Important preconditions of a co-creation process include a) feedback given on decision making throughout the process as well as b) the inclusion of the citizens/civil society/youth in implementation of the policy.

In this report, co-creation will be used as a concrete point-of-reference. It serves in our model for understanding, mapping and evaluating as well as suggesting methods and tools for meaningful youth inclusion in similar future processes.

Principles of meaningful youth engagement as defined by MGCY One more component has been integrated into the conceptual framework. It provides an additional analytical (and practical) tool for the evaluator’s understanding and assessment.

MGCY has identified a set of principles and barriers to meaningful youth engagement.10 The principles represent preconditions that are intrinsic to, and essential in any form of meaningful youth inclusion within the UN. The outline below, in Figure 1, has been taken from MGCY’s webpage;

Meaningful youth engagement

Principles

Self-Organised

Legally Mandated - Rights Based Designated

Well Resourced

Accountable

Barriers

Individualisation

Lack of resources

Regressive Normative Framing

Changing Landscape of Non State Actors

7 Abrahamsson, H. (2015). Dialog och medskapande i vår tids stora samhällsomdaning. Utbildning och lärande, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 20-41. Among other publications on the topic.

8 Abrahamsson (2015) applies his interpretation of co-creation in processes of urban development in a new era characterised by complexity. This perspective resonates well with other processes of participation, such as

9 A fair process can be defined as transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory. Suggestions are taken into serious consideration, to be accommodated fully or partly depending on what is practicable.

10 The principle and barriers have been defined through a consultation process. www.unmgcy.org/meaningful-engagement

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Figure 1: MGCY Principles and Barriers to Meaningful Youth Engagement

An S+50 evaluation model of meaningful youth inclusion in policy making

The framework integrates the concepts of partnership as described by Arnstein (1969), adding co-creation referring to Abrahamsson (2015) and the grid of principles and barriers to meaningful youth engagement constructed by MGCY.

The set of concepts will be useful for mapping out and describing the different interventions as well as to assessing the outputs and outcomes of the youth inclusion strategy in S+50. In essence, the conceptual framework will be the analytical tool in this evaluation.

An evaluation model has been constructed for the S+50 youth inclusion process (see Figure 2). It integrates the concepts referred to above, and contains six layers that jointly make youth inclusion possible and meaningful.

In the right hand column, two-three components have been identified for each layer. These components are preconditions that need to be in place, for a successful inclusion and a meaningful youth participation process to be possible.

In Part 2 of the report these layers and components will be assessed, one by one, with reference to findings captured in the evaluation.

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Figure 2 – An evaluation model for meaningful youth participation in S+50

DEFINING OUTCOMES IN A UN LEVEL YOUTH INCLUSION PROCESS

The evaluation presented in this report intends to trace outcomes of the process. In evaluation, an outcome is generally defined as the short-and medium-term change and effect of an output, strategy or intervention.11

The short- and medium-term outcomes of the youth inclusion strategy as identified through the evaluation can be categorised under two headings; Agenda and Access.12

Agenda level outcome

The agenda level outcomes can be defined as the effect of youth advocacy in the political agenda setting and policy conclusions of the process.

In S+50, the evaluation seeks to capture agenda level outcomes by asking the question; were recommendations influenced or based on the agenda of youth? The evaluator examines the motivation(s) lying behind the recommendations, to verify the outcome.

However, it is important to keep in mind that results would be short-term, strategic and nonbinding commitments. Any possible outcomes or effects would therefore have to be assessed after a longer period of time.

Access level outcome

The access level outcome can be defined as the change achieved by the measures taken in order to give youth access to the process.13

In S+50, the access outcomes of this evaluation are captured by asking the question: In what ways did the youth inclusion process provide more space and access to youth?

The evaluation seeks to identify changes in working methods, working culture, supportive measures created, priorities set, etc. Importantly, the outcomes that we can expect in a process such as S+50 most likely represent movements traced in comparison to a “base line”, as opposed to the arrival at a “final destination” or an “expected and desired situation”.

11 www.oecd.org/dac/results-development/what-are-results.htm

12 Casey (2014) categorises the different possible outcomes of advocacy into the levels; access, agenda, output, impact and structural. Casey, J. (2014). Understanding Advocacy: A Primer on the Policy Making Role of Nonprofit Organizations, p 11

13 Casey (2014) describes Access level outcome as “the voice of previously excluded stakeholders [in this case youth] now heard”.

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MAPPING OF THE YOUTH INCLUSION IN STOCKHOLM +50

Background and mandate of Stockholm +50

In this sub-chapter, the stakeholder engagement, the purpose of the process, mandates and the structure of the coordination is briefly outlined. The information is taken form the Stockholm + 50 webpage; www.stockholm50.global/.

Stockholm + 50 (S+50)

“In May 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to bring the global environmental community together in Stockholm, Sweden for a major international environmental meeting on June 2 and 3 2022, the week of World Environment Day.

[…] Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity” (Stockholm+50) took place five decades after the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The event provided leaders with an opportunity to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action, to achieve the bold and urgent action needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet.

By recognising the importance of multilateralism in tackling the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution – the event sought to act as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and encourage the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans.

The meeting also reinforced the messages and the outcomes of the event to commemorate UNEP’s 50th anniversary (UNEP@50), which took place in March 2022, in Nairobi. Stockholm+50 was convened by the United Nations and hosted by the Government of Sweden with support from the Government of Kenya.”14

The UN mandate

S+50 was mandated by two UN resolutions;

1. “Enabling resolution (A/RES/75/280 of 24 May 2021) laying the foundation for the international meeting by deciding on title, dates and location, stating that the purpose of Stockholm+50 is to contribute to the environmental dimension of sustainable development to accelerate the implementation of commitments in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development, including a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.“15

2. “Modalities resolution (A/RES/75/326 of 10 September 2021) providing the structure, format, preparations and organisational arrangements; specifying the themes of the three leadership dialogues; deciding that two Presidents (from Sweden and from Kenya) will be elected; and appointing UNEP Executive Director as the Secretary-General of the meeting.”16

14 www.stockholm50.global/about/about

15 Stockholm +50 overview, www.stockholm50.global/

16 Stockholm +50 overview, www.stockholm50.global/

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UNEP

“UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) was the focal point for Stockholm+50 and coordinated substantive and practical support to the organisation of Stockholm+50 in close consultation with the co-hosts Kenya and Sweden.”17 Regarding the youth inclusion, in particular the UNEP civil society unit played an important role.

Host countries; Sweden and Kenya

The international meeting was hosted and prepared by Sweden with the support of the co-host Kenya. The government offices of Sweden set up a S+50 Secretariat to prepare the meeting. One “youth responsible” was assigned.

Leadership dialogues (LDs)

The thematical dialogues and discussions, making up the S+50 process, were organised through three parallel thematical Leadership Dialogues. Each of the LDs were presided over by two Co-Chairs. Discussions took place through Informal Working Groups (IWGs) in the months leading up to the international meeting in Stockholm, as well as inside the meeting itself. “The Leadership Dialogues contributed to the outcome of Stockholm+50 by yielding clear and concrete recommendations and messages for action at all levels. They aimed to mobilize the global community behind strengthened cooperation and accelerated innovative action.”18

Stakeholder engagement

“All relevant stakeholders, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and local communities [were] invited to contribute to the discussions of the international meeting and their preparation through direct participation as well as through informal groups to support the Leadership dialogues and contribute in stakeholder consultations.”19

Youth priority

On the S+50 webpage, the commitment to a meaningful youth engagement is highlighted: “In the same vein as the 1972 Stockholm Conference, the engagement of civil society and a variety of stakeholders will be at the heart of Stockholm+50, with a particular focus on meaningful youth engagement.”20 Youth as a priority was also highlighted in speeches given by the host country government at ministerial and ambassador level continuously throughout the process. Wording such as “a high level/the highest level of meaningful youth inclusion” indicated an ambitious youth inclusion strategy.21

Key moments in the youth inclusion process

Figure 3 is a visual presentation of the main features of the youth inclusion strategy as outlined in textual presentations, in particular those found on the YTF web landing. These have been confirmed by the interviewees as the main features of youth inclusion in S+50, as a consequence the evaluation have focused on those.

17 Stockholm +50 overview, www.stockholm50.global/

18 www.stockholm50.global/processes/leadership-dialogues

19 A/CONF.238/3, UN Concept Note S+50

20 Stockholm +50 overview, www.stockholm50.global/

21 As referred by interviewees.

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1. Key moments of the youth inclusion inside of the formal S+50 process Youth were included in the formal political process in S+50 at different moments. The key moments, as represented in the figure above, included;

The planning phase

Youth were involved trough advocacy and coordination at the initial stage of the planning as well as throughout the preparation phase.

Preparatory meeting at UNEA in Nairobi

Youth were present at the meeting and were also allocated speaking time with the opportunity to present their draft policy paper.

Informal Working Groups (IWG)

Virtual working groups were established, to prepare each Leadership Dialogue thematically. “Informal Working Groups were established for each of the three themes to guide the work leading up to the international meeting. This process aimed to reinforce the bottom-up cocreation processes for the Leadership Dialogues.”22 Youth were given speaker time at each of the 2-3 sessions held within each IWG.23

S+50 international meeting in Stockholm

Youth inclusion was to be ensured by presence at the meeting, speaking time in plenary and side events, as well as procedural/logistical input during the preparatory phase. 22 www.stockholm50.global/participate/informal-working-groups

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Figure 3 – The youth inclusion process S+50
23 According to several interviewees.

2. Key moments/outputs inside of the youth led S+50 process

Youth themselves created a structure, methods, tools and activities for meaningful youth inclusion. The key moments and key features, as outline in Figure 3, encompassed;

The Youth Focus Group (YFG) and the Youth Task Force (YTF)

Youth platforms for engagement and facilitation of the youth inclusion created specifically for the S+ 50.

Youth events

Youth events such as the S+50 pre-events and the hybrid (online and offline) Youth Environmental Assemblies (YEA) in Nairobi and Stockholm

Global youth policy drafting

Development of a global youth policy paper through online consultations and a draftingprocess

Advocacy

Advocacy by high level meetings, advocacy opportunities, communication, coordination meetings etc.

Supporting tools for youth participation

Capacity building, a Tool Kit for local capacity building, dissemination activities etc.

Structure of the youth organisation

Youth organised themselves in a structure in order to enable a) universal participation open to global youth to participate, and b) facilitation of the youth participation in the process. Below, in Figure 4, the reader will find a visual presentation of the youth structure that was created for S+50 as well as a brief outline of the different elements.

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Figure 4 – The youth inclusion structure in S+50

The Youth Task Force (YTF)

The YTF was the entity responsible for facilitating youth engagement in the Stockholm+50 process.24 The YTF got its political approval from the Swedish government and was a key in the representation of youth in the process. As the YTF was central to the youth inclusion structure, it will be covered in depth in Part 2 of the report.

Focal Points – the coordinators of the YTF and the youth inclusion process

MGCY – Major Group Children and Youth

MGCY was the focal point to UNEP in S+50. “The Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) is the UN General Assembly-mandated and self-organised mechanism for young people to meaningfully engage in certain UN processes.25 MGCY organises global youth organisations through constituencies focusing on different themes and representing youth in relevant UN processes. In some cases, when a UN process runs across several of these themes, a Youth Task Force is created to focus particularly on this process, and with members from all relevant constituencies. The S+50 YTF builds on this format.

MGCY took on a key role in establishing the structure for the youth inclusion and also contributed with important thematic and procedural know-how in organising the overall process. MGCY started its preparations for S+50 as well as advocacy activities already 2019, two years before the meeting.

LSU – The National Council of Swedish Children and Youth Organisations

LSU was the focal point to the Swedish host country in S+50. “LSU gathers Sweden’s children and youth organisations to collectively improve the conditions for youths’ organisations, in Sweden and at a global level.”26 In this capacity LSU, together with MGCY, were approached by the host country Sweden to design and implement the youth inclusion strategy. LSU acted as the focal point to the Swedish host country, with whom it had pre-established trust/links/ cooperation. LSU also coordinated the regional representation of the Nordic/Baltic youth in S+50.

The Youth Focus Group as an open engagement platform

A Youth Focus Group (YFG) was established by MGCY as a working group to prepare for the S+50 process long before the process itself was mandated. It served as an open engagement platform where anyone wanting to get involved in the S+50 process – ranging from MGCY constituencies to local youth organisations as well as unorganised/non-affiliated youth – could do so.

Around 500 young people engaged themselves through the platform.27 Many were also involved in work streams convened and facilitated by the Youth Task Force.

Interviewees describe how the YFG contributed to the process by;

1. creating a space/working group for youth to prepare for the S+50 process at the planning phase;

2. approving the YTF and selecting its members;

24 YTF presentation: The entity responsible for coordinating youth engagement in the Stockholm+50 process.

25 www.unmgcy.org/about-overview

26

https://www.linkedin.com/company/lsu---the-national-council-of-swedish-youth-organisations/about/

27 The evaluator does not have an overview of size, outreach or nature of the engagement of the YFG. Besides, the evaluation does not have the ambition to provide any detailed analysis of YGF’s work per se.

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3. enabling a bottom-up approach to policy making and advocacy by providing an open engagement base for the youth inclusion;

4. disseminating information about the possibility to participate (in consultations, policy drafting and local action trough the Tool Kit) and;

5. disseminating the outputs (Handbook, Tool Kit, Policy Paper as well as the conclusions of S+50) to a broader base of youth.

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INTRODUCTION

Part two of the report presents the findings of the evaluation together with the recommendations for future processes. The first chapter of part two will deal with the Youth Task Force (YTF) as a structure for facilitating youth inclusion. The YTF formed the basis of the youth inclusion structure of S+50. For this reason, it is dealt with separately, before proceeding with the examination of the overall structure of the youth inclusion process.

The subsequent chapters of part two of the report will present the findings related to the entire youth inclusion process in S+50, as identified through the evaluation. Each layer of the evaluation model is dealt with in a separate chapter, including the corresponding components trough sub-chapters, as can be seen in the outline below (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – An evaluation model for meaningful youth participation in

Grading and aggregation of the findings

With the intention to keep track of the success/failure to create a “high level of meaningful youth inclusion in S+50”, the evaluator has given each layer of the evaluation model an overall assessment through a grade with the following score; Weak, Satisfactory and Good. Importantly, the grading should only be seen as a rough indication of an aggregation of the findings. It should also be noted that several hurdles and improvement suggestions are identified and presented in this report, also for those layers graded as Good.

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PART 2: Evaluation of the S+50 youth inclusion process S+50

A YOUTH TASK FORCE (YTF) TO FACILITATE YOUTH INCLUSION

The youth inclusion strategy in S+50 was built up around the YTF. We will therefore start the presentation of the evaluation outcomes by looking at the role, structure and working methods of the YTF as such, before we move on to assess the layers of the evaluation model.

The role and format of the YTF

On YTF’s official web landing (now closed), the organisation was described as follows; 1

“The main function of the YTF consists of coordinating and providing substantive youth inputs to the various thematic aspects of Stockholm+50, throughout the whole process, ensuring that the youth perspective is included in a meaningful way, facilitating engagement of broader youth communities, planning and conducting the self-organised youth activities and events of various scopes, through their networks, and mobilise winder youth communities via outreach, social media, and consultation based activities.

The YTF has a global representation, with 57 international youth delegates from different countries via an open application process, ranging from 16 to 35 years of age. They came from different regional, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds to bring their perspectives on youth engagement. The task force comprises focal points, representatives from youth engagement mechanisms, constituencies, and platforms that are relevant to the work of Stockholm+50.”

The YTF was established after an open call and what has been described by many interviewees as a rigorous selection process to ensure that the diversity of youth was represented - such as gender, geographical background, ethnicity, minority groups, etc. 2

The Youth Task Force was coordinated by MGCY, as Focal Point to UNEP, and LSU, in their role as Focal Point to the Swedish host country.3 While LSU, the youth platform of the host country Sweden, served as focal point, the youth platform of the co-host country Kenya did not have a coordinating position. The latter observation will be discussed later in this report.

The role of the YTF was to facilitate the different parts of the youth inclusion process, ranging from policy drafting, to Tool Kit development and communication. These tasks were mainly organised by the YTF through work streams, that were facilitated by YTF members, but also open for other youth involved in S+50, for instance over the YFG.

Findings about the YTF

Interviewees uniformly affirm that the YTF was a successful format for facilitation of youth inclusion. ”An interesting way to interact between regions was created in the YTF, moving away from representation only by two leaders”, one UNEP interviewee points out. According to interviewees there are also currently ongoing discussions about using a YTF in future UN processes such as COP (global climate summits) and other UN processes. This indicates that potentially a model for mainstreaming youth inclusion in UN level processes has been created with the YTF.

1 www.youthstockholm50.global

2 Over 350 applications were received and evaluated by a team of 19 volunteers.

3 More information about MGCY as well as LSU can be found in Part 1; Structure of the youth organisation

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Several strengths of YTF as a format for facilitating youth inclusion have been identified in the evaluation. Interviewees and respondents highlight how the YTF:

• contributed to strengthening the role of youth throughout the process;

• was easy, as a structure, to communicate and visualise to member states and institutions;

• was successful in facilitating a policy process of high standard and reached all the way to the meeting conclusions. “Youth had a consistently high level of knowledge and input”;

• was a successful tool for capacity building and empowerment of a group of young people in a particular political process;

• created ownership of the process among a group of young change makers. Members of the YTF stayed engaged and continued to interact with each other also after the S+50 process ended.

Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified by respondents and interviewees, and will be discussed throughout this report. The YTF:

• built on MGCY and its experience/expertise;

• included organisations other than those already active in MGCY for breadth and increased inclusion;

• enabled a close cooperation with the host country by giving a formal role to the host country´s youth platform/youth council;

• had a potential to disseminate as well as advocate with a global outreach, thanks to the broad global membership base.

Hindering factors

The following hindering factors have been identified by respondents and interviewees for YTF at structural level:

• Uncertainty among its members and the host country about whether it was a representative body (speaking on behalf of youth) or a facilitating body (facilitating the youth inclusion of a broader group of youth);

• The role division among the Focal Points was unclear;

• Language, experience and rhetorical skills differed among the participants. Some respondents/interviewees provide examples how this contributed to inequalities related to inclusion and power.

• The YTF was established too late and ended too early

These, and other, hindering factors will be discussed at depth throughout this report.

Recommendations

I. Earlier start

The YTF was established as late as November 2021, when the implementation of the S+50

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Youth had a consistently high level of knowledge and input

process was about to start.4 Therefore, unfortunately, the preparation of necessary materials and tools to enable youth participation started only at the point of time when they should have been delivered. This included the youth policy paper, the Educational Pack, the Tool Kit as well as communication tools.

Interviewees advice that YTF should have been formed approximately one year prior to the international meeting, rather than six months, which was now the case.

Even the modality resolution, enabling the start of the preparations of the S+50 meeting itself, was agreed on as late as September 2021. This hampered the possibilities for an early start of the YTF and the youth inclusion process as such. This is a challenge that needs to be remedied by adequate prioritisation in future processes for stakeholder engagement to be implemented in a meaningful way.

II. MGCY should be given the mandate to coordinate youth

In S+50, LSU as well as MGCY were approached and involved as youth partners by the host country, resulting in an unclear role distribution between LSU and MGCY.

In order not to build parallel youth tracks, it is important that any structure created, and given the role to represent youth within a UN process, is based primarily on MGCY. “It is important to build on the structures we have”, as pointed out by one of the interviewees.

It was beneficial to include youth from outside MGCY in the YTF as discussed elsewhere in this report. However, the evaluator agrees with those interviewees that highlight the importance of placing the ownership of a youth inclusion process in UN with MGCY in order to;

respect the existing global structure representing youth in UN; base the process on experience and knowledge from other processes; involve a youth partner positioned to represent youth in the initial negotiation and preparations;

enable a quick start of the youth inclusion process by making use of MGCYs structure, network and working methods and create continuity and linkage between processes.

III. Co-host youth platforms as supportive coordinators

National youth platforms/youth councils of the host and co-host country have important roles to play in UN level processes. However, rather than acting as focal points (such as LSU in S+50), national youth platforms of the host countries should be given a more limited role as supportive focal points or the like, as outlined in Figure 5. Interviewees and respondents suggest they should take on two main roles; as links between global youth and the host country government and as support in the organisation of local youth events.

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4 UNEA, together with the S+50 preparatory event, took place in Nairobi in February 2022

It is important to distinguish between the coordinating role and that of a supportive coordinating role from the very beginning. According to interviewees, the Swedish youth council (LSU), did not have a clear role description. This resulted in uncertainties related to the distribution of tasks and the political mandate. A clearer description of the supportive coordinating role from the side of the MGCY and the host country would avoid this uncertainty.

In S+50, the Kenyan youth platform was not present at the overarching coordination level, although they did have several persons represented inside the YTF. A Kenyan interviewee points out that all relevant tasks could be performed from this position, hence he is satisfied with the setting of the S+50 as it was. At the same time representatives from MGCY as well as LSU highlight the importance of including the co-host youth platform in the coordination of the S+50 at the overarching level in similar future processes. A structure with both host country youth platforms as supportive focal points, would be advisable (see Figure 5).

IV. More work streams and role division

Several interviewees state that the overall structure of different work streams /working groups was well working. They also point to the potential in developing this structure further in future processes. In particular, interviewees suggest that more work streams could have been created, in order to give more YTF members a task and a role.

A greater number of work streams, established from the very beginning, would have contributed to a smoother start of the YTF.5 One of the young interviewees states:

5 One interviewee mentioned that the YTF was given too little leadership in setting up their task and working structure due to the intention of giving them full autonomy. A work programme was already prepared as the YTF started. Still, a more detailed work programme, clearer role divisions as well as more work streams would have contributed positively to a better process for the YTF, the interviewee states.

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Figure: 5: Recommended structure of the coordination of the YTF
” We had not worked together previously, only met online and did not know exactly what the expectations and tasks of the YTF were

“We had not worked together previously, only met online and did not know exactly what the expectations and tasks of the YTF were. Personally, I needed some starting time before I felt comfortable to take action.”

V. A slightly lower number of members in the YTF

Several respondents and interviewees suggest that the number of members in the YTF be decreased slightly in order to make it more of a facilitating, and less of a representative body. On the other hand, according to several interviewees, a relatively large number of members is necessary for the YTF to achieve a broad representation and inclusion. In a future process, organisers should therefore strive to find a good balance between inclusive representation and effective facilitation, possibly by reducing the numbers slightly.

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LAYER A: A MANDATE FOR A HIGH LEVEL OF MEANINGFUL YOUTH INCLUSION

GRADING: SATISFACTORY

This chapter analyses the mandate given to youth within the S+50 process.

In sum, findings from the evaluation indicate that an adequate and clear mandate for meaningful youth inclusion was given to youth, and that it was by large supported throughout the process by the host country. At the same time, roles and expectations could have been clarified at the very start of the process, for example through a written cooperation agreement and clearer descriptions of roles. Also, an earlier start of the process as such would have contributed greatly to the supportive measures of the youth mandate.

A detailed account follows below. It covers the two components that have been identified in the evaluation model as fundamental prerequisites for a mandate for a high level of meaningful youth inclusion through one sub-chapter each. The two sub-chapters deal with:

A.a A clear, formal and known mandate for meaningful youth inclusion

A.b Political commitment and support for the mandate from the host country

A.a A clear, formal and known mandate for meaningful youth inclusion

A prerequisite for a high level of meaningful youth inclusion is that the mandate given by the host country is clear, formal and recognised by all actors involved in the process; formal in order for the youth inclusion to be right based and formalized in the process, clear and known in order for both youth as well as other institutions and decision-makers to understand the role and mandate of youth.

An account of the mandate given to youth, as described by respondents and interviewees, and recommendations for future processes follows below.

A.a S+50 findings

Youth were given a clear mandate to design and implement an ambitious youth inclusion strategy, based on a representative structure with universal participation. The YTF, coordinated by MGCY and LSU, was given a political approval by the host country to represent/facilitate the youth inclusion.6 The mandate was given a strong political commitment and support by the host country, which contributed to an increased interest among member states and institutions to get involved.

6 Both the terms “represent” and “facilitate” are used as a) there is a certain lack of common understanding regarding this and b) the YTFs role combined both of these elements as discussed in the Layer B, Representation.

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Interviewees indicate that the intention of the host country was to mainstream meaningful youth engagement throughout the process. The accounts from the side of the interviews clearly indicate that the host country was ambitious in their strive to providing the right conditions for a meaningful youth inclusion. Interviewees explain that it would be: “the most youth including process in the history of the UN”, with “a high level of meaningful youth inclusion”. The aim was to “make youth an integrated part of the process, as opposed to creating a separate youth track”, and also to provide the resources and support to make this possible, according to one of the interviewees representing the host country.

Interviewees explain that, in many UN processes, major groups such as MGCY are only allowed to send two representatives. The S+50 youth inclusion strategy, with its comprehensive youth format, comprising all components of the youth inclusion model, as outlined in figure 2, stands in stark contrast to this.7

Some interviewees indicate that the mandate, the roles and expectations should have been specified even further, and that the youth structure should have been communicated more proactively to member states and institutional partners in the initial phase. Another critique that has emerged is that the communication/commitment from the side of the host country was too “fluffy” and enthusiastic for expectations of youth to be realistic/adequate.

A.a Enabling factors

The following enabling factor have been identified as supportive for the mandate given to youth:

I. Host country priority

Interviewees mention that Sweden highlighted the importance of youth inclusion and intergenerational dialogue already during the negotiations of the mandate of the conference as an integral part of the S+50 process. Youth was then highlighted as a priority throughout the process by the host country, also at minister level.

A.a. Recommendations

The recommendations below, is the evaluator’s summary and elaboration of reflections and suggestions provided by interviewees and respondents:

VI. Clearer roles and expectations

While the mandate given to youth was clear, expectations and roles were partly unclear throughout the process. A host country should give autonomy to the youth, as was done, but there is also an identified need for direction, confirmation as well as common framework for cooperation.

Interviewees point out a need for the host country and the youth coordinators to jointly define expectations, roles as well as what their cooperation/coordination should look like, preferably in a written format. This could be done in a start-up meeting including the host country and MGCY, possibly together with the supportive focal points.8

7 For an analysis of optimal models of youth inclusion within the UN, a comparable analysis to other youth inclusion strategies of other international processes should be undertaken. This should include an analysis of process related and policy related outcomes and also assess to what degree the processes live up to the principles of youth inclusion, as outlined in the evaluation model in this report. This kind of comparative analysis is beyond the scope of this evaluation.

8 This kind of cooperation agreement could for instance define; expectations, roles, cooperation arrangements (such as update meetings, administrative tasks, access to information as well as access to communication channels), boundaries of the youth inclusion set by the process, youth outputs expectations, funding and expectations of the size of youth participation at the meeting, planning of monitoring and evaluation activities, etc.

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VII. Measures to make the YTF well known

The mandate and the role of the YTF has to be clearly communicated to all institutional partners in order for the YTF to be recognised as a partner. Interviewees highlight the responsibility of the host country to proactively, and repeatedly, communicate the existence of the YTF at an early stage. That way, all involved members states and institutional partners would know about their roles and mandates.

A.b Political commitment and support for the mandate from the host country

Continuous advocacy, political commitment but also support in terms of resources and providing access to the process is vital for a meaningful youth participation to take place.

Below follows a detailed account of the evaluation findings regarding the host country commitment and support for the youth mandate, including recommendations for future processes.

A.b S+50 findings

Several interviewees representing the host country stress the importance of backing up the mandate of youth both budget-wise and by prioritizing human resources to facilitate the youth inclusion. And indeed, youth was given priority when it came to resources as well as access to the process, one example being speaking time. Support provided by UNEP, in particular the civil society unit, was also of importance, as was financial support provided by other donors.

Sweden´s S+50 ambassador Johanna Lissinger Peitz9 as well as representatives at ministerial level of the host country repeatedly stressed the importance of youth inclusion and participation. Institutional partners, UNEP, co-presidents of the Leadership Dialogues and the Swedish S+50 secretariat among others were continuously made aware that youth was a priority in S+50. Interviewees highlight how this influenced also them to make youth a priority.

Interviewees explain how Sweden reached out to the member states highlighting the importance of involving youth in, for example, national delegations from the outset of the S+50. Swedish embassies were also encouraged to promote youth inclusion.10

Another example of support from the host country, this time from Kenya, was present at the side event ‘A Common Agenda for Future Generations’. Mr. Keriako Tobiko, the Kenyan minister of environment and forestry, specifically urged member states to support the inclusion of the youth demands in the conclusions of the meeting.

Time and human resources is a crucial factor for the host country to be able to provide this kind of support for youth inclusion. As a matter of fact, this is a factor repeatedly highlighted by interviewees representing the host country. A challenge in this regard worth noting, is that the resolution establishing the meeting was adopted only in May 2021, around one year before the international meeting. Throughout this evaluation the shortage of time reoccurs as a hindering factor of youth inclusion.

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9 Johanna Lissinger Peitz was Sweden´s ambassador to Stockholm + 50 and led the process from the side of the host country. 10 The evaluator does not have an overview of the outcome of this strategy.

A.b Enabling factors

The enabling factors below have been identified as supportive for the host country to deliver political commitment and support for a meaningful level of youth inclusion:

I. Youth treated as a partner

On the whole a picture is given that youth was treated and received as a partner. As discussed elsewhere in this report, interviewees highlight how youth was given autonomy to selforganise and an open climate of communication was created. Also, as the endorsement of the youth policy paper suggests, youth input was considered seriously. Information was shared and space provided for youth, even if interviewees do highlight the need for youth to continuously push for this.

II. Human resources for youth inclusion

Host country interviewees repeatedly mention the need of time to successfully implement a meaningful youth inclusion process. Approximately 1.5 full time position were dedicated to the youth inclusion in the Swedish S+50 secretariat. The ambassador tried to prioritize the youth, by accepting the invitations from youth whenever possible. Both human and financial resource allocation will be further discussed elsewhere in this report.

A.b Recommendations

The recommendations below, is the evaluator’s summary and elaboration of reflections and suggestions provided by interviewees and respondents:

I.

Create

a host country guide on youth inclusion

A guide for youth inclusion should be provided to the host country by UNEP at the very start of the process.11 The guide could, among other items, contain the following:12

• an outline of the actual process itself in order for the host country to be able to plan for, and ensure integration of youth;

• guiding principles for meaningful youth inclusion;

• a presentation of key stakeholders, with a special focus on MGCY and its structure;

• a rough outline of the format of meaningful youth inclusion in a UN process;

• a rough timeline, including recommendations regarding preparation and foresight in accreditation and Visa applications/processes;

• recommendations and enabling factors for host country facilitation of youth inclusion

It is important that youth are part of shaping the youth inclusion process, hence MGCY should be included in the drafting of a host country guide in some way. MGCY should also be invited to run a crash course in “UN level youth inclusion” for the host country.

II. Create a member state guide on youth inclusion

Youth’s role within the member states in relation to the international policy process needs to be clarified and strengthened. Interviewees representing the host country explain that they experienced a genuine and high interest in youth inclusion among member states, but that there is a need to promote it repeatedly.

11 This report could potentially form the basis of such a guide, in order to build on the experience made in S+50.

12 The list of items is not exhaustive, but rather the evaluator’s analysis of reflections, assessment and soft recommendations provided by interviewees and respondents.

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The evaluator recommends to produce a guide for member states on youth inclusion in international processes. These guidelines for member states should be produced well ahead of the outset of the policy process. Several interviewees have provided input regarding contents of such a set of guidelines. Suggestions are summarised below.

• The importance of ensuring that youth are given space in developing the national priorities is highlighted by several interviewees. The youth inclusion process should build on existing organised and semi-organised youth structures and be given adequate resources for consultations and policy development.

• Member states should accommodate young people to be represented in their national delegations. UN delegate programs can be used to build capacity of such youth delegates, as highlighted in the youth policy paper.

• Youth should be involved in the follow-up work at national level. In particular, youth should be invited to participate in the drafting of national, regional and local action plans as well as in their implementation. Co-funding as well as access to local and regional decision-makers throughout the implementation phase is an important enabling factor.

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LAYER B: REPRESENTATION OF GLOBAL YOUTH

GRADING: SATISFACTORY

For a youth inclusion in a global policy making process to be meaningful, there has to be a legitimate representation of global youth. This is a complex matter, representing various challenges. The vast number of youth and the immensely diversity regarding the basic preconditions for participation does pose serious challenges to the ambition of giving equal access to the process of youth at a global level. Geo-political settings, conditions of security and peace, communication and media coverage, Internet coverage, command of English and education level, just to name a few are all potentially discriminating factors that are likely to cause unequal inclusion and engagement among participants.

It is also important to remember that “youth” is not a homogenous group. It includes the intersection of various diversities related to, for instance; ethnic origin, gender, geographic origin, social strata, etc. This makes the process of organising the youth representation and the formulation of the “youth voice”, extremely difficult, and critical. Adequate tools of representation, capacity building, deliberation, cross-sectorial fertilization, consensus finding and collaborative policy development needs to be an integrated part of the process of representing the youth voice.

This evaluation seeks to examine whether the youth inclusion strategy in S+50 was successful in increasing the representation of global youth.

The evaluator’s assumption is that the process had neither the possibility, nor the ambition to create a completely legitimate and inclusive structure of representation.13 Besides, even attempting to assess whether the outputs and strategies adopted, did lead to a legitimate representation of global youth would be an impossible task. This evaluation has the aim to approach the challenge constructively.

In the following, the evaluation will set out to identify some of the tools that were used in the process, and assess their contribution in terms of facilitating youth representation.

On the whole adequate tools for representation and inclusion of global youth were developed and used throughout S+50. In particular the youth consultations and the youth policy paper provided the basis for inclusive deliberation as well as representation of the youth. Measures such as the coordinators’ capacity building exercise, conducted at the beginning at youth sessions, potentially mitigated some of the discriminating factors mentioned above. Also, the process as such empowered the youth involved.

Nevertheless, outreach and inclusion was limited, mainly due to shortage of time, limited human and financial resources as well as limited internet coverage among

13 When measuring an increase in youth representation, a point of reference (commonly referred to as a baseline in the field of evaluation) is needed. This is difficult in the case of S+50, since there is no established format for youth inclusion in UN. Several interviewees bring up a format that has been used in COP as well as other UN process where only two youth representatives are included, a format that can be used for comparison.

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certain groups of youth. At the same time it should be stressed that very few additional discriminatory factors inside the process itself have been observed. The one that stands out is the exclusion caused by Visa applications not being granted.

A detailed account follows below. It covers the three components that have been identified in the evaluation model as fundamental prerequisites for Representation of global youth through one sub-chapter each. The three sub-chapters deal with:

B.a Representation of global youth

B.b Inclusion and equality

B.c Capacity building and empowerment

B.a Representation of global youth

Below follows a detailed account of the evaluation findings regarding the representation of global youth within the S+50 process, including recommendations for future processes.

B.a S+50 findings

Figure 4 – The youth inclusion structure in S+50

The figure above, from Part 1, is a visual presentation of how global youth was represented and organised in the S+50 youth inclusion structure. But in what regards did this structure manage to represent global youth in a legitimate way? Through the evaluation process, the following aspects have been identified as contributing to a legitimate representation of global youth in S+50:

1. Universal/open participation of youth

MGCY laid the foundations for open engagement in the Youth Focus Group already at the planning stage of S+50, well before the YTF was established. Any organisation, network or

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individual could get involved in the process without being appointed.14

An unexpected outcome of the evaluation is the crucial role the youth policy paper played in creating a legitimate base for youth representation in S+50. It allowed for a universal/open participation through the consultations and the collaborative drafting process. And most importantly, it allowed for all youth advocacy to be streamlined around a collective position that could be seen as representing youth.

This process and format will be further examined in Layer D; Youth policy development. Subchapter B.b; Inclusion and equality, will include a discussion on whether this open process can also be understood as inclusive.

1. Youth platforms for engagement/facilitation/representation

MGCY

MGCY is “the UN General Assembly-mandated and self-organised mechanism for young people to meaningfully engage in certain UN processes.”15 As such it has a preestablished role and structure for youth representation. This role was of extra importance when it came to representing youth in the planning phase of S+50, before the YTF was established.16

The Youth Task Force

A YTF was selected through an open and inclusive process according to interviewees, with the aim to facilitate the youth inclusion process and the representation of youth. It represented global youth not by a representative mandate, but rather by representing “the demands of global youth” as formulated in the youth policy paper.

The YTF gained its legitimacy from:

a) the mandate from the host country;

b) the YFG that selected the YTF members;

b) the organisations and constituencies to which members belonged, and;

c) the youth policy paper that it facilitated and represented.

At the same time interviewees and respondents do express significantly diverse understandings on whether YTF was a legitimate representative of global youth or not.

The YTF as a representative or facilitating youth structure?

A majority (57%) of the survey respondents indicate that the YTF is “definitely not” a legitimate representative of global youth. Interviewees stress the value of open participation and the need to be inclusive of youth also outside of the YTF.17 They also indicate a need for institutional partners to understand that the role of the YTF was to facilitate youth inclusion, rather than to represent youth. This is also what transpires from the evaluator’s analysis.

At the same time approximately 30% of the respondents do refer to the YTF as a “legitimate

14 The evaluator’s knowledge of the format, function and outcome of the YFG is limited.

15 https://www.unmgcy.org/about-overview MGCY: Who are we?

16 This evaluation does not assess the organisational structure nor the legitimacy of MGCY as a representative of global youth. However, the evaluator notes that it is a mature organisation with mechanisms for internal democracy, outreach and inclusion as well as external representation. In this capacity, MGCY contributed with legitimacy to the youth representation within the S+50 process.

17 It should be noted here that one of the fundamental principles of MGCY is that of universal (open) participation.

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representative of global youth”. Some interviewees also stress that they would have liked for the YTF to have played the role of a representative body, to speak on behalf of the youth as sometimes fast replies are needed.

The evaluator concludes that there has been unclarity about YTF’s role among the actors in the process. The YTF did in effect act as a facilitator of youth inclusion. On the same note, YTF did also effectively contribute to the representation, in particular through the elaboration and presentation of the youth policy paper and the facilitation of youth representation. On a whole, the YTF together with the youth policy paper were successful tools for combining representative and participatory representation of youth in the process.

B.a Enabling factors

The following enabling factor, in addition to those outlined under “inclusion” and “capacity building” below, have been identified as contributing to the representation of global youth in S+50:

I. The youth policy paper as a tool for representation

In a one-off global process, with a short timeframe, it would be unrealistic to expect that a fully legitimate structure of youth representation would be established. Instead, the policy paper was elaborated as a tool for the representation of the opinions of youth and youth organisations inside the S+50 process.

The policy paper was based on global consultations, and the drafting was done in a collaborative platform open for all.18 The outcome was a solid base for representation, and used systematically throughout the process to streamline youth input to the S+50 process. The outcome, the endorsement of the youth policy paper, gives evidence to the adequacy of this tool. The policy paper is further discussed in chapter D; Youth policy development.

B.a Recommendations

While the overall assessment in the evaluations undertaken in S+50 gives an overall satisfactory account of youth representation, some hurdles were identified. Below, the evaluator will present some suggestions on how the representative structure could be improved further:

I. Strengthen the role of the youth of other MGs

Through the priority given to youth in S+50, one of the Major Groups (MGs) – MGCYsuddenly received a much higher priority. As one of the prioritized actors in the process, the youth was allocated more resources, had more speaking time, etc. Some interviewees state that the prioritising of youth initially represented a challenge vis á vis other MGs. This effect is, however, said to have been mitigated by efforts made by the youth organisers themselves, as well as by UNEP.

The priority given to youth did not necessarily have to result in a competitive situation between MGs. Youth as a group, cuts across all the other MGs, and indeed young people inside the YTF reflected most, if not all, of the MGs.

18 The open participation still meets challenges of inclusiveness, as outlined in section B.b Inclusion and Equality.

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The evaluator concludes that the role of these YTF members could be strengthened and visualised further in order to avoid any conflicting situation with other MGs. This could, for instance, be done by establishing a MGs work stream inside the YTF. This would not only increase the visibility and inclusion of youth from other MGs, but also increase dissemination of the youth outputs among other MGs.

III. Avoid a separate inclusion of non-organised youth Interviewees representing UNEP explain that they have an obligation to include nonorganised youth in UNEP processes, and that this was done also in S+50.19

The evaluator believes there is a need to investigate if not all youth representation in the process, including that of non-organised youth, should be integrated into one structure in order not to have a fragmented representation of youth.

In the S+50 youth structure, non-organised youth were present, both through the YFG and the YTF. They were also included and represented through the consultations and in the youth policy development process. This indicates there is a structure in place to accommodate for this group and that UNEP, together with the youth organisers, in a future process should be able to find a common strategy for the inclusion of non-organised youth inside the youth structure.

B.b Inclusion and equality

Youth representation must be assessed not only based on its format, but also on its ability to include youth in an equal and non-discriminatory way. Structures and strategies should be in place to prevent exclusion based on ethnic origin, gender, geographic origin, social stratum, age etc. This involves not only the absence of discrimination, but also supportive measures to mitigate the effects caused by inequality.

In this sub-chapter we will look at these structures and strategies concerning inclusion and equal access to the process, assess enabling factors as well as identify areas of improvement.

B.b S+50 findings

The evaluation process yields a picture of an overall inclusive youth structure. Indicators supporting this valuation that have been identified by the respondents/interviewees include;

• The recruitment process to the YTF was open and broadly disseminated, not only to MGCY constituencies etc, but also to other networks and at the local level. The selection process was rigorous and transparent. Efforts were made to ensure broad and equal representation in regards to geography, ethnicity, social strata, gender, etc.;20

• The consultations were open, and due to their virtual format accessible to most youth;

• The YFG was an open network, where “anyone” could join in to make their voice heard and contribute to the youth processes and strategies;

• The youth policy paper was drafted in an open process, based on a relatively broad consultation;

19 The evaluator does not have sufficient information on the actual inclusion of non-organised youth to verify to what extent it effectively took place.

20 According to the S+50 Youth Engagement Framework written by MGCY, the YTF was composed as follows; Africa 29%, Asia Pacific 16%, LAC 10.5%, MENA 10.5%, Europe 18%, N-America 8% and SIDS 8%.

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• Youth speakers were selected through rigorous selection processes to ensure equal representation, and;

• The reception and inclusion of youth was, largely, non-discriminatory and youth was gradually recognised and accepted as a partner throughout the process (i.e. the evaluator does not see any apparent signs of age discrimination).

At the same time, respondents and interviewees do highlight several challenges related to youth’s equal opportunities to participate in the process.

The biggest discriminatory factors identified by most young respondents and interviewees are lack of full access to Internet and technology for virtual participation, as well as the host country’s inability to provide all youth participants with a Visa. The insufficient funds for youth participants at the international meeting is also highlighted by several interviewees, also when funds were large compared to many other processes.

Another hindering factor highlighted by interviewees is the culture of “last minute” arrangements. Examples include meetings on short notice within the YTF, as well as delays in confirmation of funding and accreditation from the side of UNEP and Sweden.

Language skills, rhetorical capacity as well as international experience are all aspects identified by interviewees as likely to affect participants’ ability to participate effectively in the process. The organisers did try to mitigate these unequal preconditions by starting each of the open meetings with a capacity-building session. However, this measure might not have been enough to tackle structural inequalities.

Lastly, the correlation between inclusion and outreach strategies should be considered. With a small outreach, inclusion will by default remain limited. The recommendations concerning increasing outreach, as outlined in Chapter F; Dissemination and follow-up, should therefore be considered as contributing positively to inclusion in a future process.

B.b Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supporting an inclusive approach to youth participation in a process such as S+50:

I. MGCYs strategies for inclusion

MGCY has mainstreamed inclusion throughout its working structures and methods. Examples of such strategies include having one focal point from the global north and one from the global south. In S+50, the MGCY inclusion strategy to ensure equal representation regarding ethnicity, gender, geographical origin, etc. was used when it came to the selection of YTF members, youth speakers, participants etc. Interviewees representing both institutions and youth conclude that “the selection process was rigorous and highly inclusive.”

Another inclusion strategy that was applied in the YTF was inviting to “twin meetings” at different hours in an attempt to enable participants from different global time-zones to attend meetings.

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The selection process was rigorous and highly inclusive

III. New groups of youth and youth networks

Youth from the local level, non-organised youth, as well as youth who were not familiar with UN/MGCY processes have considerable hurdles to enter an UN level process, also when structures for universal participation are applied. Interviewees highlight that measures were taken, that contributed to a broader outreach and a more inclusive process. Examples include the dissemination and recruitment across national and local network, the creation of a Tool Kit for local action, the open format for participation in policy drafting as well as engaging non-organised youth and “new” youth networks in the YTF and YFG.21 22

The evaluator has been unable to fully assess the effectiveness of the outreach measures but notes that local/national structures for outreach are largely missing.23

B.b Recommendations

The recommendations below, is the evaluator’s summary and elaboration of reflections and suggestions provided by interviewees and respondents on increasing inclusion and equality in the process:

I. Ensure an equal role of host & co-host youth platforms

The global south would have been more visible in the process, should the Kenyan youth platform have been allocated a more formal role in the coordination of S+50. As stated earlier, both MGCY and LSU highlight the benefit of giving both host country youth platforms the same status.

II. Develop further inclusion methods

An increased focus on inclusion measures is recommended if the model is replicated in future processes. Interviewees have identified the following possible inclusion methods that could possible contribute:

• Use more (preferably multilingual) aggregating tools, such as online polls. Online meetings alone will not be able to accommodate vast numbers of youth.

• Develop methods to lower the language barrier further in the consultation phase as well as in the policy drafting. Options can include parts of the consultations being conducted in multilingual virtual questionnaires/polls/brainstorming format (Menti, Slido) so that participants´ ability to present in English, does not limit their opportunities to influence the process.24

• One interviewee indicates that the use of more facilitation methods can increase inclusion. “MGCY has the knowledge to facilitate meetings, and shouldn’t refrain from making use of it for fear of limiting the role of the YTF.”

21 Non-organised youth are young people that are not affiliated with any particular organisation or movement. The evaluator does not have sufficient information on the actual participation of non-organised youth to verify to what extent this was a successful measure.

22 The evaluator lacks an overview of the exact number of youth representing these groups in the YTF and YFG.

23 Some recommendations on increasing outreach can be found in chapter F; Dissemination and follow-up.

24 Youth interviewee for example identifies the translation of the Tool Kit and the Educational Pack as a positive contribution to youth inclusion in S+50.

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By giving more space to the commitments/ demands/work already done, the voice of global south can be strengthened in the process

• A respondent indicates that “by giving more space to the commitments/demands/work already done, the voice of global south can be strengthened in the process.”

III. Increase inclusion by planning ahead

Several young people refer to the last-minute-organisation as a hindering factor for participation. Interviewees provide examples of how meetings were announced too late, and how accreditations were granted at short notice. The evaluator suggests that institutions involved as well as youth coordinators make an effort to change this culture. A few examples, elaborated on in chapter E; Co-creation, on how this can be done include:

• a timetable for accreditation and Visa, communicated at the beginning of the process by UNEP and the host country;

• a deadline for donors to contribute with travel related donations;

• for UNEP and the host country to take into account that youth, due to their limited financial resources and the nature of voluntary engagement, are particularly vulnerable to late decisions/accreditation/meeting announcements, etc., and;

• for the youth coordinators to actively contribute to a culture of early announcement of meetings etc. (whenever possible)

IV. Mitigate the digital barrier

One of the main hindering factors for equal inclusion of youth identified by respondents and interviewees is the lack of internet access in many regions of the world. Capacity building, consultations and policy drafting took place online, thus, excluding persons lacking internet access.

While it is beyond the scope of a UN process to provide global internet access, three potential possibilities might contribute to mitigate the effect;

• Spreading information about the consultations through bulk-SMS-messaging.

• Focusing funding on facilitation of internet access and involving youth in identifying priorities for financing/donors.

• More off-line activities, such as consultations at local/national level.

V. Increase the inclusion of children

Children below 18-years-of-age, and in particular under the age of 16, appear to have been largely absent from the youth inclusion structures in S+50 with a few exceptions.

Their involvement could potentially be strengthened. For instance, their priorities could be mapped in a separate children-consultation- strategy. Also, their role as advocates could be facilitated by non-traditional methods such as, for instance, video letters. The latter is a method that has been suggested by several youth respondents and means that young people record a video with their message to decision-makers.

B.c Capacity building and empowerment

A young person without access to adequate background information on the topic and the process will not be able to fully participate in a process such as S+50. Hence adequate capacity building and empowerment activities that contribute to youth policy development, as well

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as the advocacy and communication skills of youth, are key in facilitating meaningful youth participation.

Empowerment of the youth is also crucial, in order to support the long-term impact of the process itself. Empowered change makers will share and disseminate the outcome in their organisations, networks at local and national level. Dissemination and follow-up is a topic that will be discussed further in layer F.

Below follows a detailed account of the evaluation findings regarding the role of the capacity building strategy within the S+50 process, including recommendations for future processes.

B.c S+50 findings

Capacity building was given priority in the participation strategy developed by youth in S+50. It was part of;

• the start-up of the YTF;

• all consultation events, and;

• S+50 Youth Environmental Assembly (the youth pre-events in Nairobi and Stockholm)

In addition to this, the Educational Pack and the Tool Kit were two components of the process, created in order to build capacity locally for S+50 engagement.25

Furthermore, interviewees explain how the process itself was empowering for the youth involved. Consultations, policy drafting, working groups, engagement platforms, but also the youth events and the S+50 international meeting itself, empowered participating youth. There are accounts of individual journeys, of increased capacity to advocate and speak up, enhanced topical and process related knowledge etc. This resulted in what several interviewees from UNEP and the host country Sweden describe as “well informed and empowered youth leaders, activists and organisations”. The accounts indicate that capacity building and empowerment of youth contributed to successful youth representation within the process, as well as to the dissemination of the results and outcomes.

B.c Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as successfully contributing to the capacity building of youth in S+50:

I. A knowledge base provided by MGCY

As discussed elsewhere in this report, it was instrumental to the process and to the quality of the outcomes, that a platform like MGCY shared its cross-sectoral knowledge from different thematic areas, as well as from UN related political processes.

II. Collaborative preparation of youth interventions

For meaningful youth representation, the content of the youth interventions/inputs should

25 The evaluator does not have sufficient information about these components, to assess their use or effectiveness in the S+50 process.

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Well informed and empowered youth leaders, activists and organisations

be well informed and the youth speaker should be empowered to present it adequately. The policy drafting process with its capacity-building elements, but also the collaborative preparation of youth interventions (collaborative intervention drafting and capacity building of speakers) ensured what several institutional interviewees describes as a qualitative presence of youth in the S+50 process.

III. Local level capacity building

The multilingual Tool Kit and Educational Pack were created with the purpose to disseminate the process to youth at local level. The Tool Kit provided an overview of the S+50 process, identified ways to participate on the global level as well as how to take action locally. According to interviewees, the strategy was further strengthened by national and local capacity building activities conducted by members of the YTF.

To optimise future strategies of local outreach and inclusion, it would be important to assess the outreach of the local capacity building strategy. It is, however, beyond the scope of this evaluation.

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LAYER C: YOUTH AUTONOMY

GRADING: GOOD

For youth to be a fully qualified partner in processes like S+50, they need to enjoy autonomy. This implies that youth will have to respect boundaries, rules and procedures set for all the players of the process. Youth will also have access to resources, just like other actors. Youth autonomy entails the right to self-organise within certain boundaries, as well as the autonomy in formulating and communicating inputs/demands, such as procedural content and policy proposals.

This chapter analyses to what extent youth was given autonomy in S+50. Interviewees and respondents give a picture of a high degree of youth autonomy regarding selforganisation. The open climate of communication is also said to have facilitated greatly to youth’s opportunity to formulate and communicate inputs autonomously to the process.

Below follows a detailed account of the findings in the evaluation regarding the two components that have been identified as fundamental prerequisites for youth autonomy;

C.a Youth autonomy in designing their representation and processes

C.b Youth autonomy in formulating and communicating their input

C.a Youth autonomy in designing their representation and processes

The democratic right to self-organisation is an intrinsic part of any meaningful inclusion. Youth also have the knowledge, skills and ability to optimise their own participation and organisation. This is why several interviewees highlights the importance of the concept by youth for youth as an underlying principle of the youth inclusion.

Below follows an outline of the findings in the evaluation, including enabling factors.

C.a S+50 findings

MGCY together with LSU established the YTF and the Swedish government gave it a political mandate. The YTF then decided on what tasks to perform and how to organise its work according to the principle “for youth by youth”. The youth policy demands were developed and presented by youth through a bottom-up approach resulting in a youth policy paper.

Youth also self-organised as they selected speakers and youth participants. Institutional partners describe the process as “impressive and inclusive”. The youth events, such as the Youth Environmental Assembly etc. were also successfully self-organised.

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Institutional partners describe the process as “impressive and inclusive”

In conclusion, youth were given complete autonomy to self-organise their representation and process. No challenges have been mentioned by interviewees or respondents related to this matter.

C.a Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supporting the self-organisation and autonomy of youth in S+50:

I. The youth funding and inclusion was unconditioned

Interviewees state that youth were granted a high degree of autonomy when the youth inclusion structure was established. One example mentioned by interviewees is that funding for project management as well as for the youth participants of the international meeting was, on the whole, unconditioned.

II. Previous experience and organisational know-how

Several interviewees indicate that MGCY, through its extensive involvement in UN level processes, was well equipped to lead the process of youth inclusion design. This experience is referred to as an important enabling factor for youth to act autonomously.

C.b Youth autonomy in formulating and communicating their input

Even if youth are allowed to organise themselves freely, set up their structures and processes, they can still be hindered from freely formulating their demands and inputs. Fear of repression, of losing access to funds or decision-makers are common reasons for selfcensorship among youth around the world.

In this sub-chapter, we will assess the level of autonomy achieved by youth, in terms of opportunities to formulate and communicate demands. Enabling factors as well as areas of improvement will also be examined.

C.b S+50 findings

Youth participation in UN is not rights based but “by invitation only”. Hypothetically there is a risk that this leads to self-sponsorship, where youth avoid raising uncomfortable issues, because of the fear of being excluded. Another similar structural challenge is that MGCY is not allowed to criticise member states.

Interviewees provide an account of an open communication climate in S+50, and indicate that youth enjoyed full freedom of expression without running the risk of being excluded. This meant that youth did not self-censor their inputs.

While youth as a group was given autonomy to formulate their demands, some youth participants indicate that they, for different reasons, sometimes felt excluded or side lined within the youth processes. The evaluator does not have sufficient information to assess the underlying causes or the extent of these tendencies. However, the findings do support the assumption that a sturdy organisation with democratic structures, is more likely to deal with inclusion adequately than an organisation that has been arranged ad-hoc.

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C.b Enabling factors

The factors below have been identified as enabling and supportive to the autonomy of youth in S+50 regarding their input to the process:

I. Rights-based youth participation

Youth inclusion was structural and solid in S+50. Structures, such as YTF, were ensured a voice, unconditioned, throughout the process. Speaking time was granted, and coordination meetings held regularly with youth organisers. Youth was guaranteed relatively unconditioned budgets. The bias mentioned as a risk above does, hence, not appear to have been a challenge.

II. Pre-existing partnership

Interviewees have indicated that the LSU, as focal point “could put any issue or critique to their government without the fear of losing their confidence”, an indication of a functioning partnership. The fact that LSU and the Swedish government had established a stable contact already when the S+50 started, can be assumed to have contributed to this open climate of communication.

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LSU, as focal point “could put any issue or critique to their government without the fear of losing their confidence”

LAYER D: YOUTH POLICY DEVELOPMENT

GRADING: GOOD

Youth as a group is highly heterogeneous, characterised by diverse experiences and life situations, sometimes conflicting needs and requests. For this reason, youth’s ability to develop and formulate their policy demands as a group is crucial. S+50 demanded of youth not only to negotiate policy demands among themselves, but also to engage in policy deliberation to create understanding and a common ground. This is a challenging task in a global setting and with the abovementioned diversity.

The process of the consultations and the policy paper development per se has not been assessed in this evaluation. Instead, the analysis attempts to assess whether/how these processes contribute to the youth inclusion in S+50.

This chapter examines the tools and processes of the youth policy development process in S+50. In sum, mostly positive aspects have come to the fore in the evaluation regarding the consultations and the global policy development. The consultations played an important structural role in the process, successful collaborative methods for policy development were developed and the outcome, a youth policy paper, met high standards according to interviewees.26 The youth policy paper served as an effective advocacy tool and made it all the way to the conclusions of the meeting, where it was endorsed in recommendation 9, as well as influenced recommendation 3. The final recommendations/conclusions can be seen in Appendix 2.

At the same time the late start of the YTF and the process was identified as a hindering factor both when it came to outreach and advocacy.

Below follows a detailed account of the findings in the evaluation regarding the two components that have been identified as fundamental prerequisites for youth policy development by youth;

D.a Policy development by youth

D.b. Youth consultations

D.a Policy development by youth

Below, the youth policy development process will be analysed and discussed. Enabling factors as well as areas of improvement will also be presented.

D.a S+50 findings

The youth policy was developed through a series of four global virtual consultations, followed by an open virtual process where a global youth policy paper was drafted collaboratively on an online platform. A capacity building component was part of the policy drafting process, so

26 The youth policy paper can be found at: https://transformingeducationsummit.sdg4education2030.org/system/ files/2022-08/S%2B50%20Global%20Youth%20Policy%20Paper.pdf

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as to facilitate and empower youth. Interviewees generally provide a common perception of a successful policy deliberation process.

The policy paper was used throughout the S+50 process as an advocacy tool, streamlining the youth voice inside of the process. All institutional partners interviewed in the evaluation confirmed that the youth policy paper, as well as the youth policy interventions, were of high quality throughout the process.

A youth participant describes the moment when they understood that the youth policy paper was to be endorsed in the S+50 meeting conclusions as “a moment of goosebumps”. Indeed, this was an unprecedented achievement at a UN level process, as mentioned by several interviewees.

In addition to the limited time to the policy development process, the issue of inclusion is another obvious challenge in a global policy drafting process. This is further discussed in subchapter B.b; Inclusion and equality.

D.a Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supporting the success of the global policy drafting process of youth:

I. Policy making by universal participation

The policy drafting took place online, using a collaborative platform, where any young participant involved in the process could contribute, make changes etc. The global consultation process, that took place before the actual drafting process, was open for any organisation or individual to contribute.

It can be discussed if the process was really inclusive. However, even with a limited number of people/organisations involved in the process, the youth policy paper had an important symbolic value of universal inclusion of youth in the S+50 process. The open policy drafting process showed that the inclusion of youth in the S +50 process was an attempt to represent the opinion of global youth, rather than of a few young persons in leading positions.

II. Facilitation by the YTF work stream

To draft a global policy paper is an enormous task. The facilitation has to be transparent and neutral, the output coherent and concise. The fact that the process was facilitated through a specific work stream inside the YTF, has been highlighted as an important enabling factor in the evaluation. The policy itself is also a tangible result of a successful facilitation. The one negative aspect indicated by a few of the interviewees is the “red flagging” (see below).

D.a Recommendations

While the overall assessment in the evaluations undertaken in S+50 provides an indeed positive account of the policy development by youth, some hurdles were identified where improvements can still be made:

I. Enable an earlier start in the policy drafting process

The benefits that would come with having a youth policy document in place at the beginning of the policy process have been highlighted by youth and policy makers alike in the evaluation.

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A moment of goosebumps

Having the policy document at hand ahead of time would have enabled youth to start advocacy earlier and, hence, to have a stronger impact at, for example, the preparatory meetings according to interviewees. A universal consultation and policy drafting process must be given sufficient time, not least when mainly implemented by unpaid volunteers.

Youth must be provided with the conditions to start their policy making process earlier. For the policy paper to be ready, for instance six months prior to the international meeting, the YTF would need to be established approximately 12 months before the meeting. In turn, for this to be possible, the funding needs to be confirmed at a much earlier stage.

II. Reconsider how a red flagging system should work

The only critique that has been pronounced in the evaluation regarding the collaborative policy deliberation and drafting is the use of red flagging. This is a kind of veto where an individual can block contents in the policy paper by raising a “red flag”.

The right to veto provides individuals with the opportunity to obstruct suggestions that they do not agree with. However, the red flag also gives a small group, even one individual, the possibility to obstruct a policy content that the great majority agrees on. While it is a good ambition to have a consensus on a youth policy paper, there is also a risk that the content gets watered down, and that special interests dominate the agenda by obstructing certain contents.

Red flagging should be evaluated, and youth should seek to replace it with a better procedure. If the red flagging is kept, a deadline needs to be set, so as to ensure that content is not removed in the very last minute. There must be enough time for the youth to review, rethink and modify the content.27 Another suggestion is that a red flag needs the support of a certain number of persons in order to be considered as a legitimate ground for obstructing content.

D.b Youth consultations

A meaningful youth inclusion process should preferably include the opinions of youth also outside of the “inner circles” of participants in a process. Nevertheless, for most of global youth, an international policy process is an inaccessible exercise, also when it includes an ambitious youth inclusion strategy.

One way to accommodate for a better inclusion, is to base the youth policy input on consultations with broader groups of youth. The purpose of such consultations is to include youth, but just as much to identify diverse needs and solutions. A successful consultation will result in policy that can legitimately represent global youth.

Below, the role of the youth consultation process in S+50 will be analysed and discussed.

D.b S+50 findings

A series of four global consultations were conducted, involving hundreds of youths. The consultations were open and could be attended by anyone wanting to participate. Also, interviewees account for regional and national consultations conducted by YTF members. For example, in Kenya four virtual capacity building sessions and consultations took place ahead of S+50 and the Nordic/Baltic youth conducted regional consultations. Interviewees explain

27 An interviewee explains how content that had been elaborated on for weeks by a large number of youth, was removed by red flagging only days before the policy drafting closed

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how different regions also had consultations at the S+50 premeeting in Nairobi.28

Strategies that served to reach youth at local and national level rested mainly on initiatives of individual youth/youth networks backed up by a few consultants. The outreach and the methods used in the consultations are beyond the scope of this evaluation. However, after having conducted interviews, and analysed survey answers, the evaluator can conclude that the consultations did not have a large numerical outreach and lacked adequate resources/structures to reach all the way to the local level globally. “There needs to be a more physical and multilingual outreach in order to reach youth inclusively”, one interviewee explains.

D.b Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as successfully contributing to the consultation strategy:

I. Youth led consultations

The consultations are an integrated part of the youth policy development, hence they should be conducted by youth themselves, just as was done in S+50. Youth interviewees state that the regional consultations undertaken by UNEP cannot replace these youth consultations.

II. Capacity building

Youth will never be fully included, if not provided with the conditions to participate in a well informed and empowered manner. Hence, the capacity building strategy was an important enabling factor in the consultation strategy as part of the youth policy development.

D.b Recommendations

Below follows some recommendations on how outreach of the consultation could be increased:

Consultations is an effective outreach tool, and there is a potential to reinforce this component. At several places in this report suggestions are provided, on how to strengthen the outreach of the consultations and the process as such. Proposals on improvements include:

• An earlier and stronger social media presence

• Regional outreach teams

• Multilingual consultations

• Text messaging tools to mitigate the effect of lacking internet access

• Make use of multilingual aggregating tools/methods, for instance online polls

• While some funding was made available for consultants and consultation activities in S+50, there is a need to increase this funding further.29

• Regional and national institutions could be encouraged to fund regional and national youth consultations in order to make sure their youth have a voice in the process.

28 It is impossible for the evaluator to assess the outreach achieved by these different methods and strategies due to the limited data and information.

29 A good practice can be found in the EU Youth Dialogue, an EU-level policy making process based on national consultations. The national level consultations of youth are provided with funding over the Erasmus + program, both for project management and for activities in order to increase outreach.

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There needs to be a more physical and multilingual outreach in order to reach youth inclusively

LAYER E: A CO-CREATION PROCESS

OVERALL GRADING: SATISFACTORY

Of all the layers in the evaluation model, the one concerning co-creation is perhaps the most fundamental for a meaningful level of youth inclusion to take place. It concerns the space provided to youth, their access to and influence in the process, as well as the practical implications hereof.

As discussed in Part 1; co-creation is a process in which citizens/civil society/youth are included in the identification of the problem, in the search for solutions, in the negotiation and, finally, in the implementation of policy. While co-creation does not give a group the formal right to co-decide, it does provide access to the process where youth inputs will be taken into serious consideration, and accommodated when possible.

Co-creation is a culture as much as a structure. Some of the factors that may contribute most to co-creation can be symbolic gestures, such as the official greeting of youth who are present in the room.

The evaluator’s overall impression is that a culture that favoured co-creation was present in S+50. Youth had easy access to decision-makers and were to some extent included in decision making. Other enabling factors were the human and financial resources allocated to youth. The outcome of the youth inclusion process, with the meeting conclusions endorsing the youth policy paper as well as basing recommendation 3 on youth demands, is an indication of a successful co-creation process. The recommendations also offer a kind of political accountability, even if not binding.

Important prerequisites for co-creation such as early inclusion of youth into the decision-making process, feedback to youth about their demands/inputs as well as early funding confirmation were, however, lacking. To create a guide for host countries on meaningful youth inclusion in international processes, could possibly help to mitigate such challenges, a recommendation put forward in chapter A.

Below follows a detailed account of the findings in the evaluation regarding the two components that have been identified as fundamental prerequisites for a meaningful cocreation process:

E.a. A structure to enable co-creation, including sufficient supportive measures as well as tools for accountability

E.b. Inclusion of youth in decision making and access to decision makers throughout the entire process

E.c Youth participants given the right preconditions

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E.a A structure to enable co-creation, including sufficient supportive measures as well as tools for accountability

In this sub-chapter, the structure created to enable co-creation will be analysed and discussed. Enabling factors, as well as areas of improvement will also be highlighted.

E.a S+50 findings

The structure of the youth inclusion process as well as the youth structure itself is presented in Part 1 of this report. Youth were provided space and access to the process in particular through speaking time granted in the IWGs , LDs and the preparatory meetings (including the official one at the UN headquarter in New York) as well as through direct access to the host country and UNEP.

A number of supportive factors were in place to enable co-creation. They included:

• a structure for representation of youth, based on a policy paper and a YTF to facilitate youth inclusion;

• budget for youth organisation (admin, etc.) as well as for youth participants at the meetings;

• continuous communication between youth and institutional organisers;

• youth was received as a partner on the whole (absence of age-discrimination)

Interviewees also identify considerable challenges to a successful co-creation process in S+50. They include:

• a late start of the S+50 process in general, and of the youth process in particular;

• consistently late funding confirmation for youth organisation and participation;

• insufficient inclusion of youth in procedural and organisational planning/preparation;

• the youth process was partly parallel to the “main” S+50 process, even though the host country confirms that “our ambition was to integrate youth in the actual process rather than to create a parallel youth track”.

E.a Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supporting the co-creation structure for youth (in addition to those outlined above in S+50 findings):

I. Experienced youth focal points

MGCY as coordinator, with its familiarity of the UN system and UN processes, was of particular value for youth navigating the process, for a quick start-up phase, as well as for having an impact. In particular MGCY had an important role in representing youth in the process leading up to S+50.

Also, LSU had already established a trustful cooperation with the Swedish government in previous youth inclusion processes, and could contribute to building a culture of co-creation by its open and constructive communication with the host country.

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Our ambition was to integrate youth in the actual process rather than to create a parallel youth track

II. Volunteers’ commitment

When assessing the outcomes of the youth inclusion process of S+50 it is important to keep in mind that the majority of work was done on a voluntary basis within the Youth Focus Group and the YTF. The fact that it managed to bring out this powerful engagement of many young people is a considerable accomplishment. Furthermore, the outcomes would never have been achieved without dedication and commitment from the side of youth volunteers, often in parallel with full-time work/studies.

“Sometimes deadlines could not be met, as the YTF work was very extensive.”, one interviewee explains. This aspect should be taken into account when discussing, for example, the starting time of the YTF, efforts to reduce extra workload on youth, the allocation of sufficient funds for youth project management/admin, etc.

III. Accessible institutions

Coordination meetings between youth and the S+50 secretariat in Stockholm as well as with UNEP were held on a regular basis. Interviewees describe the secretariats and leadership, of both Sweden and UNEP, as accessible.

IV. Dedicated human resources

Interviewees from the host country confirm the importance of prioritising time and human resources to the youth inclusion process. “Meaningful youth inclusion requires considerable time on behalf of the host country”. An enabling factor was that 1.5 full time staff positions were dedicated to youth inclusion in the S+50 Secretariat.

V. Dedicated financial resources

The majority of work that enabled the youth inclusion process was done on a voluntary basis, but the process was also greatly supported by funds allocated to administrative staff within LSU and MGCY. The staff/consultants supported youth with administration, travel arrangements, events management, communication etc.

The evaluators does not have sufficient data to assess whether financial resources allocated were sufficient. According to several interviewees, it was the timing of funding, rather than the amount of money, that proved to be the biggest challenge.

E.a Recommendations

Based on the findings in the evaluation, the following recommendations can be made for improving co-creation structures in international policy processes:

I. Early budget arrangements

A minimum level of financial resources must be allocated early on in the process in order for youth structures to make an adequate project planning. Early funding commitments would allow for:

• defining realistic and common points-of-reference when discussing youth inclusion formats and funding needs with the institutional partners.

• starting the process off earlier, with a goal to have all outputs, including the youth policy

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Meaningful youth inclusion requires considerable time on behalf of the host country

paper, ready six months prior to the international meeting;

• the focal points to develop a common vision through common strategic planning and project development, including role division and task assignment;

• developing a coherent activity plan, and;

• setting up an optimal youth secretariat format.

II. Scheduled coordination meetings

When included in the coordination, youth can contribute in the identification of challenges to youth inclusion and their solutions. Scheduled coordination meetings between youth and the host country / UNEP respectively would strengthen this potential according to several interviewees.30

Such coordination meetings took place also during S+50, but they should preferably be scheduled. The exact frequency would vary between processes as well as throughout the process, but a bi-weekly interval in the most intense part of the implementation could serve as a goal.31

III. Scheduled multi-institutional update meetings

If there would have been a structure for scheduled briefings for all parties (host country/ UNEP/MGCY/youth platforms), for example on a bi-monthly basis, transparency in S+50 would have been greater. The purpose of such meetings would be to keep all parties up-to-date with events and processes and to facilitate a smoother and more efficient inclusion of youth.32 Besides, it would contribute to dissemination.33

IV. Host country capacity building

While there was a political commitment and a strong willingness to create a meaningful youth inclusion, according to some of the interviewees, the Swedish Secretariat partly lacked knowledge on UN processes, structures and youth inclusion. “There was a lack of knowledge, not of willingness” one interviewee sums up.

One interviewee from the host country explains how: “with the best intentions an event organised for youth landed totally wrong. We would have needed a few guiding principles to always base our work on.”

Capacity building trough workshops and a guideline for the host country would have been useful.34 Also, the recruitment of more staff with knowledge and previous experience of youth inclusion would have increased the know-how of the host country.

A couple of interviewees, in particular from the host country, also highlight the need to include

30 A regular structure for coordination/information meetings was part of the YTF procedural input.

31 One interviewee presents the One Planet Summit as a good example, where youth was included on a weekly basis in the regular coordination meetings with agencies donors etc. In addition to the regularity, also the fact that youth was included in the regular coordination activities, as opposed to youth specific coordination meetings, was beneficial for the youth inclusion in One Planet.

32 An example of this would be how the youth coordinators did not know about the accreditation application deadline until three days before. The information was made public, but youth were not guided to take part in it. No party had bad intentions but an efficient tool for transparency and efficiency was missing.

33 For example, the host country explains that other member states approached the Swedish government with questions about where and how youth inclusion could be supported the host country explains. Being well informed of all aspects would allow better dissemination of the youth inclusion process.

34 A recommendation on the creation of a guide for host countries is put forward under section A.b.

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staff in the secretariat that is relatively young and with a background in the youth movements in order to enhance the knowledge on youth inclusion. This would indeed contribute to increase the competences of the secretariat. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that such a measure would not have contributed to youth inclusion as such, while both autonomy and representation would be lacking.

V. Avoid last minute planning/announcement

“On-the-go” project planning and implementation comes at a high cost for youth inclusion in general and youth organisers in particular. A couple of examples from S+50 brought up by interviewees include:

• late accreditation of youth participants to the preparatory-meeting in New York (only three days in advance);

• the three-day-notice of accreditation application deadline for the Stockholm meeting, and;

• the funding for youth participants that was only granted a few weeks prior to the international event.

With late access to information, project management related to the selection procedure, preparation, administration of travel, Visa and accreditation, event planning but also keeping the limited budget becomes challenging.

Measures must be taken to change this last-minute-culture, and to take into account that youth movements are more vulnerable than other stakeholders/institutions due to their voluntary engagement and strictly limited financial margins.

VI. Investigate a potential supportive administrative role of the Youth Desk

Several interviewees mention the need to follow the development of the Youth Desk at the UN, and reflect on how it could support the youth inclusion strategy and process.35

MGCY needs to be consulted and involved in this work. It is important to avoid that new, competing structures are established alongside those already existing, and to support complementary roles and tasks among organisations involved.

E.b Inclusion of youth in decision-making and access to decision-makers throughout the entire process

For youth inclusion to be meaningful, youth need to be included in decision-making on a cocreation basis, i.e. not necessarily having the role to take decisions, but rather to participate and having the opportunity to influence them. Importantly, co-creation should take place throughout the process, including agenda setting, policy development, meeting conclusions as well as organisational and procedural arrangements.

In this sub-chapter the access of youth to decision-making and decision-makers in S+50, will be analysed and discussed. Enabling factors as well as areas of improvement will also be presented.

E.b S+50 findings

It was relatively easy for youth in the S+50 process to access decision-makers as well as

35 The Youth Desk is a coordinative structure within the UN that is currently under development.

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decision-making. Around 30% of the respondents of the surveys stated that youth were included in decision-making throughout the S+50 process. This appears to be a fairly good indicator. Several interviewees also point to the access to high level decision-makers through the S+50 as one of well-functioning aspects of the process.

In particular the following opportunities to be involved in decision-making was mentioned by interviewees and respondents;

• Youth was part of the regional consultations implemented by UNEP;

• Youth was given space to present their positions within the LDs;

• High profile decision-makers visited the youth events;

• There was an open and regular communication between youth and the S+50 secretariats at UNEP and the host country;

• Youth had access to the UNEP coordinator as well as the Swedish ambassador to S+50

Youth’s fora for interaction with decision-makers in the S+50 process included for instance the following high-level advocacy meetings:

• The S+50 preparatory meeting at the UN headquarters in New York;

• UN Secretary-General António Guterres met with the Youth Task Force;

• Inger Andersen, Secretary General of Stockholm+50 and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), met with youth delegates at an event hosted by the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force;

• 12 Nordic youth delegates met the Nordic environment and climate ministers and the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers;

• UN Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake met with youth at the YEA in Stockholm

• Zoom meeting with youth and the US embassy;

• Ambassador Ms. Johanna Lissinger Peitz met with youth on several occasions;

• Swedish environmental minister Strandhäll met with youth at the Youth Environmental Assembly

The endorsement of the youth policy papers in the final recommendations/conclusions, as well as the youth influence regarding recommendation number 3, is a clear indication of access to decision-makers and decision-making of youth.36 While accountability by and large is lacking in a non-negotiated process, the inclusion of youth demands in the conclusions offers, at least, the possibility of accountability. In future processes, as well as in follow-up, the S+50 endorsement of, and urge to engage with, the youth policy paper can be used by youth as a point-of-reference.

At the same time there were numerous limitations regarding youth access to decision-making. One was the late structural inclusion of youth in the planning phase, resulting in an exclusion of youth in most of the procedural decisions, where decisions were taken early on.37 Other challenges include the structural limits to the inclusion of youth set by the process itself. The lack of feedback to youth regarding decisions also hindered meaningful co-creation as well as accountability.

36 The host country confirms that recommendation is partly based on youths´ demands. It should be mentioned that no other interviewees could identify any recommendation, except for number 9, that was based on youths´ demands, indicating that feedback on decision making is lacking.

37 While youth inclusion in early decision making/planning was limited, MGCY was engaged in early lobbying for the process to take place, as well as for it to include an ambitious youth inclusion strategy. This sheds light on the importance of having a permanent youth structure such as MGCY in order to be part of early decision making.

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E.b Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supportive in facilitating youth access to decision-makers and inclusion in decision-making;

I. Youth as a reliable partner

Youth in S+50 positioned themselves as knowledgeable and well prepared. “It was a high commitment and delivery of results – we could rely on them [youth]”, a UNEP employee confirms.

Youth interviewees confirm that they, by and large, were received as a partner by decision-makers and institutional partners, in particular by the host country.

II. Speaking time in the Leadership Dialogues

One of the great achievements of the youth in S+50 was to secure what interviewees phrase as “an unprecedented amount of speaker time” in plenary as well as in the IWGs. In the preparatory meeting in New York, youth was for example the only stakeholder given speaking time.38

Speaking time is not necessarily the most effective mean for advocacy, but it remains one of the most visual manifestations of youth inclusion. It increases the status of youth, contributes to their advocacy abilities and promotes the idea of youth inclusion as such. It is also an important recognition given to all young people involved in the process.

The high visibility of youth in fora where decision-makers were present, was the result of successful negotiation and advocacy from the side of the youth, as pointed out by one youth coordinator.

III. Access to national decision-makers

Youth interviewee have stressed the importance of creating links between youth and local decision-makers to enable follow-up and implementation. Policy makers and youth alike mention the importance of “bi-laterals” , i.e. discussions between two parties, as well as informal advocacy. Interviewees confirm that bilateral meetings between youth and member states took place before, during and after the international meeting.

The host country can support bilateral discussions and pave the way for national youth inclusion. A successful example brought up by the host country is a garden party organised by a Swedish embassy for youth and local/national decision-makers. “We have the capacity to make the decision-makers come and can, at a small organisational cost, enable networking between local youth and national/local decision-makers at the embassies”.

Another positive example is the meeting with the Kenyan president to present the youth policy paper. This was then followed up by a process of collaboration concerning the domestication

38 It is outside the scope of this evaluation to make a detailed comparative analysis with other UN processes, something that would be interesting to make.

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It was a high commitment and delivery of results – we could rely on them [youth]
” An unprecedented amount of speaker time

of the S+50 outcomes, including setting up a youth advisory board to the Keynesian government.

IV. Youth encounters prioritized by the host country

The Swedish ambassador Johanna Lissinger Peitz stresses the importance of giving priority to encounters with youth at various levels in order to get an increased understanding of youths´ priorities and experience. She highlights the advocacy impact of these encounters; “The very next day I would bring their message up at a high level meeting.”

Also UNEP made themselves available as speakers at youth events with the purpose to offer youth a direct connection with them. Youth interviewees also highlights how Ms. Haruko Okusu, the UNEP S+50 coordinator, was highly responsive to youth.

E.b Recommendations

Based on the findings in the evaluation, the following recommendations can be made for increasing youth access to decision-makers and inclusion in decision-making:

I. Include youth already in the planning phase

Early invitation and engagement of youth in the planning, as well as the preparation, enhances young peoples´ inclusion decision-making. It is only ahead of the resolution establishing the meeting that a real chance exists to influence the process procedurally. “The host country needs to create a space for youth, in particular for the MGCY, at this stage”, one interviewee points out.

II. Avoid a ”youth track”

While it was the goal of Sweden not to create a parallel track, youth did lack access to key moments of decision-making. One example is the summary of the key messages from the IWGs.

Another example, mentioned by interviewees, is the fact that youth were mainly dealt with over a youth responsible in the secretariat. Naturally, youth cannot be invited to all coordination activities, but there needs to be regular moments where youth engage with those taking the coordination decisions, such as the head of the secretariat.

III. Greater youth policy influence

It was an unprecedented step in UN to endorse a youth policy paper in the meeting conclusions as highlighted by several interviewees. At the same time there is a need to increase the youth influence further for a meaningful co-creation process to take place.

To start with, even when endorsed, the youth policy paper remains a youth product, separated from the official conclusions. One example of the limitation this poses, is the fact that the youth policy paper is hard to find online, in particular after the S+50 youth webpage has gone offline. A link to the youth policy paper is also absent on the official page of the meeting conclusions.

Several youth interviewees also point out that in a non-negotiated process, it should be

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The very next day I would bring their message up at a high level meeting

politically feasible to base more of the single recommendations on the youths´ demands.

IV. Separate long-term and short-term youth inclusion measures

Youth continuously tried to push for enhancing the youth inclusion in S+50, one example being a procedural input put forward by youth.

The evaluator holds that youth are right in taking on a role in pushing the boundaries for youth inclusion.39 However, there is a need for the host country/UN, on the reception of such demands of increased youth inclusion, to distinguish between short-term and long-term measures needed. Measures that can be taken within the framework of the current process can, and should whenever possible, be accommodated for in the short-run. Measures where changes need to be made to the actual framework itself, on the other hand, need to be tackled in the long-run instead.

Already during the process, a document could be created, defining structural challenges for youth inclusion to be tackled in the long-run. The document could be part of the evaluation as well as an input in a continuous discussion on how to optimise the structure for youth inclusion through systematic change.

V. Feedback on decision-making as accountability measure

Co-creation does not mean co-decision. It is rather a process of open dialogue and joint problem solving with youth fully and practically involved. The youth participation in this process can be meaningful also when the decisions taken do not reflect the will of the youth, in as far as the demands of youth have been seriously considered.

Providing feedback helps youth to understand that their demand was considered also when not (fully) met. As such, the feedback becomes an important part of the accountability in a co-creation process. The youth inclusion in S+50 would have benefited greatly, had such feedback been given regarding the policy outcome from the IWGs and the LDs as well as on organisational/procedural matters. In future processes, a structure for feedback on decisions should be established as an integrated part of the co-creation structure.

E.c Youth participants given the right preconditions

Youth presence at the international meeting is a fundamental part of youth inclusion. This is where decisions are being made, where youth have access to all decision-makers involved and where they can present themselves, voice their demands and advocate for their policies. It is also a place for networking – both among youth themselves and with decision-makers. It is important to note the symbolic value of a high presence of youth, as it contributes to the perceived value of meaningful youth inclusion among youth.

In this sub-chapter the ability for youth to participate at the international meeting will be analysed and discussed. Enabling factors as well as areas of improvement will also be examined.

E.c The S+50 findings

Interviewees provide an account of how youth, on the whole, were given the right

39 It is worth noting that youth themselves, in the evaluation, explain that they did have an understanding of the limitations of the process regarding youth inclusion, and why demands could not be met.

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preconditions to participate in a meaningful way at the international meeting(s) in S+50. These preconditions included;

• Visibility of youth

• Capacity building of youth

• Non-discrimination (in accommodation of youth)

• Political support from decision-makers/host

• Accreditation/visa for youth (partly)

• Some financial resources to partly enable equal representation of youth (inclusion measures such as travel reimbursement, etc.)

The overview below is to provide an understanding of the scale of youth participants as well as the funding of youth participants.

Nairobi International Meeting: 40 fully funded youth at UNEA

New York preparatory-meeting at UNGA: 4 fully funded youth Youth Environmental Assembly, Stockholm: 200+ participants Stockholm International Meeting: 300+ youth accredited for the main meeting, 71 fully funded youth places

E.c Enabling factors

The following enabling factors have been identified as supporting youth participation on the spot.

I. Stockholm+50 Youth Environmental Assembly (YEA)

The S+50 YEA was an important preparation arena for the youth participation. They (one in Nairobi, and one in Stockholm) were organised in a hybrid format in order to be more inclusive. Around 300 young people participated in the meeting in the Swedish capital, along with several thousand joining online according to presentations from the organisers.

According to respondents and interviewees, the pre-event promoted the meaningful youth inclusion through:

• serving as a space for consultation and in person finalization of policy document;

• allowing youth to be up to date with the youth policy document as a preparation for advocacy;

• preparing youth participants by enhancing their knowledge of the process and their capacity to take part;

• exchanging of best practices, as a preparation for follow up;

• offering a unique space for global youth to meet, and also to increase the feeling of inclusion which is an important element of youth inclusion as such;

• providing a platform for youth to access high level decision-makers that attended the youth event, as well as bi-laterals, and;

• increasing the visibility of youth vis á vis the member states.

II. Funding for youth participation

For a meaningful youth inclusion, the funded youth spaces are crucial. It enables a more equal representation on the spot from a North-South perspective, and it contributes to a stronger youth presence for visibility and advocacy. Youth interviewees highlight that youth as a group is particularly vulnerable to financial conditions, as they predominantly take part on a voluntary basis and as they, as a group have a weak financial situation.

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The Swedish government, SIDA, UNEP, Nordic Council of Ministers, Finland, etc. contributed with funds to make youth inclusion possible. The financial assistance was allocated to support costs for preparation (such as staff/consultants for admin, travel, communication) and youth participation at the international meetings.

It is beyond the scope of this evaluation to advice on a relevant level of funding for participants. Still, it is worth noticing that while considerable funding was made available for youth participants, the lack of financial means remains the determining limiting factor for equal participation at the actual international meeting. Interviewees highlight that there was an expectation of youth getting access to a much larger budget for travel. One possible strategy, introduced by a couple of interviewees, that would aim at overcoming this challenge might be to establish a multisource fund for mobilising financial resources from a wider spectrum of donors.

III. Absence of age discrimination

Several interviewees and respondents indicate that youth were received without any obvious discrimination in relation to their age. As a matter of fact, no situations of discrimination at the international meeting have come to the fore in the accounts given by the respondent and interviewees. Representatives from institutions also stress how youth were perceived as a reliable partner throughout the process and that there was a strong willingness among decision makers to accommodate youth.

E.c Recommendations

Based on the findings in the evaluation, the following recommendations can be made for improving youths’ conditions to participate on the spot:

I. Time table to accreditation and Visa

The failure to provide Visa to all youth participants was one of the main discriminatory factors identified in the evaluation. To avoid an unwanted situation where “we started too late with the Visa process”40, the host country together with UNEP should agree on a common time table regarding accreditation and Visa at the very beginning of the process. With access to such a timetable, youth coordinators would also be better positioned to facilitate their selection process, applications and travel arrangements, ensuring a more inclusive process.

II. Early confirmation on travel contribution from donors

Not only the level of financial support to youth participation is of importance, also the logistical implications of such support. “We did not know if to plan for 10, 50 or 500 youth participants until a few weeks prior to the event”, one organiser explains, highlighting the importance early confirmation of funding.

Organisers should examine the idea of setting a (semi-flexible) deadline for confirmation of travel contribution from donors. This allow for a rigorous selection process to take place at a lower organisational cost; youth to prepare adequately (capacity building etc) and travel 40 Interviewee from the host country.

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” We did not know if to plan for 10, 50 or 500 youth participants until a few weeks prior to the event

arrangements to be done minimising administrative and budgetary costs.

III. Flat rate travel contribution

In projects with a short implementation phase, there is a challenge to create a structure and culture of accurate accounting. Interviewees narrate how LSU found themselves in a position where they could initially not cover for the travel reimbursements, due to the donor requirements. This poses a considerable burden not only on LSU, the financial administrator, but particularly on the youth and youth movements that had advanced the money.

Given the vulnerable economic situation in which the great majority of youth find themselves, alternative ways of providing reimbursements should be considered.

A funding structure that could be suggested in future, similar processes is the flat rate financing model (also called unit travel contribution). This “will reduce administrative burden/costs for beneficiaries and the granting authority, speed up the payment process and facilitate increased focus on the quality of the results”, as well as “reducing irregularity” according to the EU Erasmus+ Programme that is using this model of financing travel.41

IV. Pre allocation of funded seats

While interviewees refer to the selection process as rigorous and transparent, there were differences in terms of expectations regarding the allocation of funded youth seats. According to interviewees, members of the YTF, in particular, were anticipating more seats to be allocated to them.

To avoid such a situation, a rough allocation of the funded youth spaces could be agreed beforehand. This would avoid disparities in expectations among donors, institutional partners, youth coordinators as well as participating youth.

The pre allocation of (funded) seats should indicate what shares should be reserved for MGCY, the YTF, non-organised youth and host country youth platforms respectively. The allocation should be set by youth themselves, and preferably only be minimum levels, with plenty of room for adjustment.

V. A youth corner at the international meeting

In S+50, youth had a separate venue for their events away from the main international meeting. While this youth venue, according to interviewees, worked well for the Youth Environmental Assembly, a youth corner inside the international meeting would have been advisable.

A youth corner would facilitate youth participation as it:

• is a place for young people to feel safe, included and to boost confidence and energy:

• can function as a youth melting-pot, thus contribute to team building and networking as well as facilitate project planning for follow-up;

• attracts attention and makes youth more visible, and;

• provides youth with a venue for advocacy meetings.

A physical youth corner at the meeting also provides possibilities to work with dissemination activities, which will be discussed in the last layer below.

41 DECISION authorizing the use of lump sums and unit costs under the Erasmus+ Programme 2021 – 2027, 18/10/2022

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LAYER F: DISSEMINATION & FOLLOW-UP

GRADING: WEAK

For youth inclusion to be meaningful, the scope of youth involved will have to be broad, and reach far beyond the group that makes it all the way to the actual UN meeting. In particular the scope can be widened by including more youth in the policy development process as described in chapter D; Youth policy development, in national advocacy activities as well as in implementation and follow-up.

In S+50 this kind of dissemination was partly done by the youth and youth movements involved in, for instance, the YTF and the YFG. These individuals and groups would then mirror the process back to their networks and constituencies. Also, tools for outreach, such as the consultations and the capacity building activities contributed to the dissemination.

The extent of this outreach is difficult to assess, but based on the accounts given regarding funding, events, consultations, social media strategies, etc., the picture that emerges is that dissemination remained rather limited. While the S+50 process had a focus on creating the right structures, tools and working methods, a future process should pay attention to seizing the potential, and focus increasingly on global dissemination and outreach.

Youths’ role in the follow-up of the S+50 outcomes appears to have gone missing. For instance, youths´ role in co-designing national action plans and implementation was not explored in the process.

Below follows a detailed account of the findings in the evaluation regarding the two components that have been identified as fundamental prerequisites for dissemination and follow-up;

F.a Mirroring of the process back to youth at local and network level

F.b. Youth inclusion in follow-up and implementation

F.a Mirroring the process back to youth on local and network level

F.a S+50 findings

The youth inclusion strategy encompassed communicating the process throughout. All parts and phases of the process were to be disseminated and mirrored back at national and local level. Interviewees indicate that the strategy to engage YFG and YTF, both with a global outreach, facilitated this kind of dissemination.

An Educational Pack, as well as a Tool Kit, were developed, to provide local youth with methods and tools that facilitated local and national involvement in the S + 50.42

42 The dissemination activities, are beyond the scope of this evaluation. Not much of the local and national impact has come to the fore in the evaluation accounts, Kenya is the one successful exception..

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A communication strategy was in implemented, enabling global youth to follow the process. Also, several transparency measures facilitated dissemination. At the same time interviewees account for challenges regarding webpage building as well as outreach measures over social media.

The evaluator’s knowledge of the reach of the dissemination does not suffice for a satisfactory assessment to be conducted. The evaluator does, however, attempt to examine any possible enabling factors. The platforms, tools and methods created and applied (as briefly outlined below) are examples of factors that facilitated the process.

F.a Enabling factors

The enabling factors presented below have been identified as supporting the dissemination of the process to global youth:

I. Platforms for dissemination

One of the main benefits of a broad youth inclusion, is that it holds opportunities to disseminate the process to global youth. In the case of the youth process in S +50 , the individuals, organisations and constituencies involved through the YFG and YTF had the potential to conduct such outreach.

One respondent state that “the diversity of the members of the YTF enabled them to bring home the process to different corners of the world, and launch programs in their own countries.” Some interviewees and respondents also refer to regional, national and local activities such as capacity building and consultations implemented by members of the YTF.

II. Capacity building tools

The purpose of the Tool Kit and Educational pack was to build local capacity and provide tools for local and national dissemination and participation in the S+50 process.

III. Outreach by consultations and policy drafting

The purpose of the global consultation and open policy drafting was to create a bottom-up approach to youth inclusion and to disseminate the S+50 process to global youth. How this was done is further discussed in chapter D; Youth policy development, and the challenges of outreach in sub-chapter B.b; Inclusion and equality.

F.a Recommendations

Based on the findings in the evaluation the following recommendations can be made for an improved dissemination of the S+50 process;

I. Earlier establishment of the YTF

It takes time to prepare dissemination tools, such as a webpages, social media strategies, the youth policy paper, the Tool Kit, etc. As discussed throughout this report, the establishment of the YTF, and consequently the development of several crucial activities within the (youth) processes such as tools and methods for dissemination, should have taken place much earlier. This would have provided for instance the YTF not only with the tools needed, but also with

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The diversity of the members of the YTF enabled them to bring home the process to different corners of the world

the time, to focus more on dissemination in the preparation phase.

II. Financial support for dissemination

Throughout S+50, funds dedicated to dissemination activities were being made available.

The evaluator cannot assess whether the dissemination funds were distributed equally. Nor is it possible to get an accurate view of the amounts and whether they were sufficient.

Observed from an external point-of-view, and given the pronounced ambition to ensure inclusive outreach, as implied by meaningful youth participation, the evaluator assumes that there would have been considerable potential to scale up the dissemination. Another assumption is that the budget for youth inclusion would have had to be increased, so as to strengthen dissemination at the global, regional and local levels.

III. Create regional outreach teams

Regional outreach was partly achieved through, for example, regional consultations supported by consultants. One proposal made by one of the interviewees is that the strategy could be further strengthened by forming specific regional outreach teams, that would focus on outreach at the regional, national and local level.

A youth outreach team including, for example, national youth platforms, would have the potential to promote the process as such, as well as the consultations and opportunities to get involved for youth and youth networks at local and national level. Each regional outreach team would, preferably, be supported by a regional consultant, even if just for a short period-oftime. The regional outreach teams could also be allocated the role to further develop methods and forms for the consultations relevant to their regional setting.43

IV. Increase social media usage

While the outreach and impact of social media communication in S+50 has not been assessed in this evaluation, one interviewee mentions different hurdles related to the social media outreach. The late start is referred to as one of the most difficult challenges.

The potential of using online consultation tools such as polls, etc. published and dissemination via different social media channels, should be investigated further. This could increase not only the outreach but also the consultation base for the policy drafting. In turn, this would contribute to increased legitimacy for the youth representation in the process.

V. A joint communication plan

In order to provide youth with support for dissemination over web and social media, a joint communication plan with a time table should be agreed upon by youth coordinators and relevant communications departments at UNEP. It should cover all aspects where communication measures need to be coordinated. Experiences gained, and web-infrastructure built are likely to contribute positively to future communication strategies.

II. A youth media hub for on-spot dissemination

One young interviewee brings up the idea of using video streaming from a youth corner to communicate what is happening at the meeting to young people across the world.

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43 An example of such a structure is the national working groups within the EU Youth Dialogue.

Decision-makers could be invited to participate in interviews led by youth. Interviews could then be broadcast on-line. Youth participants could also share their experience from inside of the venue. Journalistic stories from the negotiation process could be disseminated in a youthful way.

A reoccurring suggestion from youth respondents is to use the method of video letters. They would serve to showcase personal narratives behind the youth demands through short video inputs from youth across the world. A youth media hub at the venue could be used for such direct transmission of the reality and the demands of global youth into the international meeting.

F.b Youth inclusion in follow-up and implementation

If youth does not see any change in policy and implementation through follow-up, their inclusion in the initial decisions will not be seen as meaningful. In a youth inclusion strategy, the evaluator discerns two possible avenues of follow-up. One relates to the policy outcome and impact. The other concerns the inclusion of youth in processes related to S+50. An optimal model of youth inclusion in follow-up activities, would merge these two avenues, combining them in one. Youth could, for example, be invited to be part of designing and implementing national action plans.

In this subchapter we will assess to what extent youth was part of the follow-up and implementation in the S+50 process. Enabling factors as well as areas of improvement will also be highlighted.

F.b. S+50 findings

Representatives of the host country emphasise that follow-up was not part of the S+50 process. Hence, a follow-up strategy for youth inclusion was not part of the mandate given to youth. A few considerations can made though, regarding follow-up at international and national level.

National level follow-up

For youth inclusion in a process such as S+50 process to be meaningful, youth needs to be involved in the development of national action plans and their implementation. The implementation is an integral part of the policy making process. It is also the part that is closest to the local level where youth live and operate and the level that the highest amount of youth organisations and youth can practically be involved in a process such as S+50. Recommendation number 9 in the conclusions of S+50 called for political support to youth inclusion in the follow-up by asking member states to “engage with” the youth policy paper. At the same time, it is hard to map national implementation and youth inclusion at national level related to the S+50 follow-up. As a matter of fact, this was not part of the youth inclusion strategy of S+50.

According to respondents and interviewees, YTF members are being contacted to participate in the follow-up. This might indicate that follow-up activities are effectively being conducted at local and national level. Follow-up activities would have to be assessed after a period of time, and is not within the scope of this evaluation report.

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Kenya – an inspirational example

One of the few good practices identified is that of Kenya. At the international meeting in Stockholm the Kenyan youth delegation encountered the president of Kenya. This resulted in a meeting with the government a few weeks afterwards. These meetings resulted in a Youth Advisory Board on environmental policy, and a structural engagement of youth from local to national level, giving them access to relevant decision-makers.

International level follow-up

The S+50 process is connected to several other international processes where youth are also present.44 Interviewees mention the following activities as instances in which the inclusion of youth advanced because of S+50;

• At COP 27, for the first time there was a Youth Pavilion;45

• Also, at COP 27, YTF members were invited and topics from the S+50 youth strategy were included in side events;

• In the Green Jobs for Youth Pact – an initiative of UNEP and UNICEF – youth have been invited to be in a youth advisory group as a response to youth calling for more inclusion at S+50;

• At their meeting with the YTF, The Nordic Council of ministers acknowledged that the question of Ecocide would be brought to the ministers´ attention. Approximately six months later, the concept has been endorsed and there are discussions about a fund to support this work;

• There is an interest in streamlining the format of a YTF as well as other youth inclusion measures throughout other UNEP/UN related processes, as expressed both by UNEP and Sweden.

• MGCY are part of several other conferences and processes, with thematical overlaps with S+50.

F.b Enabling factors

Below, some of the enabling factors supporting youth inclusion in the follow-up will be presented:

I. Ownership and empowerment were created

Through the different structures of engagement, ownership has been built among participants and organisations. There is a good potential that what came out of the S+50 process will be taken care of, and used also in the future. As discussed elsewhere in this report, the process itself contributed to strengthening and empowering youth and youth networks alike. For instance, interviewees confirm that many YTF members still informally coordinate and engage, and are part of youth initiatives at, for example, COP.

II. Visibility and credibility of youth increased

By prioritising youth inclusion in an international process, youth and their potential role is showcased to member states and other institutional partners. The example of Kenya sheds light on how the empowerment of youth in S+50 was used and up scaled to the national level when it comes to follow-up processes.

44 In the processes where youth are already involved, it is hard to say if their inclusion has been advanced by S+50, or if the youth involvement would have been the same otherwise. 45 COP27 took place in Egypt, November 2022

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F.b Recommendations

Based on the findings in the evaluation the following recommendations can be made for increasing youth inclusion in the follow-up:

I. Follow-up supportive measures

Interviewees indicate that they would have liked to have a plan for youths´ role in followup already from the beginning of the process, even if no follow-up was planned for S+50 as a process. This would have contributed to providing space for youth in the implementation phase, but also to channel the empowerment created among youth in the process. Below follow a few examples on how this could be done;

• A follow-up team could be established at the very beginning of the process, including institutions as well as young individuals/groups;

• Guidance and sharing best practice on youth inclusion in the follow-up phase could be developed and promoted as part of the process, and;

• Several interviewees stress the importance of youth getting access to a fund that would co-finance youth dissemination initiatives. One interviewee points out that it would be interesting to identify at least two follow-up activities per region to showcase learning examples of co-responsibility in implementation.

II. Link the outcome to other processes

The youth policy as well as the capacity building of youth themselves are the fruits of youths’ immense effort. Results from this process, can and should be used in other fora and processes, as pointed out by several interviewees.

The following measures identified by interviewees have the potential to contribute to reuse of good results from S+50.

• Include former YTF members in capacity building or hand-over sessions in other processs to strengthen synergies;

• Work on building ownership among different youth stake holders to continue advocacy around the youth policy paper systematically throughout as well as after the conclusion of the process. As pointed out by one of the interviewees: “One of the great benefits of the youth inclusion is the potential of dissemination and creating multiplier effect of ownership.”

• Provide youth with the tools to move swiftly between the position of advocate and facilitator/implementer. International level diplomatic engagement differs from implementation that needs to be driven by innovation, activism, mobilisation and project management, etc.

III. Prolong the mandate of the YTF

One YTF member mentions the challenge of working with follow-up, having to present himself as “a former member of the YTF”. While there is no reason to make the YTF permanent, the YTF needs to be given a longer mandate – ranging from a longer start-up phase to a “wrap-up and follow-up” phase after the international meeting.

IV. Follow-up youth briefings

One interviewee suggests that youth briefings be used as a way to support youth inclusion in

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the follow-up work. The youth briefings could connect different processes and report on what is happening in the sector to interested youth and youth networks.

The youth briefings could also disseminate contents of the process from the national level as a way to spread best practices of youth inclusion in follow-up and implementation.

V. UNEP and UN to promote synergy effects

UNEP and UN would potentially have important roles to shoulder, in bridging different processes, identifying synergies as well as using experience about inclusion of youth in different processes. Routines need to be established, that will support the reuse of learnings from S+50 in similar, future processes.

There is no streamlined way of working with youth inclusion in the UN. One interviewee suggests that a cross-divisional collaborative platform be established in UNEP to focus on youth inclusion and environmental education. It could build on the format created in the Interagency network for youth, peace and security, where relevant UN departments meet, to discuss youth inclusion related to a certain thematical question.

VI. Streamline youth inclusion principles

Several interviewees point to the fact that a momentum was created in S+50 for streamlining youth inclusion in UN processes. Youth was referred to as a reliable partner, with an important role to play in international policy processes. There are many lessons learnt, and a model/ structure has manifested that can serve as the cornerstones for future youth inclusion in international processes. Interviewees express interest for using the format of the YTF in other UNEP/UN processes.

Possible ways to systematically integrate the principles of meaningful youth inclusion in future processes that have been identified by interviewees include;

1. Presenting a paper with guiding principles to UNEA, building on youth inclusion and on experiences gained in S+50;

2. The elaboration of a paper/resolution on youth inclusion principles based on the format from the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security (YPS), adopted in 2015

The paper/resolution should focus on guiding principles for meaningful youth inclusion. It should be kept flexible and adaptable to various contexts and circumstances and not limit youths´ ability to self-organise. The evaluator suggests that Sweden, having hosted the S+50, would be best positioned to elaborate and present such a paper as a legacy of the process.

VII. A comprehensive plan for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)

This external evaluation of the youth inclusion process in S+50 was not initially planned for, and only started relatively late, in October 2022.

In similar, future processes, the evaluator recommends: for a monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) plan to be put in place from the very start; that an external evaluator be consulted, preferably during the entire process, in an ongoing, learning evaluation; that a midterm evaluation is conducted in order to share, learn and develop the process,

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and;

for the programme actors to consider combining the various monitoring and evaluation requirements for different parts/actors of the process into one joint MEL strategy, so as to minimise costs/efforts.

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QUESTIONNAIRE: YOUTH INCLUSION S+50

Dear respondent,

The purpose of the evaluation is to map and analyze the format for youth inclusion created for the S+50 process in order to identify success factors and enabling factors. It is neither the organisation, nor the organisers or individuals per se to be assessed, but rather the overall structure of the process.

By taking your time to answer the questions as detailed as possible you are contributing to identifying recommendations for designing and implementing future international youth inclusion processes. Thank you!

Please note that your reply is anonymous and that you can choose to skip to answer a particular question.

Best, Åsa Gunven

External evaluator

Background:

Gender:

Age:

What organisation did you represent in the Stockholm +50 process?

What activities/events of S+50 did you attend?

Why did you get involved in S+50?

Are you coming from Global North or Global South?

1. Youth Task Force. The Youth Task Force as a format was successful in facilitating the process of youth inclusion in the S+50 process.

Rate 1-10:

1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

1a) Please develop your answer by elaborating on the strengths and weaknesses of the Youth Task Force as a format for facilitating youth inclusion.

1b) Could you think of ways to improve the format of the YTF in similar, future processes?

2. Representation of youth. The YTF was a legitimate representative of global youth in S+50.

Rate 1-10:

1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

2a) Please explain and develop your answer.

To what extent was the YTF a legitimate representative of global youth and to what extent was it not?

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Appendix 1

3. Leadership dialogues. There was a meaningful inclusion of youth in the Leadership Dialogues of the S+50 process (an objective defined by the host country Sweden)?

Rate 1-10:

1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

Please explain and develop your answer.

3a) In what ways did the Leadership Dialogues successfully include youth in a meaningful way and in what ways did it fail to do so?

3b) Could you think of ways to improve the youth inclusion in the Leadership Dialogues in similar, future processes?

4. Decision making. Youth were included in decision making throughout the Stockholm +50 process (such as agenda setting, policy drafting, conclusion, procedural, etc.)?

Rate 1-10:

1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

4a) Were youth included in decision making (in the agenda setting, policy drafting, conclusions, etc.) and in what decisions would it have been desirable to involve youth further?

4b) Could you think of ways to improve the youth inclusion in decision making in similar, future processes?

5. Equal inclusion. Youth from global North/South were included in an equal way throughout the S+50 process.

Rate 1-10: 1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

5a) Were youth from the global North/South included equally throughout the S+50 process and in what ways were they not?

5b) Could you think of ways to improve the equal inclusion of youth from North/South in similar, future processes?

6. Dissemination. Youth were involved in communicating and spreading the contents and outcomes of S+50 in their networks and in local, national contexts throughout and after the S+50 process.

Rate 1-10: 1 – I fully agree 10 – I don´t agree

6a) Where youth involved in communicating and spreading the contents and outcomes of S+50 throughout the process?

6b) To the extent youth were not involved in spreading the process S+50 process to their networks and local level, what were the reasons youth did not/could not do this? Could you think of enabling/supportive factors that would strengthen youth’s role in dissemination in future processes?

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Appendix 1

OPEN QUESTIONS

Kindly reflect on the questions below, and elaborate your own answer.

7. Enabling and hindering factors for youth inclusion in S+50

7a) Please mention what you see as the most important enabling factors that contributed to the inclusion of youth in S+50 (such as resources, capacity building tools, organisational design, coordination, YTF, etc.).

7b) Can you think of any enabling factors for youth inclusion that were scarce or missing?

7c) Can you think of any hindering factors to youth inclusion in S+50?

7d) Can you think of ways to overcome these hindering factors in similar future processes?

8. Youth inclusion in the follow-up to S+50

8a) To your knowledge, were youth included in the development of concrete follow-up action-plans and implementing follow-up activities at local, national or international level?

8b) Please indicate if you know of, or have engaged in, follow up activities including youth. Feel free to add anything else you like to share with the evaluator here.

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Appendix 1
71

Presidents´ Final Remarks to Plenary

Key r ecommendations for accelerating action towards a healthy planet for the prosperity of all

In our capacity as Presidents, the following key recommendations emerged from Member States and Stakeholders, through the Plenary and Leadership Dialogues at the Stockholm+50 International Meeting

The recommendations reflect the resolve of the participants to urgently accelerate the implementation of commitments for a healthy planet for the prosperity of all, in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development - including a sustainable recov ery from the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic – and taking into account the outcomes from the fifth ses sion of the United Nations Environment Assembly and from the special session of the United Nations Environment Assembly to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), held 3 - 4 March 2022 in Na irobi, Kenya .

Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the global community has adopted a wealth of Multilateral Environmental Agreements as well as other relevant commitments, including the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Fulfilment of the objectives and commitments of all these agreements would take us a long way towards securing a healthy planet for all.

Stockholm+50 has emphasized the global interconnectedness of the environment and the need to collectively address the triple crisis of our common environment – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – for present and future generations . Stockholm+50 has also underlined the urgent need for bold and deliberate actions as well as clear political will to accelerate action on these commitments, strengthen the multilateral system, increase ambition and solidarity, and set us on a credible path towards a healthy planet for all – leaving no one behind.

The discussions during Stockholm+50, reaffirmed the importance of local realities and national implementation, and the need for a combination of incentives and policies, finance and capacity support to achieve sustainable development. We have heard the following recommendations for actions to accelerate implementation

1. Place human well -being at the centre of a healthy planet and prosperity for all , through recognizing that a healthy planet is a prerequisite for peaceful, cohesive and prosperous societies; restoring our relationship with nature by integrating ethical values; and adopting a fundamental change in attitudes, habits, and behaviours, to support our common prosperity.

2. Recogniz e and implement the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment , through fulfilling the vision articulated in principle 1 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration

3. Adopt system wide change in the way our current economic system works to contribute to a healthy planet, through defining and adopting new measures of progress and human wellbeing, supported by economic and fiscal policies that account for the value of the environment; investing in infrastructure, developing effective policy and encouraging a global dialogue to promote sustainable consumption and production; and promoting phase out of fossil fuels while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need fo r financial and technical support towards a just transition.

4. Strengthen national implementation of existing commitments for a healthy planet, through enhancing environmental national legislation, budget, planning processes and institutional frameworks; promoting evidence-based policymaking, including by enhanced collaboration between academic disciplines and thematic scientific panels, drawing on insights and

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Appendix 2

expertise from indigenous and traditional knowledge ; and scaling-up capacity support and development, access to and financing for environmentally sound technologies

5. Align public and private financial flows with environmental, climate and s ustainable development commitments , through developing and implementing well-designed policies to repurpose environmentally harmful subsidies; redirecting, mobilizing and scaling up the availability of public and private financial flows to support economic diversification ; and adopting recovery and stimulus measures, blended sources of capital, and de-risking instruments that augment financial flows.

6. Accelerate system -wide transformations of high impact sectors , such as food, energy, water, buildings and construction, manufacturing, and mobility, through adopting and implementing policies to promote circularity, resource efficiency, regenerative production approaches and nature-based solutions in value chains, and adopting frameworks that enhance and reinforce transparency and accountability by business; promoting just transitions through support for impacted youth, labour, and local communities by strengthening capacities and skills for the creation of green jobs and for micro, small and medium enterprises; and transforming food systems by promoting regenerative farming and fisheries approaches that provide healthy diets and minimize food waste , including investments in the ocean economy.

7. Rebuild relationships of trust for strengthened cooperation and solidarity , through recognizing the importance of developed country leader ship in promoting sustainability transitions; supporting capacity building and technology transfer for national efforts by developing countries to implement internationally agreed environmental agreements, taking into account national circumstances, including honouring the commitment to mobilize $100 billion every year for climate finance for developing cou ntries; and enabling all relevant stakeholders including youth, women, rural communities, indigenous peoples , interfaith groups and local communities to participate meaningfully in policy formulation and implementation at both national and international le vel.

8. Reinfor ce and reinvigorate the multilateral system , through ensuring an effective rules-based multilateral system that supports countries in delivering on their national and global commitments, to ensure a fair and effective multilateralism ; strengthening environmental rule of law, including by promoting convergence and synergies within the UN system and between Multilateral Environmental Agreements; strengthening the United Nations Environment Programme, in line with the UNEP@50 Political Declaration .

9. Recognize intergenerational responsibility as a cornerstone of so und policy-making, through engaging with the Stockholm+50 Global Youth Task Force Policy Paper; highlighting the important need of building the capacity of young people to engage with financial institutions; recognizing the critical role of young people in environmental action, and highlight that progress has been made on fostering meaningful youth engagement , and calling upon the multilateral environmental funds to include youth -inclusive parameters in funding schemes, and further take steps to ensure ease of access of funds for environmental action for youthled organizations.

10. Take forward the Stockholm +50 outcomes , through reinforcing and reenergizing the ongoing international processes, including a global framework for biodiversity, an implementing agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction , and the development of a new plastics convention ; and engaging with the relevant conferences, such as the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, High Level Political Forum, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change , and the Summit of the Future.

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Appendix 2

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