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YOUTH 21 PROCESS REPORT Copyright Š United Nations Human Settlements Programme 2015 All rights reserved United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) P. O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi GPO KENYA Tel: 254-020-7623120 (Central Office) www.unhabitat.org Disclaimer The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers of boundaries. Views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations, or its Member States. Excerpts may be reproduced without authorization, on condition that the source is indicated.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................................................................................................................01 BACKGROUND.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................02 YOUTH 21: BUILDING AN ARCHITECTURE FOR YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IN THE UN SYSTEM ..............................................................03 THE OSLO MEETING.............................................................................................................................................................................................................06 Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and Arvinn Gadgill, Secretary of State for Ministry of Affairs, Norway meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to present the Youth 21 Nairobi Declaration.........................................................08 Secretary General’s address to the Youth 21 Conference...................................................................................................................................................................08 Ban Ki-moon announces his Strategic Priorities and commitment to youth........................................................................................................................................09 ONLINE CONSULTATIONS..................................................................................................................................................................................................10 THE YOUTH 21 STAKEHOLDERS MEETING IN NAIROBI.........................................................................................................................................12 The Programme of the Meeting........................................................................................................................................................................................................13 The Nairobi Declaration...................................................................................................................................................................................................................14 Government Statement....................................................................................................................................................................................................................15 Global Urban Youth Research Network Statement of Support...........................................................................................................................................................15 RIO+20 YOUTH HIGHLIGHT...............................................................................................................................................................................................16 The Youth Blast................................................................................................................................................................................................................................16 The Youth 21 High Level Panel at Rio+20.........................................................................................................................................................................................17 THE NORWEGIAN WHITE PAPER ON UN....................................................................................................................................................................18 UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM-WIDE ACTION PLAN ON YOUTH.............................................................................................................................19 FOLLOW UP AND ADVOCACY EVENTS.......................................................................................................................................................................21 8th Session of the Specialized Youth Meeting of MERCOSUL (REJ) – Mendoza, Argentina – June, 2012..............................................................................................21 5th CPLP Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth – Mafra, Portugal – July, 2012.....................................................................................................................22 Youth 21 Stock-taking Meeting – New York, USA – July, 2012..........................................................................................................................................................22 World Urban Forum 6 – Naples, Italy – September, 2012..................................................................................................................................................................23 Nordic Expert Seminar on “Youth, democracy and participation: how to increase youth participation in the national and foreign policy of the Nordic countries” – Gardermoen, Norway – September, 2012...........................................................................................................................25 III Permanent Seminar for MERCOSUL Regional Integration – Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil – November, 2012..............................................................................................26 XVI Ibero-American Conference of Youth Ministers – Brasilia, Brazil – December, 2012.....................................................................................................................26 51st Session of the Commission for Social Development – New York, USA – February, 2013...............................................................................................................27 68th United Nations General Assembly – Side-event: “Strengthening youth participation in the UN system: Scenarios for the meaningful engagement in decision-making” – New York, USA – September 2013................................................................................................27 7th World Urban Forum - Medellin, Colombia – April, 2014...............................................................................................................................................................28 World Youth Conference 2014 – Colombo, Sri Lanka – May, 2014....................................................................................................................................................29 ECOSOC Youth Forum 2014 - New York, USA – June, 2014..............................................................................................................................................................30 Youth 21 - 2nd Stock-taking Meeting during Nexus Youth Summit - New York, USA – July, 2014. .....................................................................................................31 69th United Nations General Assembly - Side-Event hosted by Brazil: “Youth Rights – Understanding youth, their rights and their transformative potential” – New York, USA – September, 2014.......................................................................................32 1st Global Forum on Youth Policies - Baku, Azerbaijan – October, 2014. ............................................................................................................................................33 Right to Participate Publication – Oslo, Norway – December, 2014...................................................................................................................................................34 ECOSOC Youth Forum 2015 - New York, USA – February, 2015........................................................................................................................................................34 IMPACT ON THE YOUTH RESOLUTION AT UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL.......................................................................................36 IMPACT ON THE YOUTH RESOLUTION AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.....................................................................37 THE ASKER CONFERENCE ON YOUTH AND GOVERNANCE ............................................................................................................................38 THE YOUTH 21 TASK TEAM MEETING IN NAIROBI...................................................................................................................................................40 THE YOUTH 21 TASK TEAM MEETING IN NEW YORK.............................................................................................................................................41 THE WAY FORWARD............................................................................................................................................................................................................43

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INTRODUCTION Participation is one of the fundamental human rights recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many other human rights treaties, declarations and resolutions. One could understand right to participation not only as human right, but also as a basic principle without which fulfilment of other rights is not possible. It is through active participation that young people are empowered to play a vital role in their own development as well as in the development of their communities. Through participation and participatory processes, young people are able to impact their own lives, learn vital lifeskills, gain knowledge on human rights and citizenship and to promote civic action. In order to participate effectively, young people must have appropriate and youth-friendly institutional frameworks and tools.


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BACKGROUND Since the turn of the millennium the global commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals1 (MDGs) has triggered an unprecedented global partnership for development. However, many developing countries are currently lagging behind some development targets, impairing their ability to achieve the MDGs by 2015. Global economic, food, water and energy crises have impeded the processes of youth inclusion in initiatives geared toward realization of MDGs. The growing number of unemployed youth is increasingly recognised by most international actors as an issue strongly correlated to lapses in democratic governance. There are both positive and negative factors associated with the growing number of young people in the world. Today, there are more people under the age of 25 than ever, totalling nearly 3 billion or almost half of the total global population; 1.3 billion of that total are between the age of 12 and 24. These youth live, by and large, in cities and towns. The cities of the developing world account for over 90% of the world’s urban growth and youth account for a large percentage of those inhabitants. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030.2

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For more information on MDGs, see: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2003.

The combined burden of a youth bulge and shrinking job market has left millions of young people jobless, underemployed and not able to access income generating opportunities. The protests, and sometimes violent demonstrations that we have seen in 2011 in US, UK, Turkey, Egypt, Chile, Spain, Turkey, Brazil and many other places around the world had testified the growing social and economic unrest, in particular of the younger generations, also fuelled by a feeling of lack of access to decisions affecting their own lives. This demographic “youth bulge” provides a unique window of opportunity in which youth globally can be engaged in creating a more sustainable, just and equitable world if proper investments and opportunities are created. There are key global processes which enable such engagement, such as post-2015 process,3 in which youth can have direct impact on the decisions made by global leaders. Yet the role of youth in these processes tend to be ad-hoc based and upon the goodwill of the organizing agencies and secretariats. The role of social media, which has proven to be a powerful instrument in the hands of youth, has a critical role in bringing democracy. To this end, UN-Habitat is geared up to engage young people, both women and men, from around the world and governments, international organisations, private sector and other stakeholders in an initiative entitled as “Youth 21: Building for Change”.

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For more information on post-2015, see: www.worldwewant2015.org


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YOUTH 21: BUILDING AN ARCHITECTURE FOR YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IN THE UN SYSTEM The beginning of the Youth 21 initiative was the Report on building the Architecture for Youth Engagement within the United Nations (UN) published in 2011.4 For over 75 years the international community has discussed about the need to engage young people at decision-making processes in a global level. The Youth 21 Report tried to dig into all those previous discussions and to take a step further and explore how youth can be better engaged at the international level and painted some scenarios on the way forward. UN-Habitat, the lead agency authoring the Youth 21 report, was tasked by its Governing Council5 to work together with member states, youth-led organizations and other UN agencies to enhance youth engagement in the UN system. UN-Habitat recognizes the global importance of youth. It is under the framework of the aforementioned resolution, the WPAY6 and in the spirit of advancing the issues of youth globally, that UN-Habitat as a member of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth and Development7 (IANYD) authored the report.

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5 6 7

To read the full report, please visit: http://www.unhabitat.org/downloads/ docs/Youth21_Building_an_Architecture_for_Youth_Engagement_in_the_ UN_System.pdf HSP/GC/23/7 World Programme of Action for Youth. For more information see: http:// www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/wpay2010.pdf http://social.un.org/youthyear/unianyd.html

The Youth 21 report seized on the opportunity provided by paragraph 26 from the outcome document from UN HighLevel Meeting on Youth in July 2011, and put forward four possible scenarios that may facilitate improved engagement of youth in the UN system.


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The Report consisted of three parts. The Part 1 and 2 were committed to the examination of the existing mechanisms and lessons learned in bringing youth and youth perspectives more effectively into international policy discourse and decision making processes. In Part 3, three different scenarios were presented, each demonstrating ways in which the UN can be more responsive to youth and youth engagement. Three Scenarios for comprehensive youth engagement at the UN system The scenarios were developed based on the historical demand for a stronger UN and Member State’s respond to the growing youth agenda. The scenarios were reaffirmation of the decade’s discussions and recommendations to firm the global youth agenda and give it its due attention at the UN. The scenarios were evaluated on their strengths and weaknesses in regards to the engagement level of the mechanism and the achievability of the process, with reference to the time it would take to implement, resources, and UN system and country support needed.

SCENARIO 1: Scale up the UN DESA Youth Program to an Institutional Level It outlined the possibility to scale up and enhance the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (UNDESA) Youth Unit, also known as the UN Programme on Youth.8 This scenario would have positive impact on youth engagement, yet youth would still be in a client role.

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http://undesadspd.org/Youth.aspx

SCENARIO 2: Establish a Special Representative of the Secretary General on Youth Scenario The scenario would give youth visibility and potentially access to the Secretary General and top level decision-making in UN, yet still youth will be in a client not partner role. Further, a potential challenge with this scenario is that the Special Representative would not have any clear mechanism for youth to access policy discussions and decision-making processes.

SCENARIO 3: Establish a UN Permanent Forum on Youth, inclusive of a Youth Platform Assembly, and Special Representative on Youth The last scenario outlined a list of mechanisms to secure true and meaningful youth engagement within the UN system. The combined and interdependent proposal of a Special Representative, Permanent Youth Forum and Youth Platforms should give youth globally seat at the table. A key strength of this scenario was interdependence, and its ability to be a reinforcing mechanism. All the proposed mechanisms in the scenario do not have to be established simultaneously, but one can foresee an incremental process. The appointment of a Special Representative can be the first step, and subsequently this person can work towards the establishment of a Permanent Forum. It was the opinion of the authors of the Youth 21 report that Scenario 3 was the most comprehensive model that truly gives youth access to decision-making processes and policy discussions at the UN level. The report requested the Secretary-General to commission a report that outlines a process towards implementing Scenario 3.


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In conclusion, the Youth 21 report found that the UN has historically worked to engage youth with a number of UN agencies working independently and across the agency to address key issues that impact the lives of youth globally. There have been both high and low points of youth focus within the UN system, a repeated pattern spread over decades.

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Significantly, the UN system has not had a pivotal global meeting on youth in the same scale as the breakthrough meetings that advanced relevant concerns relating to women, elderly and indigenous peoples in the past. Yet, though there have been many policy statements made that reference the need to engage youth more meaningfully within the UN system, these have remained on paper.


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THE OSLO MEETING

UN-Habitat as a member of the UN IANYD with the support of the Government of Norway held the planning meeting of the Youth 21: Building Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System initiative in Oslo, Norway from the 30 of November to 2 of December, 2011. The meeting followed up on the International Year of Youth, the High Level Meeting on Youth, the UN-Habitat Governing Council 23/7 resolution, and the Secretary General’s statement at the UN High-Level Meeting on Youth9 that it is imperative that the UN not only focus on the problems associated with youth, but that the UN work together with youth, recognizing the dynamic and innovative nature of youth’s initiatives.

The meeting was attended by the member states,10 UN and youth-led organizations. During the meeting mechanisms for coordinating, integrating and enhancing youth development in the UN, including the engagement of youth in the UN in response to youth globally asserting greater influence in global governance processes was explored. In addition, the participants held in-depth discussions on the urgency of engaging youth in global decision-making. They recognized that youth make up unprecedented proportion of the world population, with the majority living in poor conditions, and that though these youth face seemingly insurmountable economic and social barriers, they overcome them, and seek

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Full Statement of Ban Ki Moon at the UN High-Level Meeting on Youth: http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=5432

Benin, Morocco, Norway, USA, with apologies from Brazil, Mexico and Nigeria.


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to achieve improved conditions for themselves, their families and their communities. Furthermore, recognition was given to both the work of the UN IANYD, and the inadequacy of that structure to fully realize the participants’ shared goals of enhancing meaningful participation by and focus on youth in the UN in accordance with relevant resolutions such as the Braga Youth Action Plan, Agenda 21, the HABITAT Agenda, the Outcome Document of the High Level Meeting on Youth and the World Programme of Action for Youth. The outcome document of the meeting recommended the following: • To upgrade and strengthen existing UN structures on youth at the global, regional and national levels through a more coherent, comprehensive and integrated approach to youth development and in accordance with Paragraph 25 of the Outcome Document of the High Level Meeting; • To request the Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative on Youth through a transparent and youth inclusive process and support the Member States in the process of establishing a UN Permanent Forum on Youth;

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• UN-Habitat as a member of the UN IANYD, and its permanent chair, UNDESA to implement next steps, including organisation of the multi-stakeholder meeting “Youth 21: Building for Change Initiative” in March of 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya; • To organise the special event of the Secretary General on youth at the opening of the sixty-seventh Session of the General Assembly, 2012 as an opportunity for youth to provide inputs to the general debate of General Assembly; • To continue the work of the planning group that met in Oslo as the working group for the Youth 21 initiative in addition to its function of providing substantive and financial contribution to the process.


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Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and Arvinn Gadgill, Secretary of State for Ministry of Affairs, Norway meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to present the Youth 21 Nairobi Declaration. Secretary General’s address to the Youth 21 conference Dr. Joan Clos, executive director of UN habitat, distinguished guests and youth representatives, ladies and gentleman. Thank you for joining forces to strengthen our engagement with youth. There’s no more important mission for the 21st Century. Half the world’s people are under 25 years of age. Nearly 90% live in developing countries. Every day urban areas get younger. In the next 20 years as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under 18. We need to listen to all of these voices.

As the Youth 21 report states there have been many good statements on youth policy, but too often those initiatives have stayed on paper. We cannot let that happen this time. Young women and men want decent jobs.They want dignity, they want a greater say in their own destiny. We must support them, and for that we must step up our efforts. We need programmes and policies that work with and for young people. We need to mobilise coalitions for action. We need to bridge coordination gaps. That is why I will appoint the first ever United Nations Special Adviser on Youth. My vision is clear. The priorities of youth should be just as prominent in our halls as they are on the streets and schools. They should be just as present in our meeting space as they are in cyber space. Thank you once again for your commitment. I look forward to your recommendations. Together let’s pull the UN system together so that it is pulling for the world’s youth.


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Ban Ki-moon announces his Strategic Priorities and commitment to youth In January 2012 UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon announced his main priorities for his second five-year term (2012-2017). He identified five big themes as his main priorities, which already largely constituted the heart of his action during his first term (2007-2011). The five “generational” themes are: promoting sustainable development; preventing natural and man-made crises and disasters; making the world safer and more secure; helping countries and peoples in transition; and encouraging gender and youth empowerment.11 UNSG has made working with and for youth a priority of his Five-year Action Agenda,12 and called for the development of a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP), that should guide the work of the whole UN system to promote young people’s human rights and development needs,13 as well as for creation of a youth volunteer programme under the umbrella of the UN Volunteers. In addition, the SG made a substantive step forward in engaging youth in the UN system by committing to appoint a UN Special Representative on Youth.14 This announcement followed on the heels of UN-Habitat Youth 21 initiative which called for the appointment of a Special Representative on Youth and the establishment of a UN Permanent Forum on Youth.

11 To see the SG’s Action Plan, please visit: http://www.un.org/sg/priorities/sg_agenda_2012.pdf 12 For elaboration on the priority, please visit: http://www.un.org/sg/priorities/women_youth.shtml 13 The mandate for the Youth- SWAP is derived from the UN WPAY and other intergovernmental agreements. 14 To see the Secretary General’s speech please go to: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/ webcast/2012/01/press-conference-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-5.html


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ONLINE CONSULTATIONS In the period of January 19- February 16, 2012, UN-Habitat led an e-Debate on its Global Youth HelpDesk in order to provide a platform for youth from all over the world to debate the three scenarios for integrating youth representation in the UN system and making it more responsive to youth opinions, needs and aspirations set by the Youth 21 Report. In addition, the e-Debate aimed at mobilizing and creating the support for a plea to integrate youth within the UN system. Bloggers from over 57 countries logged in to debate the various issues relating to the creation of a mechanism to strengthen and integrate youth voice within the UN system. The e-Debate was organized in three phases. Phase one begun with the general and emphatic confirmation of the urgent need to bring a stronger youth voice to the policy and decision making fora of the UN. The debate highlighted the critical assets that youth brings to the table in a troubled world- its ability to perceive issues in a broad perspective largely unconstrained by man-made divisions. The other major asset, which was repeatedly referred to, was the agility of youth to convert technological innovations to mass use, such as the use of social networking technologies, which it was felt would be an imperative to making the UN system more responsive to youth needs and to social and economic changes that impact on the status of youth.

The second phase focused on the selection process and criteria for the appointment and mandate of the Secretary General’s Special Youth Representative (SYR).15 Wideranging debate explored numerous selection processes. One of the suggestions was to have selection process through the World Youth Assemblies. It was also proposed that the SYR should serve under agencies working with and for youth. Third suggested option was to run the selection process in accordance with the national and regional realities and to strengthen the National Youth Assemblies which would play a pivotal role in the selection. Finally, some of the participants considered that it is up to the member states to design and run the selection process. The participants had a common concern of ensuring process free from geo-political situation and bias based on the age. As for the criteria for selection, one of the main questions that were raised was the question of age of the SYR, education and work experience. Most of the participants of the e-Debate recommended that the candidate should be in the middle age groups and extensive experience working on youth issues and established network of youth organisations worldwide. The question of mandate of the SYR initiated a lively discussion. As it was expected, education, employment and health were the top priorities.

15 See Chapter 5.


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However, the participants emphasised the need to ensure access to local, national, regional and international governance processes for youth, which indicated the commitment of youth to take on the responsibilities of not only addressing social and economic issues but also the more substantive issue of the structural change required to ensure youth integration within the international governance structures like the UN system. The third phase discussed how youth could mobilize evidence-based well-grounded support for the creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth. The dominant opinion was that such Forum has to be collaborative structure acting in step with and in collaboration with the SYR.

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The e-Debate introduced the new way of providing participatory and consultative mechanism for youth by using the ICT. It also demonstrated the young people’s interest, commitment and responsibility for shaping the institutional mechanisms for meaningful youth participation in addressing social, economic and substantive issues as well as issues of the structural change required to effectualise youth integration within the international governance structures like the UN system. Furthermore, the e-Debate mobilized youth support at all levels for the creation of the Permanent Forum on Youth, as the participants perceived the Forum as the only way to ensure the continued attention to youth issues within the system. It would also be the only way, that youth influence may reform the UN system and energize it.


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THE YOUTH 21 STAKEHOLDERS MEETING IN NAIROBI

In the spirit of one UN, UN-Habitat and UNDP organized a historic four day global meeting, 15-18 March, 2013, called “Youth 21 – Building for Change” in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting was the first of its kind, especially in the terms of the taking into account opinions of young people. It

meeting brought more than 250 youth participants, joined by representatives of governments, UN agencies, research institutions, private sector and civil society. The outcome of the meeting was the Nairobi Statement, a roadmap for the greater inclusion of youth in the UN system.


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The Nairobi meeting was premised on the understanding that the youth are the foundation and pillars of more democratic and sustainable development pathways. Youth represent both present and future leadership and possess an abiding interest in the post-2015 agenda, democratic governance and inclusive urban governance. The meeting had two components. The first component was held on March 15 and 16 as an International Multistakeholder consultation, led by UN-Habitat. It was devoted to strengthen the youth engagement and participation within the UN Architecture. This session served as a consultation among youths to identify concerns and recommendations for the UNSG on these matters.

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recommendations fed into requisite policy and institutional reforms at national, regional, continental and global levels. Additionally, Youth 21 catalysed the emergence of a global movement/partnership of 21st Century Youth for Democratic Governance and Sustainable development drawn from a wide cross-section of geographies, themes, disciplines, cultures and political persuasions.

THE PROGRAMME OF THE MEETING

The second component was on Global Youth leadership in governance that provided space for youths and other stakeholders to concert and develop activities and mechanisms through which youth can directly engage in global governance and decision-making activities, which are necessary to strengthen democratic citizenship and ensure effective youth participation. It focused on youth leadership and participation in democratic governance and sustainable development. The Nairobi Meeting provided a global space to share perspectives, experience and concrete proposal to ensure the participation young women and men in governance at the global, regional, national and subnational levels. Youth 21 meeting offered concrete policy-relevant and development-oriented recommendations in relation to increased youth leadership and participation for democratic governance, inclusive growth and achievement of sustainable development goals in the form of Nairobi Declaration. The

The Programme for the Building for Change Stakeholders Meeting had a high level opening where the UNSG as well as high state’s and UN officials and most prominent youth leaders were speaking. In addition, the UNSG delivered a video-recorded statement to participants of the meeting. The programme had 2 panel discussions followed with the parallel session and discussion groups. The first panel was on Youth Engagement and Global Governance, which was complemented with the presentations and discussions on Youth 21 Report and presentation on the SG’s Advisor on


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Youth. The Second panel discussion was on the Lessons from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as an introduction to the parallel sessions that aimed at crafting proposals on the UN Permanent Forum on Youth and other innovative mechanisms. Global Youth Leadership Forum on Inclusive Governance, UNDP opening focused on setting the vision and perspective on global youth issues. Other issues addressed during the Global Youth Leadership Forum on Inclusive Governance were: case studies of broader governance issues of political participation, youth leadership, social and economic inclusion, social media, and youth leadership in sustainable development.

THE NAIROBI DECLARATION The Nairobi Declaration is the outcome document of the Nairobi meeting. The Declaration was adopted by the wide range of participants coming from governments, youth and youth-led organisations, UN and media.

The process for the adoption of the declaration was organised in such way to build partnership, ownership and consensus among different stakeholders regarding SAY and steps needed to engage youth in decision-making through a Permanent Forum. During the meeting, several working groups on different thematic aspects of the potential role and tasks of the SAY, and Permanent Forum were organised. Working groups discussions were noted and given to the Drafting Committee of the Nairobi Declaration tasked with coming up with the zero draft of the Declaration. The Committee consisted of the Working Groups Facilitators and regional youth representatives. After the Committee presented the zero draft of the Declaration to all participants, negotiation on agreeing the final text of the Declaration started. The Nairobi Declaration followed up on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s commitment to supporting youth empowerment globally through the appointment of a Special Advisor on Youth and it commends the Secretary General on his commitment to youth and appointment of the Special Advisor. The Declaration outlines a series of recommendations that seeks to assure that the Special Advisor has the mandate to fully engage youth globally, requesting that the Special Advisor be a young person who is able to mainstream and include youth in decision-making across the system. The Nairobi Declaration requests that the Secretary General goes further in engaging youth through establishing a UN Permanent Forum on Youth. The recommendation includes a suggestion that the Forum be constituted by different stakeholders including representatives of youth organizations globally, and would be tasked to work with


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the Special Advisor on assuring that the voices of youth, especially those most marginalized and vulnerable, be heard. The Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development meet on the sidelines of the Youth 21 conference in March of 2012, and welcome the Youth 21 initiative as a critical way in which to advance youth engagement in the UN system.

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GOVERNMENT STATEMENT In support of the Nairobi Declaration and the appointment of the Special Advisor and the creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth, the governments of Brazil and Norway made a joint statement that was supported by the Governments of Benin, Mexico and Sri Lanka. The participating Governments recognized and emphasized the strategic importance of empowering youth, who now number 3 billion globally, and their need to be engaged as leaders to bring about sustainable development for the overcoming of poverty and also for social, economic, cultural and political inclusion.

GLOBAL URBAN YOUTH RESEARCH NETWORK STATEMENT OF SUPPORT

Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kaciyra with Nicola Shepherd, Focal Point on Youth and Co-Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development. 2012.

Members of the Global Urban Youth Research Network established by the UN-Habitat supported the Nairobi Declaration. In their statement, the researches called upon basing the allocation of the resources on youth and development should be based on evidence that is based on the research. They also stressed the importance of conducting research not only on youth, but with youth.


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RIO+20 YOUTH HIGHLIGHT

Youthblast–the conference of youth for Rio+20. Š Youthblast for Rio+20

Rio +20 was a landmark for sustainable development deliberations and youth participation as it paved a new path toward more sustainable future for all.

THE YOUTH BLAST16 From 8-12 June, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over 2,000 young people from 120 countries joined hands for a big Youth Blast, to ensure the voices of young people and their concerns were brought as high as possible onto the agenda of Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The Conference was organized by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth with the support of the Brazilian Government and UN-Habitat.

16 For more information on the Youth Blast, please visit: www.childrenyouth.org


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The overall aim of the Youth Blast was to empower children and young people and to strengthen the role of the MGCY in the preparatory process leading to Rio+20 and at the Conference. Besides providing information and training to participants, the event provided a space for youth to share experiences and solutions related to sustainable development issues and form of participation in decision making at the international level. The focus of the meeting was four-fold: to build partnership among children and youth by providing a space for networking, ideas and experiences exchange and plan activities for the Rio+20 Summit as well as for follow up; to develop international knowledge base by collecting and identifying information on activities, initiatives and best practices that would be included in the publication on Youth activism toward and at Rio, to empower MGCY constituency through developing and disseminating training packages and advocacy tools and to facilitate coordination activities and actions of the MGCY at the 3rd PrepCom, Sandwich days and Conference itself. The programme of the meetings strived to uphold a holistic approach to the themes and objectives of Rio+20.

THE YOUTH 21 HIGH LEVEL PANEL AT RIO+20 On 18 June, 2012 during the High Level segment of the Rio+20 Conference, the Government of Brazil in cooperation with the Governments of Norway and Sri Lanka held a High Level panel meeting, to discuss the incremental steps needed to happen towards the establishment of a United Nations Permanent Forum on Youth Issues to enhance youth engagement in the United Nations system. The high Level meeting was attended by the high level officials from Brazil, Norway and Sri Lanka, high level UN officials and youth leaders. The meeting ended with an outcome document “Towards establishing a Permanent Forum for Youth� supported by the Governments of Brazil, Norway and Sri Lanka as well as endorsed by the governments present on the panel.


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THE NORWEGIAN WHITE PAPER ON UN

In 2012, Norway recognized the need for the creation of a UN Permanent Forum on Youth at the highest level, by including it at the Norwegian White Paper, titled: “Norway and the UN, common future common solution”. In Norway, white papers are used as a means for the government to present government policies prior to the introduction of legislation. The White Paper was adopted by the Norwegian Parliament with the full support of all parties in March 2013, and recognized the need to improve young people’s participation in decision-making at UN level and calling for the creation of a UN Permanent Forum on Youth.


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UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM-WIDE ACTION PLAN ON YOUTH To develop the Youth-SWAP, a consultative and preparatory process involving the UN system and other stakeholders was carried out. To seek input from youth and other relevant stakeholders for the development of the Youth SWAP, the IANYD conducted an online survey in all official UN languages in July-August 2011. Over 13,000 respondents from 186 countries participated in the survey. The Secretary-General has made working with and for young people a priority of his Five-year Action Agenda. Besides the appointment of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and the creation of a UN Youth Volunteer Programme, in order to walk the talk and lead by example the Secretary-General has called for the development of a System-wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP). The Youth-SWAP provides strategic guidance to the UN system as a whole in its work on youth within the framework of the World Programme of Action for Youth. Based on the Secretary-General’s Five-year Action Agenda, the Systemwide Action Plan focuses on the following thematic areas: employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, civic engagement and protection of rights, education, including comprehensive sexuality education, and health.17 17 The IAYND, in addition to the SG’s thematic areas, proposed “health” as a thematic area for the Youth-SWAP . Moreover, it proposed to use the term “civic engagement” rather than “citizenship” since the former is more inclusive, and suggested to refer to “Comprehensive Sexuality Education” rather than “education on sexual and reproductive health”. CSE is a broader concept and also addresses issues such as life skills. It is the concept now commonly used within the UN system.

Throughout the process, there was strong participation and commitment of the UN system. 27 UN entities actively participated and another 22 were consulted and/or provided input. Various opportunities for comments and feedback on drafts of the Youth-SWAP were provided. In November 2012, the Under-Secretary-General of DESA and the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, in their capacity as Heads of the co-chair entities of IANYD, sent the draft Youth-SWAP to the UN Chief Executives Board for Coordination members with a request to confirm their entity’s Lead and/or Supporting roles as reflected in the Youth-SWAP. Entities not included in an area of the Youth-SWAP relevant to their work were invited to indicate their entity’s interest in acting as a Lead or Supporting Entity.


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For each thematic area, the Youth-SWAP includes one overarching goal, which represents the long-term objective to which the UN System should contribute in this area. The Youth-SWAP is closely aligned to the WPAY, which is the main mandate for UN work in the area of youth development. Although the Youth-SWAP focuses on a smaller number of thematic areas than the fifteen priority areas outlined in the World Programme of Action for Youth, the remaining WPAY priority areas are addressed within the commitments, measures and indicators contained in the Youth-SWAP.

The Youth-SWAP represents an important step taken by the UN to strengthening the youth agenda within the system. It provides a great opportunity to promote joint programmatic work on youth development and to identify ways in which activities undertaken by individual entities can complement each other. In light of limited resources, close attention was paid in developing the Youth-SWAP to ensure that it is in line with existing mandates and is relevant for existing activities.


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FOLLOW UP AND ADVOCACY EVENTS

Mendoza, Argentina

Mafra, Portugal

In order to ensure proper follow up on the Youth 21 Initiative, numerous high-level as well as youth events has been organized.

8TH SESSION OF THE SPECIALIZED YOUTH MEETING OF MERCOSUL (REJ) – MENDOZA, ARGENTINA – JUNE, 2012. The 8th Session of the Specialized Youth Meeting of MERCOSUL (REJ) was held in Argentina in June 27th, 2012, and was attended by delegations from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The main agenda of the meeting in Mendoza revolved around the analysis of the regional level on regional integration , identifying relevant issues from the perspective of youth, the state of the art youth policies of member states, the conclusions and recommendations for the definition of a the regional employment strategy in MERCOSUL.

Mendoza, Argentina

At the end of the meeting, it was produced a declaration in support of the “Declaration on the Establishment of a Permanent Forum on Youth UN Youth 21: Building for Change - A High Level Panel” of June 18, 2012, which reaffirmed the strategic role of youth in sustainable development, in global governance and the agenda post -2015. The REJ supports the Youth 21 process, started by UNHabitat aiming for the creation of the UN Permanent Forum on Youth and noted with appreciation the meetings held in Oslo in December 2011 and in Nairobi in March 2012, which welcomed the participation of youth representatives from civil society organizations, private sector, youth movements and parliaments around the world.


The meeting also remembered the Youth Action Plan Braga and its alignment for the promotion of youth participation in human development, likewise acknowledged with appreciation the priority measures of the UN Secretary General´ second term.

5TH CPLP CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUTH – MAFRA, PORTUGAL – JULY, 2012. Ministers Responsible for Youth and Sport of the Republic of Angola, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Cape Verde, Republic of Mozambique, the Portuguese Republic, the Democratic Republic of S. Tome and Principe and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, met in Mafra, Portugal, on 6 and 7 July 2012, and agreed on Resolution 16/2012, calling for the creation of a UN Permanent Forum on Youth.

The Ministers participating in the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth and Sport of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries agree on the need to promote youth participation and leadership in multilateral fora, in this sense expressed support for the “Declaration on the establishment of the UN Permanent Forum on Youth”, presented on June 18, 2012, in the city of Rio de Janeiro - Brazil.

YOUTH 21 STOCK-TAKING MEETING – NEW YORK, USA – JULY, 2012. Youth’s engagement globally, and more specifically within the UN system, was the focus of the Youth 21 Stock Taking meeting held in July 2012 at the UN-Habitat offices in New York. The meeting brought together youth, member states and civil society.

New York, USA

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During the meeting, the establishment of a Permanent Forum for Youth was discussed in details and it was recognized that working on establishing such a body is not only important for youth, but also for governments and civil society in general. At the meeting, it was agreed that UN-wide policy decision pertaining to the heightened engagement of youth in the UN system such as the setting up a UN Permanent Forum for Youth can only be pursued in line with established UN processes. This would require extensive and formal consultation and concurrence with Member States culminating in the adoption of a resolution in a decision making body of the UN. The organisation of a side event at the Youth Assembly, part of the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples in September 2012 followed by a high profile side event on Youth 21 which was held in conjunction with High Level Segment of the General Assembly were identified as a next steps in the process. The latter event should focus on engaging member states on the Permanent Forum and raising awareness of the importance of enhancing the engagement of youth in the UN system.

WORLD URBAN FORUM 6 – NAPLES, ITALY – SEPTEMBER, 2012. The Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF) was held in Naples, Italy in September 2012. This Forum was conceived as a global platform where various segments of society can discuss, learn, practice, agree and disagree on different ways to build and sustain a more prosperous urban future for our cities. The WUF identified initiatives and commitments that could be effectively implemented to create cities that are more democratic, just, sustainable and humane.

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On September 2, 2012, and as a part of the WUF, the World Urban Youth Assembly with the theme “The Role of Youth in the Urban Future” was held. The Assembly provided a platform for young people to debate matters of concern to them for consideration at the Forum. It also ensured that the views of young people – by far the majority of the global population – were taken into account. This particularly applied to their concerns about living in decent equitable, inclusive cities with better employment prospects. The outcome statement of the World Urban Youth Assembly presented at the open plenary of the World Urban Forum 6 called for permanent mechanisms for youth participation in decision-making at the UN. “We acknowledge that UNHabitat, with support from the UN Interagency Network on Youth Development, developed and prepared a report called Youth 21: Building an Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System and undertook multi-sectorial consultations to assure that all sectors were consulted. We ask for continued support from UN-Habitat to strengthen this initiative.


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As part of this architecture, we strongly support the Secretary General’s creation of a Special Advisor on Youth. We would encourage the Secretary General to involve young people in the selection of the special advisor and to appoint the advisor at his earliest convenience. We as well support the creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth as further mechanism to engage youth globally�18.

18 To read the full statement, please visit: https://youth21dotorg. wordpress.com/2012/09/12/youth-statement-of-the-6th-world-urbanforum-2012/

On the same day of the Youth Assembly, UN-Habitat launched the State of Urban Youth Report 2012/13 - Youth and the Prosperity of Cities: Overview and Findings.19

19 To read the full Report, please visit: http://www.unhabitat.org/ downloads/docs/12166_1_595169.pdf


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NORDIC EXPERT SEMINAR ON “YOUTH, DEMOCRACY AND PARTICIPATION: HOW TO INCREASE YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN THE NATIONAL AND FOREIGN POLICY OF THE NORDIC COUNTRIES” – GARDERMOEN, NORWAY – SEPTEMBER, 2012.

The joint expert seminar youth, democracy and participation, was organised by The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) and The National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations (LSU) at Gardermoen, Norway on Wednesday the 26th and Thursday the 27th of September 2012. Through this seminar, LNU and LSU hoped to summarise expert knowledge and best practices on the inclusion of youth as change agents and active citizens in the Nordic countries. The seminar was made possible by the support of The Nordic Council of Ministers and gathered 60 participants, including representatives from all of the eight Nordic youth councils, as well as NGOs, governments and research institutions. One of the issues discussed at the Expert Seminar was the Youth 21 initiative, and the idea of establishing a UN Permanent on Youth Issues.

During the Seminar, participants raised that both in national and international arenas governments can easily ’forget’ that the principle of representativeness entails something more than just representation. While the notion that youth should be included in important international forums, especially those within the UN, has gained more and more support, and terms of ’Youth forums’, ’youth summits’ and ’youth leaders’ are concepts being used increasingly. Still, many countries lack a parallel structure to the Nordic national youth councils. Young civil society hence has a responsibility not only to applaud these developments, but also to ask follow-up questions to their countries. The Nordic national youth councils often experience that the recognition young civil society get for being key actors is more profound than the actual respect they get. The participants at the expert seminar tried to identify key issues where the councils can coordinate their arguments and advocacy in order to make each council, as well as Nordic young civil society, stronger agents of change.


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XVI IBERO-AMERICAN CONFERENCE OF YOUTH MINISTERS – BRASILIA, BRAZIL – DECEMBER, 2012.

III PERMANENT SEMINAR FOR MERCOSUL REGIONAL INTEGRATION – FOZ DO IGUAÇU, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER, 2012. The III Permanent Seminar on Regional Integration – JUVENSUR, was held from November 1st to 4th of 2012 in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. More than 350 representatives of youth movements and youth organizations, public managers and academics participated on the discussions around themes such as: decent work for youth and challenges of rural youth. The Youth 21 Initiative was presented to the participants coming from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, and the creation of a permanent mechanism to hear the voices of young people was noted as a real need for the region.

From November 29th to December 1st 2012, Brazil hosted the Ibero-American Conference of Youth Ministers in Brasilia, under the theme: “Youth, Sustainable Development and Global Governance”, and for the first time, welcomed the participation of civil society representatives to the conference, promoting and strengthening the potential role of youth as strategic partners in the development of the region. The final Declaration of the XVI Conference requested OIJ (the Ibero-American Youth Organization) to liaise with UNHabitat and other UN agencies to promote and establish a UN Permanent Forum on Youth, with the participation of governments, youth organizations and movements, academia and non-governmental organizations working with youth, based on the Youth 21 initiative, led by UNHabitat, to strengthen youth participation in the UN system.


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51ST SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT – NEW YORK, USA – FEBRUARY, 2013. On February 15th 2013, UN-Habitat hosted a side-event named: Youth 21 towards Youth Empowerment, where a series of youth leaders representing organizations such as ICMYO, YMCA, the MGCY among others had the opportunity to learn more about the Youth 21 process, and the challenges and opportunities ahead of the establishment of a UN Permanent Forum on Youth. This session was an important milestone, as it initiated a civilsociety-led comprehensive advocacy campaign towards the creation of the Permanent Forum on Youth.

68TH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY – SIDE-EVENT: “STRENGTHENING YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN THE UN SYSTEM: SCENARIOS FOR THE MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT IN DECISIONMAKING” – NEW YORK, USA – SEPTEMBER 2013. In 2013, UN-Habitat partner with the Brazilian National Youth Secretary and the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations to organized the event: “Strengthening Youth Participation in the UN: scenarios for meaningful engagement in decision making” at the margins of the 3rd Committee of the 68th Assembly UN General.

The side-event was organized to bring together member states and other stakeholders, including young people and youth organizations, to discuss the various scenarios to ensure a more meaningful participation of young people in decision-making processes at the United Nations. “Significant participation also means significant impact,” said Usman Mushtaq, Norwegian youth delegate to the 68th General Assembly in his speech on the panel. The event’s discussions also emphasized the need to promote the principle of intergenerational cooperation. “We need to create permanent mechanisms to foster discussion and intergenerational collaboration, because only this way can we implement inclusive public policies that can transform the truth of society,” emphasized Bruno Vanhoni, International Adviser to the Brazilian National Youth Secretary.


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The event had participation of representatives of the governments of Brazil, Norway, Sri Lanka, Portugal as well as youth organizations such as the European Youth Forum, the Interest Group for Child and Youth UN, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and also the UN Secretary General’s Envoy of the Office for Youth. The event discussed different perspectives and experiences, in an attempt to explore the understandings and common expectations regarding a Permanent Youth Forum as a mechanism for meaningful youth participation in UN. This event had direct impact on the resolution on Youth Policies and Programs (A / RES / 68/130) discussed in the 3rd Committee of the 68th UN General Assembly. The official video of the side event is available on the UN TV site via the link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/ strengthening-youth-participation-in-the-un-scenarios-formeaningful-engagement-in-decision-making/2727929311001

7TH WORLD URBAN FORUM MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA – APRIL, 2014. The seventh session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7) was held in Medellin, Colombia from 5 April to 11 April 2014. With sessions held every two years, the Forum examines rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. The seventh session of the Forum, with the theme “Urban Equity in Development – Cities for Life,” drew over 22,000 participants from more than 140 countries representing governments, UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), urban professionals, local authorities and academics.

On April 7th, four assemblies convened in parallel, among them, the World Urban Youth Assembly, under the theme: Youth and The New Urban Agenda. The Youth Assembly convened 12 sessions throughout the day on youth engagement in topics ranging from sustainable development to water management to post-conflict zones. During the WUF 7, a specific Youth Roundtable to discuss Youth Rights was convened. One of the outcomes of the roundtable was the need to recognise alternative and innovative methods for youth participation in decisionmaking processes and action. Mechanisms that promote and support youth participation should be made permanent and enable youth at all levels of decision-making. The panel recognized that the significant challenge to address inequality and ensure the voices of marginalised youth and communities are heard and amplified – this is the responsibility of youth whose rights are recognised. The efforts of youth must be continually reviewed and linked to the bigger picture. The present and most immediate


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challenge is linking to the Post-2015 and Habitat III agendas, and youth mainstreaming across national and international programs. Indicators are required to ensure success – and youth rights should be understood in the context of not only individuals, but also communities.

WORLD YOUTH CONFERENCE 2014 – COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – MAY, 2014. The World Youth Conference 2014, which had as its theme: “The integration of young people in the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, was held between the 6th and May 10, 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The WYC brought together 1500 participants from all over the world to discuss how to strengthen inclusive participation of youth, and how to foster intergenerational partnerships for development and implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Conference was a creative platform were governments and young people could review the progress made so far with the Millennium Development Goals, and share experiences and strategies for implementation and monitoring of targets.

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Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, opened the conference by highlighting the importance of the World Youth Conference series and the need to identify the needs of young people and work in partnership with countries to ensure that they are reflected in Agenda Post2015. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, vice-president of the European Youth Forum, highlighted the importance of building a connected, solid work among young leaders, youth-led organizations, movements and youth forums not only aimed at strengthening the youth agenda into agendas like post-2015, but also in strengthening youth meaningfully engagement in decision-making processes, especially in the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY).


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In addition to the plenary sessions, and a series of side events during the World Youth Conference, a hybrid process of negotiation took place. Governments around the world have negotiated the text that became known as the “Colombo Declaration”. In addition to governments, there were two reserved seats for youth at the negotiating table. These young people represented the voices of all young participants of the Conference and positioned themselves in accordance with the recommendations that were being produced in the workshops and plenary during the Conference. The final version of the Colombo Declaration strongly asks for the creation of a UN permanent forum on youth, as well as the creation of youth desks in all UN agencies and to explore other possibilities to strengthen youth meaningful participation at the UN level.

ECOSOC YOUTH FORUM 2014 NEW YORK, USA – JUNE, 2014. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, organized the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York, 2-3 June 2014, to provide a platform for young people to engage in dialogue with Member States on how they can be included in shaping the sustainable development goals and the Post-2015 development agenda. Over 350 youth representatives actively participated throughout the discussions, contributing their ideas and identifying the key priority areas that should be reflected in the future development agenda. The Forum, which was addressed by the President of ECOSOC and the United

Nations Secretary General, featured a number of breakout sessions around five key thematic areas identified in the ‘Global Youth Call: Prioritizing Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’, namely, health, governance and participation, education, employment and entrepreneurship and peace and personal security. In addition, young people actively contributed to the discussions online via social media and crowdsourcing outlets, such as Twitter using the hashtag “#Youth2015”, which further captured the diverse voices of youth from around the world. In his opening remarks, the President of ECOSOC underscored the fact that enabling one quarter of the world’s population to participate in the international decision-making process for the future is essential. The Secretary General also urged young people to keep doing their part while showing your leadership as global citizens.


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Governance and Participation have been identified as a key priority area for young people, particularly in relation to strengthening the inclusive participation of youth in decisionmaking processes at the local, national, regional and global levels. Young people are increasingly underrepresented in formal governance institutions and processes. Good governance requires the meaningful participation of young people in the planning, implementing, and monitoring of policies and programmes to fully be recognized as partners in development. Youth can play an important role in electing and/or supporting their government and can drive the successful implementation of development initiatives. Furthermore, transparency and accountability mechanisms should be implemented so that information can be made publically available for youth to monitor the responsiveness of their governments. Some of the specific recommendations from the forum included: • Youth must be actively engaged as a key stakeholder in formal and informal decision-making and policy-making processes at the local, national, regional and global levels in the context of the post-2015 development agenda. • The ECOSOC Youth Forum should continue as a place where youth’s collective ideas, solutions and innovations can be captured and disseminated. They should be allowed the space to contribute to policy formulation at the UN.

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• Ensure young people’s meaningful and inclusive participation in decision making processes, governance and peacebuilding, and develop, implement and adequately fund cross-sectorial youth policies and review mechanisms, in the framework of the World Programme of Action for Youth.

YOUTH 21 - 2ND STOCK-TAKING MEETING DURING NEXUS YOUTH SUMMIT - NEW YORK, USA – JULY, 2014. Between July 22nd and 25th, a series of meetings were held in New York, bringing together member states, the UN Secretary General Youth Envoy, representatives of UNHabitat and young philanthropists from the Nexus network to discuss the “Youth 21” process and its next steps.


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The event was an opportunity to explore the different interests each member states are bringing to the table, which included: 1. The creation of a UN Specialized Agency on Youth (UN Youth) proposed by South Africa, which now has the support of the African Union, which wants to advance discussions at the General Assembly level. 2. The creation of a UN Youth Commission (along the lines of the Status of Women committees and Social Development) viewed with great interest by Brazil. This option is seen as an opportunity to advance the youth agenda each year, and pave the way for discussion on the participation of youth representatives in the decisionmaking processes. 3. The creation of a Permanent Forum of the UN Youth, which is prioritized by youth organizations. 4. Finally, a proposal was presented at the meeting, which is the creation of a Global Fund for Youth, which would receive money from companies, foundations, and governments to fund programs and youth policies globally. There would also be a mode to finance specific projects of youth organizations. The proposal was presented by a group of young philanthropists of the Nexus network, and also has the support of South Africa.

69TH UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY - SIDE-EVENT HOSTED BY BRAZIL: “YOUTH RIGHTS – UNDERSTANDING YOUTH, THEIR RIGHTS AND THEIR TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL” – NEW YORK, USA – SEPTEMBER, 2014. In 2014, The Brazilian National Youth Secretariat, in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations and the Brazilian National Youth Council (CONJUVE) organized the side event: “Young Rights Understanding youth, their rights and their transformative potential” in the margins of the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York.


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The event was an opportunity to share the Brazilian experience in regards to youth policies and discuss their experience with the promotion of rights and the creation of mechanisms for meaningful youth participation, including the National Youth Council, the National Youth Conference and the online platform “Participatorio” for crowdsourcing public policies in the country. In Brazil, as set out in the Statute of Youth (Law 12,852, of August 5, 2013) specifically calls for the participation of youth in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of youth policies. Brazil understands social participation and youth policy as a premise for the construction of sustainable development. And in this context, we believe that meaningful participation is a fundamental right.

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1ST GLOBAL FORUM ON YOUTH POLICIES - BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – OCTOBER, 2014. On October 28th-30th, it was held in Baku, Azerbaijan the 1st Global Forum on Youth Policies. The event brought together over 700 participants from 165 countries, including activists, civil society organizations, UN agencies, academics, and ministers, among others.

In particular, the event explored the concept of youth supported by the SNJ, and the recognition that youth is a key to sustainable development, to overcoming poverty and for social inclusion, economic, cultural and political. Daniel Souza, Vice-President of the Brazilian National Youth Council defended in his speech the importance of understanding youth as rights bearers and reiterated that in order to enable youth to play their role as partners in policy formulation it is crucial to establish permanent and accessible mechanisms that will enable social participation. The event brought together among other guests, Mr. Guilherme Patriota - Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Leonardo Castilho - Office of the Representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Nicola Shepherd - Focal Point of UN Youth (UNDESA); Saba Loftus - Focal Point of UN-NGLS the Youth as well as youth delegates from Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, The Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Sweden.

The meeting aimed to assess the current situation of youth policies in the world, particularly in the context of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY, 1995). The 1st Global Youth Policy was organized by the Office of the Envoy of UN Secretary-General’s Youth Forum and the Youth Ministry of Azerbaijan, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO and the Council of Europe.


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Throughout the forum, different speakers, including from member states and leading researchers, emphasized the need for accessible, structured and sustainable mechanisms that will enable meaningful youth engagement in the UN.

ECOSOC YOUTH FORUM 2015 NEW YORK, USA – FEBRUARY, 2015.

At the end of the conference, the Envoy of the UN Secretary General’s Youth announced the launch of the Global Initiative on Youth Policy and a number of commitments presented as “The Baku Commitments”.

RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE PUBLICATION – OSLO, NORWAY – DECEMBER, 2014. Young people’s participation is central in realizing sustainable development. The work UN-Habitat and LNU (Norwegian Children and Youth Council) have done over the last decade has fostered a new understanding of youth as development partners. In order to support and advance the understanding of meaningful youth participation, UN-Habitat and LNU partner to produce a report suggesting five principles for real and meaningful participation in governance, called “The Right to Participate”. The report was launched by Ms Laila Bokhari, Norwegin State Secretary at the Prime Minister´s Office during the Asker Conference on Youth and Governance.

The ECOSOC Youth Forum 2015, was held on 2-3 February 2015 at UN Headquarters in NY and provided a platform for young people to engage in dialogue with Member States and other high-profile development stakeholders on how they can be included in shaping the future development agenda. Nearly 500 youth representatives actively participated in discussions with Member State representatives (including Ministers) and leaders from civil society, the private sector, media and the UN system, contributing their ideas and identifying the key priorities that might be missing or require greater attention from policymakers in the transition from the MDGs to the post-2015 context. The Youth Forum was hosted by the President of ECOSOC, Mr. Martin Sajdik (Austria) and coorganized by UN-DESA and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth with the support from other UN entities. The forum was addressed by the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, as well as other high level officials of the United Nations System; and included six substantive panels organized around key


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thematic areas, as well as break-out sessions and interactive discussions between speakers and participants

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young people to be agents of change and partners—not just beneficiaries—in development.

In his opening remarks, the ECOSOC President called attention to the promise of 1.8 billion young people worldwide for a better future. He expanded by saying that, too often, young people are seen as potential liabilities, rather than as problem-solvers and development partners with unique attributes. “The question is no longer if youth engagement is necessary but how to strengthen it,” he said, welcoming young people to voice their opinions on development, policy, climate change and education in 2015 and beyond. The Secretary-General told the Forum that “2015 is a chance to change history”. He urged youth to take advantage of the high level of connectivity that increasingly informs our understanding of the world, remarking that, “Young people can speak out as never before. You can denounce injustice and reach hands across cultures and communities.” As the UN representative on all things relating to young people, the Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi said that a “sense of ownership” is critical to the success of the future sustainable development agenda. Young people worldwide are ready to “carry their share” of the post- 2015 development, he said. The post-2015 development agenda will be a truly global agenda which reflects the concerns and realities of shared development challenges in poor and rich countries alike. This should be a rallying point for youth and increased solidarity across borders for young people and their shared priorities. ECOSOC remains the central UN platform for youth. Within the Council, the question is no longer if youth engagement is necessary, but rather, how to strengthen it to encourage

2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY). Adopted by the General Assembly in 1995, it provides an overarching policy framework and practical guidelines in 15 priority areas for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people around the world. The 20th anniversary commemoration of the WPAY coupled with ongoing work towards the development of a post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development created a ripe opportunity for the ECOSOC Youth Forum to take stock of progress and gains made within the broader development framework of the UN, while focusing on how young people have been and continue to be engaged in setting the agenda and framework for the SDGs. One interesting recommendation20 from the forum was the need to develop and create mechanisms for youth participation in decision-making, such as youth parliaments and/or advisory boards. 20 A full summary of the Forum can be found at: http://www.un.org/en/ ecosoc/youth2015/pdf/informal_summary.pdf


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IMPACT ON THE YOUTH RESOLUTION AT UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL

During the 24th UN-Habitat Governing Council, thanks to the support for the members of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, as well as the Norwegian Youth Delegate and supportive member states such as Norway, Brazil, Sri Lanka and South Africa, the Youth 21 initiative reflected into the youth resolution.

The Resolution on Youth and Sustainable Urban Development (GC/RES/24/12) endorsed the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth work plan, which included the plans to work towards the creation of permanent mechanisms for youth participation.


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IMPACT ON THE YOUTH RESOLUTION AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY The Youth 21 initiative was brought into the agenda of the 68th United Nations General Assembly in 2013, during the negotiations of the Resolution on Youth Policies and Programmes (A/RES/68/130) at the 3rd Committee, which is the Committee responsible for issues related to Social, Humanitarian Affairs and Human Rights. The government of Brazil proposed language that reflects its holistic understanding of youth, understanding that they are not just an audience, or passive beneficiaries of policies and programs, but rather that young people should be opportunity to take responsibility and be treated as partners in development initiatives. During the negotiations, Brazil stressed that understands social participation, including participation of young people as a fundamental right and essential to the advancement of democratic governance mechanisms and decision making. And therefore, the Brazilian government is convinced that it is essential to broaden the opportunities and mechanisms for youth participation, promoting better inter-generational dialogue and collaboration, approaching the Member States, the United Nations system, movements led by young people and representatives of youth, to seek consistency in the implementation of integrated policies and youth programs within the UN system.

Given the above, the Brazilian delegation also proposed text suggestions that emphasized the need to explore and establish a permanent mechanism for participation and social control of youth with the UN system. Brazil understands that such a mechanism would require greater accountability and transparency from the United Nations to the members States and to the youth, especially in relation to their policies and programs for youth. The negotiation of the youth resolution unfolded during the entire month of October, and became a very contentious issue. In the end, with support from delegations from the Latin American region, as well as Sri Lanka and some members of the European Union, the final text of the Resolution on Youth Policies and Programmes (A/RES/68/130) requests the UN to proactively explore “ways to promote effective, structured and sustainable youth participation in designing, implementing and assessing United Nations youth policies, programmes and initiatives�.


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THE ASKER CONFERENCE ON YOUTH AND GOVERNANCE

The Asker Conference on Youth and Governance was organized jointly by UN-Habitat, The Norwegian Youth Council and Asker Municipality, in Asker, Norway 26-28 November 2014.

The conference brought together key stakeholders representing national and local governments, regional organizations, youth-led organizations, research and private sector, Foundations and UN organizations to discuss how to improve and enhance youth engagement in governance processes at all levels.


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Representatives from the governments of Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Brazil, and Norway were represented at political level during the conference, together with representative from Sri Lanka. During the conference, the governments present agreed on the need to build a systemic approach to youth engagement in the UN system, taking into account the different demands and interests of governments, youth-led organizations and the UN that on the one hand need space for discussion and coordination and on the other hand the crucial need for joint platforms bringing the different actors together.

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The participants present in Asker agreed on the need to create a system of youth participation in the UN, incorporating the proposal of establishing a Permanent Forum on Youth building on the lessons from the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, a Commission on Status of Youth under ECOSOC building on the lessons of the Commission on Status of Women, a UN Youth agency building on the lessons of UNAIDS and UN Women, as well an expanded inter-agency networks at the national and regional level. Last, the member states present in Asker identified the crucial need to expand the dialogue with other member states, with the regional blocks, and with other youth and youth-led organizations building on the idea of a holistic and systemic approach to youth engagement in the UN system. To facilitate that, they agreed to establish a High-Level Youth 21 Task Team.


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THE YOUTH 21 TASK TEAM MEETING IN NAIROBI

The first meeting of the Youth 21 High-Level Task Team happened in Nairobi, on April 17th in the margins of the Habitat III PrepCom2 and the 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council. Government representatives from Brazil, Norway and South Africa attended, with apologies from Colombia, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. The meeting was also attended by representatives of LNU and the Major Group for Children and Youth.

During the meeting, it was agreed that the next step would be to use the Special Event of the President of the General Assembly to mark the 20th anniversary of the World Programme for Action on Youth (WPAY) in New York to galvanise support from other member states, as well as to sensitize the Permanent Missions to the UN in NY on the need to create permanent structures for youth engagement in the UN.


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THE YOUTH 21 TASK TEAM MEETING IN NEW YORK

On May 27-28, 2015, the Youth 21 High-Level Task Team met once again in New York in the margins of the Special Session of the President of the UN General Assembly on the 20th Anniversary of the World Programme for Action on Youth.

Government representatives from Brazil, Colombia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and South Africa attended, with apologies from Cuba, Nigeria, Spain and Sri Lanka. The meeting was also attended by representatives from LNU (Norwegian Children & Youth Council), OIJ (Organization of Ibero-American Youth), ICMYO (International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations), and the MGCY (Major Group for Children and Youth).


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The main discussion at the meeting was how to harmonize and better integrate the engagement of youth civil society into the work of the Youth 21 High-Level Task Team. Although all the parts agreed the priority focus of the highlevel task team remains on member states, and increasing the government membership, special attention will be given to youth groups voices and engagement. Within the secretariat of the Youth 21 High-Level Task Team, UNHabitat will remain focused on servicing the member states while LNU will more proactively liaise with youth civil society groups. At the meeting, it was agreed also that there is a need to a more pro-active approach at national level mobilizations, which can be done through the engagement of strategic youth networks and movements. We need a more bottom up mobilization, and pressure from youth organizations on their national governments, about the need for the creation of permanent mechanisms for youth participation at the UN level.

Finally, it was agreed that the group wants to proceed with mobilization towards a more systematic approach to youth participation in the UN and that specific discussions need to be organized to deepen understanding and support for each of the different elements of the system. The parties also agreed to meet at the second annual Asker Conference mid-January 2016 building on the commitments from the Asker CommuniquĂŠ and building up a stronger support base among member states and youth civil society.


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THE WAY FORWARD This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the World Program for Action on Youth, yet we still see very little progress in its implementation and as well real and meaningful youth participation in the UN system itself beyond the ad-hoc and event-based engagement. We need to work to widely promote the content, as well as to develop better monitoring and evaluation systems. The best way forward is to create structures where governments, UN entities and youth can come together and are held accountable to each other. At the Asker Conference, participants agreed that the structures we currently have in place at UN level are not enough, young people’s ideas and solutions are multidimensional, and therefore the structures need to be integrated, permanent, adequately funded and cross cutting. A more comprehensive approach to youth participation at the UN level requires us to look into a UN Youth Engagement System, which would comprise of some specific mechanisms, including but not limited to:

A UN PERMANENT FORUM ON YOUTH Inspired on similar structures such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UNPFY could become a platform to gather the voices of youth, and youth-led and youth-focused organizations to discuss and agree on the issues that are relevant to young people.

The Permanent Forum would gather representatives elected from youth-led and youth-focused civil society and representatives elected from United Nations member states. The balance of member state and youth representatives will be equally distributed modelling from the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (8 member state representatives and 8 elected from the Indigenous communities around the globe) without necessarily having the same number of representatives as the UNPFII. The UNPFY will convene at least annually in sessions at the UN headquarters to provide expert advice and recommendations for UN policies and to the various programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations System on a consensus-based manner.

A UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF YOUTH Similar to other ECOSOC Commissions, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, and Commission on Population and Development, the Commission on the Status of Youth could become a platform to increase accountability and reporting mechanisms related to the implementation of WPAY, as well as allow Member States, representatives of youth-led organizations and other stakeholders to come together to promote the Commission’s stated purpose. This would ensure that Youth Issues are placed in a structured and sustainable way into the agenda of the UN at the highest levels. This open also an opportunity to be combined with a forum reserved for civil society groups, such as the Permanent Forum on Youth.


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A UN YOUTH AGENCY A UN agency entirely dedicated to the implementation of policies and programmes on youth around the world. The Agency would ensure a structured approach to youth programming, and would work together with member states to implement the WPAY at all levels. The Agency would also work to support youth mainstreaming with member states and across the UN system.

A MULTI-PARTNER YOUTH TRUST FUND A Multi-Partner Trust Fund would facilitate the mobilization of resources from various donors, including private and governmental partners specifically for financing youthfocused programming, policies and research. It could become a resource pool from which the system would be able to finance the design, implementation and the monitoring of youth policies and programmes, including the System Wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth-SWAP) including the joint work of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development.

ESTABLISHMENT OF YOUTH ADVISORY BOARDS The establishment of youth advisory boards, as well as the creation of a coordination platform for the different youth advisory boards within the UN system, has potential to improve the collaboration among agencies and facilitate the mainstreaming of youth issues across the UN system. Those advisory boards would support UN agencies in the design, implementation and monitoring of youth policies and programmes at the national, regional and global levels.

UN INTER-AGENCY WORKING GROUPS ON YOUTH AT NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND GLOBAL LEVELS Restructure the inter-agency working groups to include member states, UN agencies as well as representatives from youth civil society. The working groups could become a platform for meaningful collaboration among all stakeholders that would work together in the design, implementation and monitoring of youth policies and programmes at national, regional and global levels.


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NOTES

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NOTES


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United Nations Human Settlements Programme P.O.Box 30030, Nairobi 00100, Kenya; Tel: +254-20-7623120; Fax: +254-20-76234266/7 (central ofďŹ ce) Infohabitat@unhabitat.org

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Profile for UN-HABITAT Youth

Youth 21 Process Report  

Participation is one of the fundamental human rights recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many other human rights tr...

Youth 21 Process Report  

Participation is one of the fundamental human rights recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many other human rights tr...

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