Introduction - Global Youth Situation
The case for young people being at the center of development:
What are the mechanisms for ensuring this?
1) Legal Framework: The development of cross-sectoral youth policies which ensure that youth issues become cross cutting and mainstreamed in employment, education, health and other policies is central. Ensuring youth policies are developed with and for youth, as well as in a youth friendly way is imperative. The World Programme of Action for Youth provides a blueprint for the development of policies at the national level in 15 key areas and should be utilised. Likewise, regional youth policies and programmes such as the Commonwealth Youth Programme are important tools in ensuring a framework for young people’s participation.
2) Financial and capacity building support to youth structures: Youth organizations at all levels provide important forums for young people to participate in youth led and youth focused activities. They provide the tools for young people to develop skills in participation, leadership, project management amongst others and the breeding ground for a life time of civic engagement. Ensuring the youth structures are resourced through both operational and project funding as well as through capacity building for youth leaders is critical for youth empowerment and development.
That is why I warmly welcome the initiative to develop a Commonwealth Youth Council - providing a forum through which young people in different countries of the Commonwealth can work together with each other as well as stakeholders such as government, civil society and private sector is an important step in securing the voice of young people in development across the Commonwealth. Working together on common challenges and opportunities to create the future you want ensures that your voice will be strong in the development agenda.
3) Develop Enabling environments for youth participation - Development of inclusive and comprehensive participation mechanisms at local/national/regional and international levels
4) Highlight positive contribution of youth: the portrayal of young people in the media as trouble makers with no motivation or inclination to contribute to society is both misplaced and pervasive. One of my key aims as Envoy on Youth is to help change this picture – we know young people are innovative and creative, that they are agents of true change, and for their work to be supported we must ensure that young people do and how it is depicted reflects the reality of this innovation.
What is the UN doing to involve young people?
Involving young people in the development framework:
Post 2015 development agenda
The UN Development Group has been leading efforts to catalyze a “global conversation” on a new development framework post 2015 through a series of over 70 national consultations and eleven global thematic consultations. The global conversation is meant to stimulate discussions with all stakeholders, share experiences from current initiatives and foster a shared vision on the necessary actions. The objective is also to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and discuss the needs for a new development framework post 2015.
Sustainable Development Agenda
In the follow-up to Rio+20, the Secretary-General has supported Member States along four main workstreams:
Role of Envoy