UN-HABITAT, as a member of the UN Interagency Network on Youth Development with support from Government of Norway recently organised a planning meeting between key government officials, UN and youth organisations.
At the opening of the meeting held in Oslo on 3 December 2011, Arvinn Eikeland Gadgil, Norwegian Junior Minister of Foreign Affairs/Development cooperation, invited the participants to think in an unfettered manner and come up with concrete proposals for enhancing the youth engagement in the UN system. Ronan S Farrow, Special Adviser to the US Secretary of State and Director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office also joined in calling for a historic legacy in youth empowerment through the UN system.
"Strengthening partnerships among nations committed to fostering youth voices and jobs is critical to global stability and prosperity.” stated Farrow, “Multilateral organizations can and should play a key role in coordinating such partnerships."
On the eve of the meeting the renowned Human Rights Expert and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on indigenous Issues Justice Carsten Smiths inspired the participants to learn from the indigenous movement to form a permanent forum.
UN-HABITAT was tasked by its Governing Council (GC Res. 23/8) to work together with member states and other UN agencies to enhance youth engagement in the UN system in April 2011. UN-HABITAT recognizes the global importance of youth. Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population lives in an urban context, and the most marginalized, of those are often young women and men living in slums and settlements. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030
This two-day planning meeting was held to discuss the a scenario report “Youth 21: Building an Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System”.This report explores how youth can be more meaningfully engaged in governance at the global level, specifically within the UN.
The meeting discussed detailed steps in organising a meeting of stakeholders “Youth 21: Building for Change” in Nairobi in March next year. Please see the outcome statement from this meeting for eminent participants. The planning group has been established to steer the Youth 21 initiative with support from Government of Norway. Prof Oyebanji Oyelaran-oyeyinka, who led the UN-HABITAT delegation stated in the conclusion of the meeting that the agency will continue to advance this initiative and partnership with sister agencies, member states and most importantly with youth-led organisation.