A historic four day global meeting, called "Youth 21 – Building for Change", and bringing together over 250 youth with governments, UN agencies, researchers, private sector and civil society closed in Nairobi at the weekend with the release of the Nairobi Statement, a roadmap for the greater inclusion of youth in the UN system.
Pic © UN-HABITAT/Victoria Chebet
The Nairobi Statement follows 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. The Statement commends the Secretary General on his commitment to youth and appointment of the Special Advisor.
The Statement 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 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 the Special Advisor on assuring that the voices of youth, especially those most marginalized and vulnerable, be heard.
Ms. Serverine Macedo, the Brazilian National Youth Secretary read a joint statement from the Governments of Brazil and Norway, a statement supported by the Governments of Benin, Mexico and Sri Lanka, supporting the Nairobi Statement, and the appointment of the Special Advisor and the creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth.
Ms. Macedo 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.
The Nairobi meeting is the first of its kind, and was co-organised by UN-Habitat and UNDP in the spirit of one UN.