UN HABITAT told a United Nations meeting discussing the role of youth in the global economy that young people in cities, especially those living in slums, have considerable potential to advance the economies of countries in the developing world.
Young peopl comprise up to 70 percent of the population in cities of many developing countries, yet there is little research done on how to engage and support them as active and productive contributors to the economy.
This was the essence of a message UN HABITAT conveyed at the United Nations Programme on Youth's Interagency Expert Group Meeting on Goals and Targets for Monitoring the Progress of Youth in the Global Economy in New York May 29-31. The meeting was addressed by experts from UN agencies, permanent missions, teaching institutions and civil society.
UN HABITAT has become involved in researching the impact of urban youth on the economy, and developing models of how to support their involvement, through its Global Partnership Initiative for Urban Youth Development (GPI). UN HABITAT has also created mechanisms through which these programmes can be funded such as the recently passed Youth Led Development fund at the agency's twenty-first Governing Council.
"Youth, local government and civil society groups see UN HABITAT as the ideal agency to promote the advancement of youth and the economy", said Mr. Doug Ragan, Senior Research Assistant, at the Children, Youth and Environments Center, University of Colorado. "Cities are the engines of economic development globally, and UN HABITAT and programmes such as the GPI are well positioned to unlock this potential".
UN HABITAT was represented by Ms. Mutinta Munyati, Partners and Youth Section and Ms. Yamina Djacta, of the New York Office.
Taking into account existing goals and targets, including the MDGs and other internationally agreed mandates, the expert group identified specific goals and targets with respect to youth and each of the defined economic priority areas - globalization, employment, education and hunger and poverty. The outcomes of this meeting will be incorporated in a report and presented to the 62nd session of the General Assembly later this year.
For more information please go to http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/egm_unhq_may07.htm