A youth seminar on the theme, Youth Development in Middle East and North African Cities: A Crisis and an Opportunity, brought young people together with policy makers, local authority representatives and mayors to discuss how cities can engage youth for the betterment of themselves and their communities.
“Youth are our imagination and our hope for the future,” said Mr. Simon Compaoré, Mayor of Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso. In Ouagadougou the city youth agency was among the first to earn a grant from the UN-HABITAT Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth Led Development for its project that promotes proper hygiene and sanitation amongst youth.
“What we have seen at Africities is the strong support for the engagement of youth by cities,” said Ms. Mutinta Munyati, UN-HABITAT Human Settlements officer, “We at UN-HABITAT are strongly supporting cities in developing urban youth programmes and policies.”
Ms. Munyati and Mr. Doug Ragan of the University of Colorado presented a policy paper at the seminar addressiong reginal youth issues. In it they suggested the establishment of urban youth centres, youth programmes on shelter related vocations; and the engagement and training of girls and women. This paper will be expanded to include additional recommendations on urban youth policy from the round table held on 17th December in the context of the Africities meeting.