In Norway, the celebrations were marked by a conference in Oslo entitled “Youth in Cities: conflict – work – participation”. The event was officially opened by the Norwegian Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Liv Signe Navarsete.
The minister emphasized the challenges posed by urbanization and the need for empowering urban youth as key to achieving the goal of “Better City, Better Life”.
Professor Oyebanji Oyeyinka and S. Anathakrishnan of UN-HABITAT presented the State of the Urban Youth Report and the Urban Youth Fund. Other presenters included Erik Berg from Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amal Wahab, Cairo/Oslo-based journalist, representatives from the Huairou Commission and Joao Scarpeline, a member of the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board.
The conference, in which several international experts on urban youth participated, sought to provide an integrated approach to urban youth and insight on how youth become positive force in urban development. For example, a renowned researcher Katherine Gough presented the findings of a research project on youth entrepreneurship in Ghana where the second-hand cloth industry has led to job creation and entrepreneurship among young women and men.
A case-study and documentary from Sierra Leone presented by Mats Utas gave an inspiring insight into the dynamism of youth in post-conflict countries. The youth from the Morrinho project in Brazil showed the audience how creativity and go-ahead spirit has provided new businesses into the favelas in Rio de Janeiro.
The discussants recognized the need to include youth at all levels of urban planning and the need to have strong linkages to international and Norwegian development agenda and the transitional world of rural to urban. It was agreed that there is a need to view youth as positive actors of change with the energy and willingness to provide
The following day, Tuesday 5 October, a presentation of the State of the Urban Youth report was organized by the Norwegian Center for Child Research in Trondheim. The Urban Youth Fund report was also presented at the seminar. The audience, mainly made up of students, showed keen interest in evidence-based research related to urban youth. The Norwegian Center also presented the preliminary findings on the review report on state of the Urban Youth Research. The Norwegian Center for Child Research is a member of the Urban Youth Research Network established by Un-HABITAT.
Norway has been the main supporter to the UN-HABITAT Youth Empowerment Program and the Urban Youth Fund.