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Youth Engagement, Governance and Leadership on Agenda for Youth 21 Week

Youth are becoming more engaged in demanding their rights and participating in political arenas, as illustrated by the UN Youth 21 initiative. The initiative builds on the momentum of the announcement to appoint a UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Youth (SASG) and discusses how to support youth leadership. A conference was organised during Youth 21 week by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN-Habitat from 15th to 18th March in Nairobi, to discuss the Youth 21 report and advocate for youth in governance and inclusive leadership. More than 150 young people from all regions of the world took part, as well as Member State and UN Agency representatives.

Recommendations were made regarding the SASG. The meeting also advocated for the accelerated creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth and urged for meaningful youth engagement, participation and inclusiveness in education, employment, democracy and sustainable development, among others. The conference was concluded will a final statement sent to the Secretary General outlining how youth can be better engaged globally and in the UN. The Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IAYND) also held its annual meeting on 12th and 13th March during Youth 21 week in Nairobi. Established in 2010, the IAYND is a network of collaborating UN entities whose work is relevant to youth. The overall aim of IAYND is to increase the effectiveness of UN work in youth development by strengthening cooperation and exchange among UN entities.

The European Youth Forum was invited to the IAYND meeting and as partner in the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations, to present the work of the Forum and the network. The Forum stressed the need to ensure legitimacy, transparency and the representative nature of youth participation and noted the importance of cooperation with youth-led organisations. The Youth Forum also advocated including youth-led organisations in the IANYD to allow for more effective coordination.

Useful links:

“UN-Habitat and UNDP host global youth meeting”, UN-Habitat, 14th March 2012

“Joint Statement of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD)", Youth 21, 15th March 2012