#Youth at the #Habitat3

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Today, Martin Ulvestad Østerdal, from the Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) delivered a statement on behalf of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth to the plenary meeting of the Habitat III PrepCom1 at the UN Headquarters in NY.

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Martin reminded the delegates attending the PrepCom1 about the importance of engaging and listening to youth, children and future generations since they are the ones who will inherit this new habitat agenda being discussed, and will be directly affected by decisions taken today.

He also reminded us that in order to tackle the challenges we face today, we really will need a tailored and ambition new development agenda. The way we plan our existing cities and address the issue of new cities will determine what SDGs are fulfilled and who is left behind.

The agenda needs to go beyond its focus on just Urban, and focus on an agenda for human settlements everywhere, and it needs to be inclusive of everyone, specially women and young people.

Finally, Martin called attention of all the government delegations attending the PrepCom1 that Youth Participation must not be a one off event. That we can no longer accept hand picked youth participation discussing topics defined by others as youth issues. Youth participation needs to be representative, independent and with emphasis on the whole political process.

The new urban agenda needs to maximise our holistic human development and minimise our ecological footprint. And the only way to achieve that is through dialog, participation and partnerships with the people living in the city/ these places, including youth and children. Nothing about us without us.

Read the full statement delivered today here!

 

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Youth 21: Increasing youth participation in the UN system!

Are you a youth activist or advocate?! Do you think young people should play a greater role in the UN system?! Do you have views on what should be the mandate of the UN SG Special Advisor on Youth issues?! So you got to stay tuned on the Youth 21 Initiative!!!

The UN-HABITAT Urban Youth Fund facebook page will be hosting all the information on the Youth 21 Initiative and will be filled with updates in the lead up to and during the Global Youth 21 – March Meeting in Nairobi (March 15 – 18).

Make sure you are connected with us to find out how you can be involved in this initiative to increase youth engagement in the UN and in democratic governance.

23rd UN-HABITAT Governing Council, Nairobi

Hey guys,

I just got back from the 23rd Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) which was held at the UN-HABITAT Headquarters Nairobi, Kenya from 11th to 15th April 2011. This time under the theme: “Sustainable Urban Development through Expanding Equitable Access to Land, Housing, Basic Services and Infrastructure.”

If you are not very familiar with the UN system, the Governing Council works as a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly (UN-GA) and basically serves as the intergovernmental decision-making body of UN-Habitat. So, every two years all the governments which are members of UN-HABITAT gathers to make decisions.

The main goal of the Governing Council is:

1- To establish UN-Habitat’s policies by developing and promoting policy objectives, priorities and guidelines regarding existing and planned programmes of work in the field of human settlements;

2- To oversee working relations with partners by following closely the activities of the organisations of the UN system and other international organisations in the field of human settlements and to propose ways and means by which the over-all policy objectives and goals in the field of human settlements within the UN system might best be achieved;

3- To approve the UN-Habitat’s biennial Work Programme and Budget.

Since I am the Latin American and Caribbean representative at the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board, once again I had the opportunity to attend the governing council.

At the event, our role as YAB members varies a bit, but mostly we are there to facilitate and host the Youth Caucus meetings every morning, to meet with different UN-HABITAT officials and branches to discuss youth mainstreaming strategies as well as programme collaboration opportunities and finally, to lobby and mobilize our governments to pass resolutions which support our youth efforts.

Photo of the Youth Caucus Meeting held every morning.

This year, on top of lobbying our governments, the youth present at the Governing Council decided to organise a FlashMob to raise our concerns among the governments which were discussing the Youth Resolution.

The idea was a bit too innovative for UN security, but on and on, we managed to get our message across and gain the support from many people which were passing by and felt passionate about our call for a more meaningful intergenerational partnership.

We managed to achieved support from the governments of Brazil and South Africa, which along Norway’s continuous support, was enough to get approved the YouthResolution which advances many fronts for us youth advocates within UN-HABITAT. (If you want to see all the resolutions which were passed, check http://www.unhabitat.org/list.asp?typeid=18&catid=658 for more information).

As a member of UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board it’s the second time I attend the Governing Council, and I believe we are getting better in the way we work during the GC. We also decided to create a blog, to post some of the experiences we lived while at the Governing Council. (http://unhabitatyab.wordpress.com/)