During the opening of the ICMYO 2011, Hon. Dullas Allahapperuma, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Youth Affairs and Skills Development, declared that Sri Lanka wants to host a World Youth Conference in 2014. FIMCAP became a participating organiszation in ICMYO and the organizations started preparing for the UN High Level Meeting on Youth by evaluating the International Year of Youth.

The ICMYO meeting kicked off with a very positive surprise as the hosting country – Sri Lanka – disclosed their ambitions to host a World Youth Conference in 2014.

FIMCAP joins ICMYO
In the morning the international federation of catholic parochial youth movements (Fédération Internationale des Mouvements Catholiques d’Action Paroissale – FIMCAP) was taken on board as a participating organization in ICMYO (ICMYO is a network, not an organization, and therefore does not have member organizations).

Evy Hoeben, Secretary General of FIMCAP

Evy Hoeben, Secretary General of FIMCAP

– FIMCAP is very happy to become part of ICMYO and we see it as a big step forward for the small organisation that we are. We hope that this can bring us in closer contact with other youth organisations and that we can start up cooperations on specific themes like climate change and the MDGs. I can see already many opportunities lying in front of us, and as FIMCAP we are happy to be able to contribute.

The International Year of Youth
The organizations evaluated the International Year of Youth and although recognizing the importance of such a high visibility activity, the ICMYO organizations also saw many aspects that could have been improved, including

– space for youth organizations to participate
– better time for preparations, both for youth organizations, member states and the United Nations system
– more coordinated actions to ensure activities from the local to the global level

– The year was decided upon in a rush and was therefore coordinated all year in that manner. I think that given the limits on time and funding, the organizers at the UN Program on Youth did a great job working with what they were given, says Maya Saoud, who represents Pax Romana at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and in the ICMYO meeting.

Looking forward, she continues:
– In the future, if there is a next time (and I should hope there is!) the Year of Youth needs to be given a fair chance at making an impact. To me it seemed that only those who prioritize youth already were mentioning the IYY all year, while those who do not prioritize youth were able to easily avoid the topic because it wasn’t prominently in their face. It needs more exposure and more emphasis next time.

Official opening: Christine Housel (WSCF), Maya Saoud (Pax Romana), Falko Mohrs (YFJ), Minister Allahapperuma and Romulo Dantas (YMCA) assisted the chairman of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka (in front) to lit an oil lamp for ICMYO.

Official opening: Christine Housel (WSCF), Maya Saoud (Pax Romana), Falko Mohrs (YFJ), Minister Allahapperuma and Romulo Dantas (YMCA) assisted the chairman of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka (in front) to lit an oil lamp for ICMYO.

And Falko Mohrs from the European Youth Forum agrees:
– Looking at the European Year on Volunteering, one can say that a successful year needs years of preparations, ownership from civil society and investment from Governments and institutions. The IYY was indeed decided kind of last minute – and it was widely lacking the above described – from our point of vie – crucial elements.

But he also agrees with Maya that the organizers at the UN level did their very best:

– We have seen that the UN Program on Youth are doing its very best. I think they have managed to link the activities at all levels as much as possible and gave the visibility to the initiatives. I also have to say that I was impressed to see so many grass-root activities – this has exceeded my expectations.

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