Highlights from the 2nd day of ICMYO 2011 – by Paola Silva, IFLRY

Early Sunday morning, not precisely the day and time when people are used to seeing young people gathered to work, but indeed it happened. The session started with the proposal from the European Youth Forum about the common statement on the situation in Norway. ICMYO organizations agreed to support the proposal and the statement will be released.

They have come from all corners of the world to represent their organizations at the ICMYO and High Level Meeting on Youth
They have come from all corners of the world to represent their organizations at the ICMYO and High Level Meeting on Youth

Key issues for young people and youth organizations
Four working groups started the first session of our second day at the 8th meeting of ICMYO. The topics were brought to the table by the ICMYO participating organizations in order to go deeply on them. Themes were diverse and were related with those issues that are affecting young people and youth organizations’ activities. The topics were:

Visa issues, Rio +20, The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and Food security.
We started with the short explanation of the topic plus some key questions that included our experiences on those topics, we worked on how we as organizations can become part of those processes and be engaged in the future, plus how ICMYO can do a coordinated effort to increase the level of advocacy on the global level on those topics.

VISA ISSUES: The visa issues working group shared the tons of stories when visa issues had become an obstacle for the activities run by the youth organizations and how many young people have been prevented from participating in activities because of visa issues. The group explored different strategies such as close contact with Members of Parliament and involve embassies in the process to prepare the events.

It was also proposed that we as ICMYO could report on the situations we experienced in our own organizations, to create a format to report on this every year and to make a follow-up of the situation, including by writing a public statement.

RIO+20: The organizations working on Rio+20 shared what all of them are doing regarding sustainable development. They also started to create a coordination on what organizations are going to be at the event in Durban and what could be the common activities that they could probably do.

Food security: Regarding the working group on Food security and UN agencies, the organizations that participated mentioned that there is still a lack of coordination among the agencies regarding this issue, and that there is the need to improve and increase the youth participation in these processes. The group proposed a task force inside ICMYO that could work on this topic and make a closer follow up.

MDGs: The forth working group was working on the MDGs beyond 2015. The working group explored the three options that can be: 1. To extend the actual MDG framework for a longer period, 2. To change the current MDGs and do something completely different, and 3. To keep something similar to the MDGs, but making some improvements. The group recognized that many efforts have been done, but that there is still a lot of work to do.

Cooperation with UN agencies
Our organizations have been working on several UN activities and have had the chance to cooperate with different agencies regarding youth issues. Anyhow, we still have the challenge to make youth issues become part of the crosscutting agenda of the UN.

Several efforts have been done by UN agencies in order to coordinate their programs and activities, create a common agenda and also a better use of resources, besides we can count now with the will to improve youth participation as part of these efforts. However there is still a path to walk and we are ready to start walking. We shared good practices on how can we do it.

“Universities” – a way to promote networking, improve coordination and enhance capacity building
For the last twelve years there has been an ongoing project called “the universities”. Our universities are not an academic institution related with formal education, but more the scenario where several non-formal education activities happen in an intercultural and international environment.

Thousands of participants have been part of the University of youth and development in Mollina (Spain), in the African University on Youth and Development (Cape Verde) and also at the University of participation and citizenship (Uruguay). As you can see from the last 12 years the investments in these universities have been more than worth it and this project is growing and growing.

The Government of Sri Lanka gave us the news that they are willing to create another “University” for the Asian region. We hope that at the end of our ICMYO meeting next Wednesday we will be able to kick off this project.

United Nations High Level Meeting -UN HLM-…starts tomorrow
The name gives an impression on what is going to start tomorrow. Several stakeholders will gather to work on the global youth issues and to create a common agenda. It is not just another meeting. For the first time, all the ICMYO participant organizations were able to convene and prepare themselves for the upcoming event.

Tomorrow Rómulo Dantas, our ICMYO representative, will be part of the opening ceremony. We will be able to advocate towards the permanent missions at the UN on our 5 point agenda:
1. The implementation of the WPAY should be increased and improve immediately.
2. The partnerships with youth organization at all levels should be promoted or increased and this includes UN agencies and interagency activities.
3. Young people should have full and effective participation at the decision making level.
4. To promote and support the creation of youth organizations and platforms as well as strengthen the existing ones.
5. The involvement and recognition of youth organizations as meaningful stakeholders in global affairs must become more spread.

Representatives of other ICMYO participant organizations will be speakers at some panels, and on Tuesday 26th we will hold a press conference where we will present our perspective on the results of this UN HLM. If by any chance you are in NY and want to join us we will be at the Conference Room C in the North Lawn Building of the UNHQ 3 United Nations Plaza.

The big day is here…and we’ll keep you posted

Published by ICMYO

The International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO) is an informal network of membership-based, democratic, representative and accountable International Youth NGOs and Regional Youth Platforms. Our main objective is to strengthen the cooperation of youth organisations at the regional and global levels in order to coordinate policy inputs to the UN and other global youth policy processes.

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