New York, July 26, 2011 – In his opening speech at the UN High Level Meeting Ban Ki-Moon asked all of the youth delegates present directly, “Are we doing enough for you? Can we do more?” The participating organisations of ICMYO joined the chorus of the youth in the General Assembly Hall and shouted, “No!” (you are not doing enough) and “Yes!” (you can do more).
Representatives of participating organisations of the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO) advocated for the essential role of youth in development and the commitment of resources for youth, including investing in youth organizations, at the first United Nations High-level Meeting on Youth in 25 years.
Development depends on investing in youth
Government delegations and hundreds of young activists from around the world participated in the major meeting, which took place on the 25th and 26th of July at the UN headquarters. The ICMYO delegates supported the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) as a continuing strategy and called for its fast and effective implementation in order to achieve internationally-agreed development goals such as the MDGs. ICMYO demanded a set of indicators in order to monitor the implementation at all levels. They also promoted youth-led organisations, national youth platforms, and regional youth platforms as the most effective partners in reaching and mobilising young people in these efforts.
“When we see the rates of unemployment, the young people are the most affected ones.
When we take a look in the number of HIV infection, guess what? Young people, especially young women, are on the top of the list. And when we watch news about victims of violence; there they are again: the young people.” said Mr. Romulo Dantas, Executive Secretary for Youth Empowerment of the World Alliance of YMCAs, in an impassioned speech to the UN General Assembly that drew a thunderous applause.
Governments lack commitment and capacity
The meeting included many discussions on the needs and challenges that disproportionally impact young people around the world. There was, however, an egregious lack of visionary and explicit commitments to provide new and innovative opportunities and financial
support for the world’s youth to actively engage in budget preparation, policy implementation and monitoring of social services provided for young people.
Some governments openly admitted to their limited capacity to assisting their younger generation. However, the consensus was that solutions to these problems would have to be solved regionally to meet the unique needs of young people living in very different political, cultural and socio-economic situations around the world. No matter the context – the organizations participating in ICMYO insist on the full participation of youth-led organizations at all levels.
“Partner with us to strengthen the channels that allow young people to have their voices heard. Take the chance of sharing responsibility and decision making with us. Make your structures more and more friendly for more young people to participate.” continued Dantas, asking governments to allow youth to have a bigger role. Dantas also serves on the Task Force of the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO), whose participating organizations represent more than 100 million youth all over the world.
Ready to partner for change
One of the best achievements of the HLM was the acknowledgment in the Outcome Document of youth organisations as essential partners in doing more.
In a panel discussion hosted by ICMYO, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund, called for a change in paradigm in governments’ approach to young people, and Mr. Gianni Rosas, Coordinator of the Youth Employment Programme of the ILO and the Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Network on Youth affirmed the will to a closer cooperation among the Inter-Agency Network and ICMYO in a sustainable and closer way.
ICMYO participating youth organisations stand ready to work together with the UN Inter-Agency Network on youth, governments, and partners in civil society to meet the needs of youth and involve youth in creating a world we want, one of peace and justice for all.
The participating ministers have three years to demonstrate their commitment and implement the agreed goals from the meeting. Sri Lanka called for a World Youth Conference and in his speech their Minister Alahapperuma offered to host this conference in 2014.
The International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organisations (ICMYO) gathers membership-based, democratic, representative and accountable International Youth NGOs and Regional Youth Platforms. The main objectives of ICMYO are the strengthening of the cooperation among youth organisations at the regional and global levels and the coordination of political inputs to global youth policy processes.
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