Geneva, Switzerland was once again the venue for the meeting of the ICMYO Taskforce, which took place on the weekend of 28-29 April. The World Alliance of YMCAs were gracious hosts. Throughout the year, the Taskforce encourages the participating organizations of ICMYO to become involved and work together on the various global processes and opportunities in which youth organizations can become involved.
The main focus for members of the current Taskforce at the meeting (currently the European Youth Forum (YFJ), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), World Association of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Student Christian Fellowship (WSCF), Global Young Greens, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Pax Romana – IMCS) was to plan the annual meeting of ICMYO, which this year will take place between 7-9 September in Cairo, Egypt.
The core purpose of the meeting is to provide a space where the participating organizations may discuss thematic issues and particular advocacy platforms where they may find it relevant and useful to coordinate their efforts. The Task Force will send the draft agenda and other relevant materials in the coming days to the participating organizations and ask for inputs and feedback.
The Task Force is also planning an opportunity at the Cairo meeting for ICMYO members to meet and network with representatives from Egyptian youth organizations and national members of their networks at a specially arranged event to discuss at first-hand the changing situation for young people in the region in the aftermath of the “Arab Spring” and possible responses to the challenges they face. The Taskforce encourages as many ICMYO members as possible to attend the meeting to make the most of this opportunity.
The Task Force also has noted a a growing number of organizations is interested to become participating organizations of ICMYO, and will stay in contact and present as soon as possible the needed documents.
Recent and Upcoming Advocacy Opportunities
In addition to planning the annual ICMYO in person meeting, the Task Force evaluated some of the activities involving ICMYO members over the last year such as the recent initiative from UN Habitat “Youth21” and discussed some of the key global events and processes taking place over the next few months such as a key ILO Conference on Youth Employment, Rio+20 and the annual training course on youth work development organized by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.
Special Advisor on Youth
The Task Force also discussed the process and implications of the establishment of a new position of Special Advisor on Youth and the establishment of an Advisory Board on Youth, recently announced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,. This UN initiative in particular has the potential to put the needs of youth higher on the political agenda at global level, and enable a deeper level of engagement by young people and youth organizations in UN programmes and processes: this is key moment for youth and youth organizations to be recognized as positive agents of change and we should ensure we are ready to rise to the challenge. Several ICMYO organizations have submitted candidates for the Advisory Board, such as the WAGGGS, PAX Romana, Pacific Youth Council, WOSM and YMCA,. The European Youth Forum’s board member Falko Mohrs is also a candidate for the Special Advisor on Youth. In order to be successful with the nominations coming from ICMYO partners, active advocacy at the national and international level is needed.