Leading by Example: Rwandan Youth Delegates address the UN by Rwandan Youth Delegates Karine RUSARO UTAMULIZA and Aloys NTEZIMANA
“To be a United Nations youth delegate is more than an experience in life, it is an unforgettable memory, it is a motivation to take citizenship responsibilities, as well as global responsibilities.”
In October 2011, nearly 30 young people attended the 66th United Nations General Assembly as members of official delegations of their respective countries with a mandate to address youth concerns. They participated in the Third committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) where youth issues are discussed. Despite the General Assembly strongly encouraging Member States to promote this form of youth participation in international decision making processes, there remains an under-representation of youth from least developed countries (LDCs) in their national delegations as youth delegates, and most notably, from Africa. Thus, the question is, are young people from LDCs unaware of the programme or do they just face a rocky road and some challenges while lobbying for the establishment of a youth delegate programme?
Despite under-representation from African countries, Rwanda is one of the African countries which has already adopted the programme, and subsequently, two young people from Rwanda Karine RUSARO UTAMULIZA and Aloys NTEZIMANA were present during the assembly as the only UN Youth Delegates from the African region.
KARINE AND ALOYS’ EXPERIENCE WHILE ATTENDING UN GA
From our very arrival in New York City for the opening day of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, it was very exciting to sit together with staff members of our permanent mission to the UN to discuss youth issues in Rwanda and our roles in addressing such issues during the third committee deliberations. A Closer consultation with entities working on youth issues in Rwanda including the Ministry of Youth, the National Youth Council, UNICEF- Rwanda and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provided another interesting opportunity to forward our work in this area.
Our impression, which was true according to how we had been assisted, was that we were considered Rwandan youth experts in both the challenges which Rwandan youth face and the policies/programme responses of the Government to address them, including at the international level. After getting accreditation (blue badge) with the title “Rwanda adviser” we felt really very excited and strongly motivated to do our best to make sure that the voice of Rwandan youth was heard at the international level.
On the first day it was amazing to meet and sit together with different diplomats, Ambassadors, other officials and UN Staff with one main purpose “deliberating youth related issues”.
It was very promising to hear youth from different corners of the world evoking not only youth issues specific to their nations but also directing their attentions towards the most alarming youth issues in different regions/continents.
The breakfast together with all United Nations youth delegates and the briefing from staff members of UN Division for Social Policy and Development (Youth) provided us with an insight on how the whole world in one voice is committed to addressing youth issues.
Another intense delight and inspiration was the opportunity offered to Youth Delegates to meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and addressing the third committee.
News from UN offices
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The 2011 World Youth Report explores the transition of young people from schools and training institutions into the labour market, a phase marking a critical period in the life cycle. The report will be officially launched at a side event to the Commission on Social Development on 6th February, 1:15-2:30 pm in Conference Room 7, NLB, bringing together main contributors to the report as well as representatives from Member States, the UN system, youth and the private sector. For more information on the report see ‘publications’ below
This guidebook is the first thematic guidebook that supports the YouthXchange Initiative, created in 2001 to promote sustainable lifestyles among young people (15-24) through education, dialogue, awareness raising and capacity building. Produced in by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the guidebook explores the links between climate change and lifestyles and helps young people consider the actions they can take towards more sustainable lifestyles. It provides the scientific, political, economic, social and cultural perspectives of climate change while looking at the causes and effects of climate change and its human impacts and responses. It explains these complex issues in accessible language supported by practical tips, suggested activities, case studies, best practices and web links for further information. The guidebook helps young people develop the critical skills they need to address the challenges of climate change through their personal every-day choices and actions and can be used to support courses and projects that promote greater understanding of climate change and lifestyles among youth.
To download the guidebook, please visit: http://www.unep.org/publications/contents/pub_details_search.asp?ID=6216
For more information, please contact Ms. Khairoon Abbas, UNEP DTIE, tel: +33 144 377618 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +33 144 377618 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, email: Khairoon.Abbas@unep.org.
UN-HABITAT, as a member of the UN Interagency Network on Youth Development with support from the Government of Norway recently organised a planning meeting between key government officials, UN and youth organisations.
At the opening of the meeting, held in Oslo on 3 December 2011, Arvinn Eikeland Gadgil, Norwegian Junior Minister of Foreign Affairs/Development cooperation, invited the participants to think in an unfettered manner and come up with concrete proposals for enhancing youth engagement in the UN system. Ronan S Farrow, Special Adviser to the US Secretary of State and Director of the State Department’s Global Youth Issues office also joined in calling for a historic legacy in youth empowerment through the UN system.
"Strengthening partnerships among nations committed to fostering youth voices and jobs is critical to global stability and prosperity.” stated Farrow, “Multilateral organizations can and should play a key role in coordinating such partnerships."
On the eve of the meeting the renowned Human Rights Expert and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Justice Carsten Smiths inspired the participants to learn from the indigenous movement to form a permanent forum.
UN-HABITAT was tasked by its Governing Council (GC Res. 23/8) to work together with Member States and other UN agencies to enhance youth engagement in the UN system in April 2011. UN-HABITAT recognizes the global importance of youth. Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population lives in an urban context, and the most marginalized of those are often young women and men living in slums and settlements. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030.
The two-day planning meeting was held to discuss a scenario report “Youth 21: Building an Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System”. This report explores how youth can be more meaningfully engaged in governance at the global level, specifically within the UN.
The meeting discussed detailed steps in organising a meeting of stakeholders “Youth 21: Building for Change” in Nairobi in March next year. Please see the outcome statement from this meeting for eminent participants.
The planning group has been established to steer the Youth 21 initiative with support from Government of Norway. Prof Oyebanji Oyelaran-oyeyinka, who led the UN-HABITAT delegation stated in the conclusion of the meeting that the agency will continue to advance this initiative and partnership with sister agencies, member states and most importantly with youth-led organisation.
Nairobi, January 2012: In its fourth call for applications to the
UN-HABITAT Urban Youth Fund, UN-HABITAT will this year, as in previous
years, provide one million dollars to projects led by young people aged
15-32 years who are piloting innovative approaches to employment, good
urban governance, shelter and secure tenure.
HABITAT invites young people based in cities and towns of the developing
world to apply for grants from the Fund of up to $25,000 per project. The
call for applications starts on 15 February 2012 and comes to a close on 15
For more information on the Fund and the youth programme at UN-HABITAT,
please visit our website at www.unhabitat.org
The innovative format for stakeholder participation articulated in Agenda 21, known as “the Major Groups”, has afforded a high level of engagement for representatives within the Rio+20 process. To continue your engagement and participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20 being held in 20-22 June 2012, please read carefully the information below:
a) Registration of accredited groups
All participants are required to pre-register their attendance online. Pre-registration is automatically open to accredited groups:
- NGOs and Major Groups that are currently in consultative status with ECOSOC as NGOs (including those on the roster through the list of the Commission on Sustainable Development)
- NGOs and Major Groups that were accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002
Pre-registration will close on 20 May 2012. There will be no more registration after that date.
b) Registration of Non-accredited groups
NGOs and other Major groups’ organisations that are NOT yet accredited to the United Nations, but wish to participate in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), will be offered a one-time opportunity to become accredited to Rio+20.
Accreditation to Rio+20 will close on 20 February 2012. You cannot seek special accreditation for your organization after that date.
More information on Accreditation and Registration to Rio+20 here: http://www.uncsd2012.org/registration
c) Stay informed
Receive the newsletter - Rio+20: Making it Happen - filled with important deadlines and information for participants. Subscribe online here.
Connect with the organizing partners for the Children and Youth Major Group as soon as possible in order to receive important information pertaining to Rio+20. The contact information for the organizing partners may easily be found on the official Conference website at http://www.uncsd2012.org/major-groups
Read the Major Groups FAQs
YouthStart, A UN Capital Development Fund programme in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, awarded US$ 7.2 million to 10 Financial Service Providers (FSPs) to design, test and scale up financial services, in particular savings, for youth. During 2011, UNCDF disbursed US$1.2 million to enable the 10 FSPs start testing their youth services and programmes.
In addition to financial support, UNCDF organized a 10-day training in Senegal to build the capacity of FSPs on pilot testing youth financial services, designing youth centered programs and integrating financial and non-financial services. 32 representatives from FSPs, UNCDF and other Youth Serving Organizations participated in the training.
In order to disseminate the learning generated through YouthStart, UNCDF published its paper “Listening to Youth”. The paper was launched at a side event at the UN High Level Meeting on Youth in July 2011 and presented in 3 other international conferences within the youth microfinance field.
For more information please visit our website at www.uncdf.org
Youth in Action
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Rio+Twenties, one of the organizing partners for the Children and Youth sector, has prepared a Participation Guide for young people designed to make the Rio+20 process understandable and provide the tools to effectively involve young people. The guide offers specific information for youth, identifies ways to make a real difference and shares a lot of best practices, tips and tricks and existing examples on youth activism.
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The World Youth Report 2011 explores the transition of young people from schools and training institutions into the labour market, a phase marking a critical period in the life cycle. The current employment scenario for young people, worsened by the global economic crisis, poses an urgent challenge with long-term implications for both young people and society as a whole.
For the first time, the 2011 edition of the World Youth Report is largely dedicated to the voices of young people themselves. The report is based on contributions from youth and representatives of youth-led organizations to an e-discussion, in which they shared their own views, experiences and recommendations on preparing for, entering, and remaining active in the workforce. The 2011 edition of the report is also the first to be produced in an interactive website that allows readers to engage on youth employment issues: how young people are experiencing and addressing employment challenges; where and how young people are succeeding in employment; how youth employment interacts with social practices; and what Governments can do to help prepare young people in the transition from education to work.
The report aims to shed light on such complex issues, while bringing the voices of young people themselves into fora where youth issues are discussed and acted upon. The report will be officially launched at a side event to the Commission on Social Development on 6th February, 1:15-2:30 pm in Conference Room 7, NLB, bringing together main contributors to the report as well as representatives from Member States, the UN system, youth and the private sector. The report will be available online soon!
Breakfast meeting with all UN Youth Delegates
Karine Rusaro Utamuliza addressing the third committee
Aloys ntezimana (UN YD of Rwanda) shaking hands with SG Ban Ki-moon