At the United Nations General Assembly as a Youth Delegate
By Simone Fehr
Never before has our world been as interconnected as it is now. Never before has youth been shaping the world’s development to such a degree as they are now. Never before have unconventional, innovative solutions to our world’s challenges been in such high demand as they are now. Therefore, I have always believed that the world’s youth, accounting for one quarter of the total population, is a crucial factor when it comes to our world’s future and we cannot leave this huge potential unutilised. This concern for youth, together with my fascination with the United Nations, motivated me to become a Swiss Youth Delegate to the United Nations.
The official Swiss Youth Delegates to the United Nations (Youth Reps) represent the Swiss young people at the United Nations, as well as other organizations. As a Youth Delegate, I bring the voices of Swiss young people to the United Nations. Before coming to the UN, I had the opportunity to realise the concerns of young people by interacting with them in various events and school visits across the country. Like Youth Delegates from other countries, the Swiss Youth Reps commit themselves to making sure that the 1.2 billion young people on this globe have a say in the world they want today as well as tomorrow.
Certainly one of the highlights of the Youth Rep mandate is the participation in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where I am writing this article. As part of the Swiss delegation, I am representing Switzerland in the Third Committee (the arm of the General Committee that deliberates on Social, Humanitarian & Cultural issues) during a two week period. A particularly fascinating experience I had already as a Youth Delegate was to participate in a photo opportunity with His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General. Following this remarkable event, a large number of the Youth Delegates had the chance to address the Third Committee of the General Assembly to deliver their countries’ statement. I spoke on behalf of Switzerland about unaccompanied migrant children, a topic I have chosen due to its importance. .
Unaccompanied migrant children continue to be subject to exploitation, detention and forced returns in all parts of the world. Switzerland and many other countries of origin, transit or destination are equally confronted with this sad reality. In addition, I organized a working breakfast in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations, where experts discussed the issues of unaccompanied migrant children from different perspectives. In addition, these weeks in New York have been characterised by negotiations, side events, and exchanges with other Youth Delegates – a truly inspiring time.
We are hoping that many more Member States will nominate Youth Delegates to the United Nations. This programme constitutes a unique opportunity for the involved and is a crucial factor when it comes to youth participation on an international level.
About the Author:
Simone Fehr, aged 25, is a Swiss Youth Delegate to the United Nations 2014. She is doing her MSc in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition, she has been active in various youth-related projects in Switzerland as well as abroad.
Youth Delegates at the 69th Session of the General Assembly
Youth Delegates to the General Assembly attended the Third Committee, the arm of the General Assembly that deliberates on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural issues. Matters that pertain specifically to youth currently fall under the agenda item called “Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, persons with disabilities and the family”. 40 Youth Delegates representing 25 countries participated in the General Assembly this year. more information
On 16 October 2014, the UN Inter-agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) hosted a side event on young people’s participation in the work of the United Nations. The IANYD presented the first report on the System-wide Action Plan for Youth and launched the youth-SWAP website. In an interactive discussion, youth representatives, youth delegates and United Nations Organizations presented good practice examples, talked about lessons learned and brainstormed new ideas on how to enhance the United Nations’ work with and for young people.
UN Entities Highlighted News
UNFPA Tunisia: Youth sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the Y-PEER Network and the Tunisian Red Crescent, organized a training of peer educators on youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in humanitarian settings for young people in regions that border Libya. The training aimed at strengthening the capacities of young peer educators of these regions to enable them to work with young people affected by a potential humanitarian crisis in Libya. The group of participants issued recommendations related to the SRH of young people that should be integrated within the national contingency plan.
IFAD: Small Island Developing States Youth stand for solutions
On 28 August 2014, in Samoa, young delegates from African, Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) gathered in a Youth Forum. The outcome of this forum, based on an online consultation, has helped inform the dialogue process and plenary discussions of the Third International Conference on SIDS about youth related matters. Young people demonstrated that they are not only committed to the sustainable development but also offered creativity and ingenuity to solve the problems of the world today. “Youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow. We are the partners of today’’.
ILO: Rights@Work 4 Youth: Decent work for young people
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has published a new learning package that aims to support trade unions, employment services, education and training institutions, as well as youth organizations, in their initiatives aimed at raising young people's awareness of their rights at work. The package consists of a guide for facilitators and toolkit that provide hands-on examples of recruitment practices and workplace situations.
ILO review of policies for youth employment of Cyprus
Following the 2012 youth employment resolution of the International Labour Conference, the International Labour Organization (ILO) initiated country reviews of youth employment policies and programmes. This thematic review of the youth labour market in Cyprus and of the policies and institutions for youth employment is part of the work that supports the ILO member States in collecting information on, and analysing the effectiveness of, country policies and programmes including those undertaken through voluntary multi-country peer reviews.More
Youth in Action
ILO: Organizing young workers: The journey of a young trade union's leader
Spotlight on a young leader: the journey of Bernice Johanna Coronacion; from a youth organiser in the local branch of a trade union in Quezon City, the Philippines, to a representative of the workers’ group at the Committee on the Recurrent Discussion on Employment at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2014. read full story here
WFP: “Us Against Hunger”— A Student's Story
Even as a child, Karen Garcia, a student at Texas Tech University in Texas, US, was dedicated to making a difference. She’s recently channeled this passion into helping World Food Programme (WFP) by forming a student organization called “TTU Students in Support of WFP.” The group has already begun to take action, hosting events like a recent field day to raise meals for WFP through the Charity Miles app. She shared her motivation for fighting hunger in a blog entry on WFP’s website.
Partnering for Youth: UNV Success Stories – new free download!
A new publication showcases a number of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme’s successful partnerships at the national and regional level to support peace and sustainable development through youth volunteerism. In it, you’ll learn about how UNV and its partners have been able to bring complementary technical skills, resources, and networks together to create highly successful partnerships that have achieved real results to improve the lives of people, young and old, around the world.
This fact-filled Guide explores forests from the equator to the frozen poles, the depths of the rainforest to the mountain forests at high altitudes. It also demonstrates the many benefits that forests provide us with, discusses the negative impacts that humans unfortunately have on forests and explains how good management can help protect and conserve forests. At the end of the Guide, inspiring examples of youth-led initiatives are provided, and an easy-to-follow action plan aims to help YOU develop your own forest conservation activities.