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And that is certainly not it - the Envoy on Youth has been appointed to oversee the development and implementation by the SG, the first time ever that this happened. Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi is now the one who brings YOUR voices to the ears of the UN. He not only oversees the work of UN agencies such as UNESCO or UNICEF, but he is also acting as a harmonizer between organization and agencies.
And what a powerful statement the Youth Envoy made to the Special UNSESCO Youth Forum in Paris (2013): “Youth are not just the future generation – youth are partners today.”
And indeed, we are partners for the UN in many projects and plans for the future - our voice will be louder than ever. And we are many voices to be heard. In 2012, the world population surpassed the magic mark of 7 billion people and with that more than 50% of its population is aged younger than 30. Quite a group, but not loud enough just yet. We need to do more. And with that, the UN is there to help!
Over the course of the past few years, many initiatives were started by the UN to engage the young generation in the process. All along the Envoys Workplan priorities:
The UN wants you to be more active, to join the debate and make sure that the young, wherever they might be, have access to participate in policy making at the local, regional, national and international level.
How can you do that? For example by starting you own MUN and of course, by participating in MUN - where you discuss the UN, learn more about it and surely, get access to policy makers. And who knows, maybe your MUN journey will take you to the UN after all? Participate in the discussion here on MUNPlanet, too.
Youth and their pressing problems need to be put on the agenda of the UN. All the time. Everywhere. That is what this principle promotes as to raise awareness about the importance of youth policy in the process of finding solutions. Not only to involve the young, but also to take special care of the difficult situation of young people in e.g. conflict areas or when fighting climate change.
And what can you do to enhance that? Be active, raise your voice and make sure it is heard! In the Sustainable Development Goals, youth has a special place and that is the overall goal of this principle. But there is plenty more to do - be active in your local community and shape it. Be a representative for the young generation. In your family and in your local community. Share your opinion - both at home and online, for example when posting for MUNPlanet. There is more people like you out there, find them at your next MUN and together, you may be the voice of the young.
It does not stop at the UN level or at your individual doorstep. It is equally important to engage local policy makers, your government and NGOs in the process of ensuring the voice of the young is heard and that youth policies will be discussed in multi-stakeholder processes. Involving all actors yields great potential for success - Communicate together instead of about each other and thereby, create sustainable partnerships to change the world.
For you that means that you join local NGOs, go to a debate about the next education program or raise critical questions in a letter to your major or your ministry of education. Join youth empowerment groups like the Global Young Leaders Conference. And when you organize your MUN, ensure that you also build lasting partnerships with local and regional organizations. That way, you can start the dialogue on youth and their policy priorities.
And here is where our Envoy comes in. The principle lays out his special position as a mediator between the youth and e.g. the UN or intergovernmental organizations. Two documents marked the tasks and priorities for his work - on the one hand the World Programme of Action for Youth(WPAY) and on the other hand the System Wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth - SWAP). These two programs put the emphasis of Ban Ki-Moon to actions: Uniting the youth - both with one another and with stakeholders in the policy making process - at the national level as envisioned in the WPAY and at the international level with the UN as in the Youth-SWAP.
Are involved in young policy making process? Or in your local youth NGO? How are you raising the voice of the young generation? Do you think the UN does enough to involve the youth, also in e.g. LDC? Share your views and comments below!
And of course, what should the course of action be for the next 70 years of the UN?