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Presentation by Ravi Karkari - Incremental Steps towards establishing of a UN permanent mechanism on Youth


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"Incremental Steps towards establishing of a UN permanent mechanism on Youth", a presentation given by Mr. Ravi Karkari to the main plenary on 23 May at the United Nations as part of "A Chance for Change: Child and Youth Finance and the Post-2015 Agenda".

#UNforYouth #CYFI2014

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  • 1. “Strengthening Youth Participation in the UN: Scenarios for Meaningful Engagement in Decision Making” CYFI’s Session on - Discussion on the importance of ensuring Youth Livelihoods in the Post-2015 agenda: youth-led and designed “INCREMENTAL STEPS TOWARDS ESTABLISHING OF PERMANENT MECHANISMS ON YOUTH” Ravi Karkara, Expert Advisor Children & Youth (Global), Partners and Youth Branch, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, 2 UN Plaza, Room DC2-0943, New York, NY 10017 Web: Email: I Tel: 1 917 3672895 I Mobile +1 646 642 6049 I Skype: rkarkara
  • 2. Background • There are currently 1.8 billion youth in the world, the largest number of youth ever to have existed. The vast majority of these youth live in developing countries and face daunting challenges, living in poor economic, social and environmental conditions, with limited access to education, training and employment. • Yet, youth have been recognized as agents for positive change globally, whether it be as the drivers of economic advancement, or the instigators of democratic reform. I
  • 3. Evolution and the growth of the World Youth Forum Idea: 1996-2011 and its linkages with the League of Nation and the United Nation System
  • 4. Looking back at the ambitions in BRAGA 1998, Portugal • “Youth issues should be given higher priority in United Nations System. We recommend the strengthening of the United Nations Youth Unit and its counterparts in other funds, programmes and specialised agencies and the provision to them of greater resources and more staff – notably young people.” • gayap.htm
  • 5. Agenda 21: Chapter 25 • “25.4. Each country should, in consultation with its youth communities, establish a process to promote dialogue between the youth community and Government at all levels and to establish mechanisms that permit youth access to information and provide them with the opportunity to present their perspectives on government decisions, including the implementation of Agenda 21.”
  • 6. Outcome Document of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding Paragraph 26: Request the secretary-general to submit a report, with due regard to existing reporting obligations, to the Commission for Social Development at its fifty- first session, on national experiences, lessons learned and good practices on how to address problems affecting youth, which report shall also evaluate the achievements and shortcomings of ongoing United Nations programmes related to youth and put forward concrete recommendations on how to more effectively address the challenges hindering the development and participation of youth, including through volunteer activities; how to improve the United Nations programmes and structures related to youth, including their coherence; how to better foster dialogue and mutual understanding among youth worldwide; and how to assess progress in these fields, and should be prepared in consultation with Member States, as well as the relevant specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and regional commissions, taking into account the work done by the United Nations system; and also request the Secretariat to consult, as appropriate, with youth-led and youth-focused organizations to ensure that various youth inputs are duly shared with the Commission for Social Development during its deliberations;"
  • 7. United Nations Secretary-General, January 2012 "Let us start with young people. • Today we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known. • They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life. • We will do all we can to meet their needs and create opportunities. • We will deepen our youth focus and develop an action plan across the full range of UN programmes, including employment, entrepreneurship, political participation, human rights, education and reproductive health. • And I will appoint a new Special Representative for youth to develop and implement our agenda and spearhead a UN youth volunteers programme."
  • 8. Scenario 1: Scale up the UN Youth Programme • Scenario 1 is to expand the mandate of the UNDESA’s Youth Unit beyond solely engaging representatives from other UN agencies, to enable the Unit to involve youth and youth agencies at all levels, and in their policy development processes. – The Youth Unit should be scaled up in terms of budgetary and human resources – This will make them able to respond to an increase in demand from all parts of the society: youth, youth organisations, member states, the UN agencies, NGOs, media, academia, private sector – A parallel can be drawn to the establishment of UNAIDS – Different levels of up-scaling are possible a) Scale up the current Youth unit with more resources and an expanded mandate b) Collect all youth programmes throughout the UN system into one powerful Youth Unit within the UN secretariat 12
  • 9. Example: UNAIDS • The need for a joint UN programme on AIDS was confirmed by a resolution of WHOs World Health Assembly in 1993 and later endorsed by the governing bodies of the other prospective cosponsors and by the Economic and Social Council of the UN. • There are two key reasons for the ten agencies* to join forces in UNAIDS: – The need for a broader-based, expanded response to the epidemic in sectors ranging from health to economic development. – The need to provide leadership and better-coordinated UN system support to countries. Much has been learned and accomplished in responding to the epidemic, thanks to the inter-agency collaboration. *UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, WB 13 Scenario 1: Scale up the UN Youth Programme
  • 10. Strengths: • Challenging scenario to implement • Will be able to build on existing structures and experience to coordinate different youth initiatives within UN, while securing a meaningful youth engagement Challenges: • Youth will still be in a client role, as advisors • Youth engagement in decision- making and programme planning would be at the behest of the staff of the Youth unit • Limited ability to advocacy work as an internal body 14 Scenario 1: Scale up the UN Youth Programme
  • 11. • Scenario 2 is to establish a Commission on Youth, similar to the former Commission on the Status of Women. • The Commission would reside within ECOSOC, but will have UNDESA’s Youth Unit as its secretariat. • The Commission would meet on an annual basis to review the status on youth globally, including in the UN system. • Youth organisations would have similar roles as during CSD; – Participate through panels, roundtables and side events – Interact in dialogue sessions with governmental representatives • Youth delegates would interact with member states’ representatives during High Level Sections and Special Dialogue Sessions 15 Scenario 2: Commission on Youth
  • 12. Example: Commission on Sustainable Development • Responsibilities: The Commission is responsible for reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; as well as providing policy guidance to follow up the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) at the local, national, regional and international levels. • Meetings: The CSD meets annually in New York, in two-year cycles, with each cycle focusing on clusters of specific thematic and cross-sectoral issues. Its sessions are open to broad participation from both governmental and non- governmental actors. • Membership & Bureau: As a functional commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), CSD has 53 member States (about one third of the members are elected on a yearly basis). Each session of the CSD elects a Bureau, comprised of a Chair and four vice-Chairs. 16 Scenario 2: Commission on Youth
  • 13. Strengths: • The path is well-known through the gender movement and the enhancement of women’s status in the UN system • This will give youth an expanded recognition in the UN system, and youth will have a platform for expressing their needs and challenges Challenges: • The Commission has to be constituted by a GA resolution through the ECOSOC • The Commission needs a number of Member States to sit in the Commission • Question whether youth will be actively and meaningfully engaged in the planning and development • Without involvement throughout the process, youth could be a “hostage” of the Commission 17 Scenario 2: Commission on Youth
  • 14. • A Special Representative is appointed by the Secretary-General to represent him in meetings with Heads of States on critical human rights issues. • The representatives can carry out country visits to investigate allegations of human rights violations or act as negotiators on behalf of the United Nations. • The Special Representative will ensure that the member states are given guidance and support to handle a range of youth issues given the heterogeneity of youth issues. • The Special Representative could work closely with existing youth programmes in UN entities, regional mechanisms and further advocate other regions to develop similar mechanism. 18 Scenario 3a: Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Youth
  • 15. Example: Special Representative on Violence Against Children • The SRSG on Violence Against Children was appointed on May 1 2009, subsequent to a Secretary-General report on violence on children which called for such a representative. • The SRSG reports directly to the UN Secretary General, chairs the United Nations Inter Agency Working Group on Violence against Children and collaborates closely with a wide range of partners, within and beyond the UN system. • The SRSG and her office are funded from voluntary contributions. • The mandate was established for a period of three years (2009-2011), after which time it should be evaluated, including with regard to its funding structure. 19 Scenario 3a: Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Youth
  • 16. Strengths: • A SRSG on Youth has already been proposed in a GA resolution (Braga Youth Action Plan 1998) • Would potentially give youth representation at the highest level within the UN system • The office would work closely with UNDESA Youth, IANYD, and various Youth programmes within the UN system • Would give visibility to youth issues throughout the UN system Challenges: • Youth would still be in a client role, and advocacy on controversial issues could be difficult • A SRSG on Youth would be appointed by and be responsible directly to the Secretary-General, and not to a Youth Body • A SRSG on Youth could be drowned in coordination of Youth programme in the UN system, rather than advancing Youth • One could question whether this is truly youth engagement 20 Scenario 3a: Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Youth
  • 17. • Special Rapporteur is a title given to individuals working on behalf of the UN within the scope of “Special Procedures” on a specific mandate from the UN Human Rights Council. • The mandate is often to “examine, monitor, advise and publicly report” on human rights problems. • The Special Rapporteur is appointed by the Secretary-General, and act independently of governments, but can only visit countries that have agreed to invite them. • Special Rapporteurs receive no financial compensation, but receive personnel and logistical support from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. • A Special Rapporteur on Youth could, aside from fact-finding missions, assess and verify complaints from youth organisations on alleged human rights violations. 21 Scenario 3b: Special Rapporteur on Youth issues
  • 18. Strengths: • A Special Rapporteur on Youth could be a strong advocate, also for controversial issues, for youth engagement and development in the UN system. • A Special Rapporteur on Youth would be able to assess and monitor youth development based on reports from youth and youth agencies globally. • A Special Rapporteur on Youth is not directly responsible to the SG Challenges: • The Special Rapporteur on Youth needs to be appointed by the Secretary-General. • A mandate on Youth has to be established and defined by a resolution of the Human Rights Council. • Also this scenario could be questioned as true youth engagement 22 Scenario 3b: Special Rapporteur on Youth issues
  • 19. • Scenario 4 brings together three mechanisms (Permanent Forum, Youth Platform Assembly, Special Representative on Youth) that could work to engage youth democratically in the UN system, while as well allowing youth a body from which to advocate. • A UN Permanent Forum on Youth can be established based on a model of the existing UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. • This Forum would have to be a member-led process, in that it would require member states to explore support the establishment of the process. • The Forum would have as representatives youth drawn from a Youth Platform Assembly. The Youth Platform Assembly would be a self-selected body of representatives of youth agencies that would meet biennially to discuss and debate current youth issues, develop policy, and elect the representatives to sit in the UN Permanent Forum on Youth for the next two-year period. 23 Scenario 4: UN Permanent Forum on Youth
  • 20. • The Permanent Forum on Youth would be co-chaired by the Special Representative on Youth and an elected co-chair from the Forum. • Eight of the Members would be nominated by governments and eight nominated directly from the Youth Platform Assembly, and appointed by the President of ECOSOC. • The office of the Special Representative on Youth would be acting as the secretariat for the Forum. • The biannual World Urban Youth Assembly could be re-branded as Youth Platform Assemblies sending representatives to the Forum. • Already-established youth assemblies and congresses organised by different UN agencies and youth agencies could function as regional youth platform assemblies. 24 Scenario 4: UN Permanent Forum on Youth
  • 21. UN Permanent Forum on Youth Issues Youth Led Organizations and Networks National UN Forum on Youth Issues Regional UN Forum on Youth Issues Youth Led Organizations and Networks Youth Led Organizations and Networks 1. UN SG’s Envoy on Youth 2. UN SG’s Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport GA/ ECOSOC/ SC/ HRC Figure proposed design of Scenario
  • 22. Example: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues • Established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to "discuss indigenous issues within the mandate of the Council relating to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. • The Permanent Forum was called upon to provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous issues to the UN system through the Council; raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of relevant activities within the UN system; and prepare and disseminate information on indigenous issues. • The Permanent Forum holds annual two-week sessions. The first meeting of the Permanent Forum was held in May 2002, and yearly sessions take place in New York. Sessions may also tape place in Geneva or another place decided by the Forum 26 Scenario 4: UN Permanent Forum on Youth
  • 23. Strengths: • The only scenario with full and meaningful youth engagement. • Gives youth globally a platform to discuss youth issues, formulate policy, and have a Special Representative on Youth within the UN system. • Scenario 4 can be implemented incrementally, with full participation of youth organisations in the planning and development. Challenges: • Most complicated scenario, multiple challenges. • The Forum must be established by a General Assembly Resolution. • A long process with lots of lobbying and support from various stakeholders within and outside the UN system; member states, UN entities, youth organisations etc. 27 Scenario 4: UN Permanent Forum on Youth
  • 24. The Progress of Youth 21 global initiative - Building Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System Youth 21 Report, November 2011 • The Youth 21: Building an Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System report explores how youth have been historically engaged within the UN system. The report highlights both the challenges and the successes of youth’s engagement, and building on these, proposes three possible models of engagement, and suggest the way forward for the UN system and the member states. • Link: Youth 21 Planning Meeting in Oslo Oslo, 15 December 2011 • 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 the 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. • This two-day planning meeting was held to discuss the 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. • Link: Briefing to the UNSG Ban Ki-Moon, New York, 7 February 2012 • Mr Gadgil met the Secreatry-General on the 7th of February. The goal was to discuss how the UN can increase their focus on youth in the years to come. Also participating was Mr Ronan Farrow from the US State Department and Mr Joan Clos, the leader of UN-Habitat, which is working with issues such as youth and urbanization. In January, the Secretary-General mentioned youth as one of the most important focus areas for the UN in the next five years. This corresponded with the recommendations Ban Ki-moon received on a Norwegian-backed UN Habitat meeting on youth in Oslo in December last year (read more about the meeting here), where both Gadgil and Farrow attended.
  • 25. The Progress of Youth 21 global initiative - Building Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System Youth 21 Nairobi Meeting, Nairobi, 15-18 March 2012 • From March 15 – 18th UNDP and UN-Habitat, with financial support from the Government of Norway, are hosting a four-day meeting which seeks to better understand and advocate for the engagement of youth in governance. • At the conclusion of this meeting there will be a Final Statement which will be sent to the Secretary General outlining how youth can be better engaged in the UN and globally. • Link: UNSG’s Youth 21 Message,Nairobi, 15 March 2012 • The UNSG addressed the participants of the Youth 21 meeting in Nairobi through a video message. The UNSG stressed in his speech addressed to the 300 participants of the Youth 21 conference that youth want jobs, dignity, a greater say in their own destiny; there is no more important mission for the United Nations than joining forces to support them. • Link: Youth 21 Rio +20 1 High Level Consultation, Brazil, 18, June 2012 • While the city of Rio was in high gear hosting the Rio+ 20 summit, on 18 June, the Government of Brazil in cooperation with the Governments of Norway and Sri Lanka held a High Level panel meeting, to discuss the setting up of a United Nations Permanent Forum on Youth Issues to enhance youth engagement in the United Nations system. • The High Level meeting was moderated by Joao Scarpelini, former UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board member and coordinator of the Unition Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Major Group for Children and Youth. The opening speaker was Mr. Gilberto Carvalho, Minister of the Presidency of Brazil, Government of Brazil. Also in attendance were Mr. Heikki Holmås, Minister for International Development in Norway, H.E. Duminda Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development in Sri Lanka and Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat. In his remarks, H.E. Dissanayake expressed his commitment to the idea of establishing a Permanent Forum for youth in the United Nations. Mr. Holmås left a great inspirational impression among the audience and spoke about his time as a youth activist. Mr. Holmås concluded his speech by encouraging young people to demand the impossible, because then it would be possible. • Link:
  • 26. The Progress of Youth 21 global initiative - Building Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System Planning Meeting for a GCC Youth 21 Meeting, Dubai, 23, July 2012 • Within the framework of the importance given by the General Authority for Youth and Sports to keep up with developments and efforts for global initiatives that seek to develop the youth sector and to highlight the potential, through the experience of UAE youth community, the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare hosted Mr Ravi Karkara, expert on youth and children and champion of youth engagement initiatives in the United Nations. He was welcomed by Jamal Hammadi, Director of Administration in the presence of Nasser Al Zaabi, head of youth centers and science clubs, and Al Ali, head of the Department of Social Work and Youth Associations and Moataz Adel Nour coordinator of International Programs in the Department of Youth Activities at the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare. • The meeting discussed ways of cooperation between the Department of Youth Activities and Youth 21 and the global program of action, which includes many themes, especially on the participation of young people and youth capacity development and in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals. Youth on the Move in the UN- Taking Stock of the Youth 21 Initiative, 12, August 2012 • Youth's engagement globally, and more specifically within the UN system, was the focus of the Youth 21 Stock Taking meeting held earlier this month at the UN-Habitat offices in New York. • The next stage in the process will be a side event at the World Urban Forum/ Youth Assembly in Naples in September 2012 followed by a high profile side event on Youth 21 which will be held in conjunction with High Level Segment of the General Assembly. The latter event will focus on engaging member states on the Permanent Forum and raising awareness of the importance of enhancing the engagement of youth in the UN system. • Link: Conference Youth Ministers and High-Level Representatives on Youth that are members of the Ibero-American Youth Organization (OIJ). Brasilia, December 2012, adopted establishment of the permanent forum as a key priority Commission on Social Development discusses youth issues, New York, 7 Feb 13 • On the sidelines of the Commission on Social Development meeting in New York this week, the U.S. Mission to the UN and the International Labour Organization (ILO) convened a special forum bringing together key stakeholders to explore the challenges in implementing successful strategies. Salient facts that came out of the forum were that young people represent the promise of changing societies for the better, yet there are not enough jobs for young people. Millions are also not transitioning into decent work and are at the risk of social exclusion and lack access to opportunities that can empower them to be active agents of change for their future and communities. •
  • 27. The Progress of Youth 21 global initiative - Building Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System • Youth Forum CPLP – National Youth Council of Portugal - Youth leaders training course in CoE - University of youth and development of Cape Verde, 5- 11 May 2013 • Extraordinary Conference Youth Ministers and High-Level Representatives on Youth that are members of the Ibero-American Youth Organization (OIJ). Cuzco, Peru. 10-12 September • Major Group on Children and Youth Support Statement September 2013, • The International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO) , Support Statement October 2013 • “Strengthening Youth Participation in the UN: Scenarios for Meaningful Engagement in Decision Making” Side-Event Co-Hosted by the Government of Brazil and UN-HABITAT, GA 2013