I (Chieck) and 2 other youth delegates are here at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Back in May 2014, during the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka, Restless Development and Plan International brought together a group of 10 young people called “the Children and Youth Governance and Accountability Task team”. The group’s mission is to advocate at the international, national and local levels on issues of accountability and governance.
So far, the team have played a specific role in contributing their different experiences to an international report on the participation of young people. The Task Team has been and will continue to focus on achieving two major goals; the full participation of youth in decision-making and governance at all levels and, the adoption of a specific objective on governance, explicitly mentioning participation of young people in the context of sustainable development goals.
On Monday, September 22, 2014, the report was officially launched in the presence of eminent personalities. In front of a panel moderated by the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Youth, consisting of the Deputy Minister for Youth Peru, President of Plan International,the Director of the Democracy and Good Governance team of UNDP, the Director of the International Campaign MyWorld and Restless Development’s Policy and Practice Director as well as a distinguished and large audience, Lombe and myself presented the report.
Lombe first described the drafting process and the challenges of youth participation in governance. She stated that good governance is not possible unless youth are properly engaged. Through her own experience, she emphasized the particular challenges to the full participation of young girls in Africa.
I then presented the main recommendations contained in the report.For me, there are two major points to consider, namely: a specific target for the governance and participation of youth in the new development goals as well as capacity building and support to youth initiatives. I subsequently highlighted practical issues such as ICT and the establishment of communities of practice.Finally, I gave a concrete example in Burkina Faso where youth and civil society have worked together to pass legislation. The report was received well by the audience.
The UNGA was a real opportunity to help advance positive causes, hear citizens’ voices and make the world better. I believe that our Task Team, with important support from Restless Development and Plan UK will help us accomplish our mission.