This blog is written and maintained by WAGGGS members who are delegates at the Global Youth Forum in Bali. The views expressed in the posts below belong to individuals and are not necessary the position of WAGGGS as a whole.
After the Global Youth Forum
Moon Noh, South Korea
"What can I do for OUR WORLD?"
This was the main question to myself when I was at Sangam in India. At that time, while having lots of conversation about world's issues, I had started to think of not only my country but also the whole world.
Finally I could get the answer to my question. As we've heard from WAGGGS many times, one of the most important things was speaking out. Actually, before going to India, I never thought that people all over the world couldn't hear my little voice. But I could have the courage to try, and Global Youth Forum was the best opportunity I've met ever.
I tried to tell them what I think of these issues, how we can solve these problems and listen to their voices. The problems we have were totally different. We came from every different community, country and region that has different culture. Sometimes I even couldn't understand why those can be their problems. But as we had long discussions, we could understand each other and noticed what people who are living in other part of the world have to solve for better lives.
In my case, one of the main reason I decided to apply was "the right to decent work". There are lots of students who are staying in the school all day long for studying in Korean high schools. And I also did when I was in high school. We have to get 'great score' to enter 'great university' because it is the one of best points when we enter companies. For example, there was cruel but sad incident in Korea. A boy killed his mom because mom always threw it up to him about study and used serious violence owing to that everyday. The boy couldn't stand and did it. Name-brand university is a kind of absolute standard for everything - 'appraise the worth of people'! Like this, it is connected with various social problems. Additionally this becomes surely one of the main cause of the situation that the gap between the rich and the poor is getting bigger as well.
So among the final declaration, meaningful participation was impressive point for me. For us, the important thing is meaningful participation, not important name. We should find what we want and what we can do well. Everyone knows but it is not easy to do actually. Those points that we had as declaration were perfect for everyone, but those couldn't be more realistic and more specific.
If we made the direction of our better lives in GYF, I want to make specific ways to go in my community from now on. I understood the problem and opinions of others, and also could look the situation of Korea back through this forum. Every society has their own environment and this is the time to make change in every society! It would be great if we can be decision-makers for our world.
"Small trees can change the mountain, and the mountains can change our planet!" And we're not different from this.
Stephanie Darmanin, Malta
“We can and we will provide space to youths in the review of the declaration”
These were the welcome words of the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin in a meeting with the Steering Committee close to the end of the Global Youth Forum. Once the Bali Youth Declaration was presented, everyone present was tormented with the question: What is the way forward now? The Declaration focused on specific themes which hopefully the ICPD will integrate to post-2015 UN Development Agenda otherwise it is not worth all the time and energy invested in this Forum.
The ambitious post-2015 UN Development Agenda is to be designed with a different strategy. Unlike the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the Agenda shall go through a negotiation process. In this light, the UNFPA shall organise periodic country office visits to reach compromises and negotiations with the governments in relation to hot inter-regional themes. Evidently, from the point of view of youths, the most important sectors are human rights, equality and sexual and reproductive rights. This Forum gave youths from different regions a golden chance to speak their minds and it was repeatedly emphasised that their outcome is to be given weight. Dr Babatunde promised that UNFPA will be providing constant technical, political and financial support to the civil society to attend the coming fora. However, although UNFPA strives to be on the forefront, the relevant information about social problems does not reach UNFPA in a timely manner and therefore actions are not always as swift and targeted as much as expected.
The implementation of the post-2015 Agenda should be through a level taskforce - structured in a way to serve as a global initiative composed of different age groups appointed from the civil society based on their knowledge and representing their network. This approach should be more viable and results are meant to be action-oriented, measurable, effective and efficient.
Apart from the Global Youth Forum in Bali, WAGGGS was also present in another event – the Rio+20 conference which took place in Brazil earlier on this year. This event brought together the social, environmental and economic dimensions included in sustainable development. In both events, WAGGGS delegation was filled with enthusiasm and contributed to the outcome and hopefully we will be present in all UNFPA forthcoming youth and women consultations.
The clock is ticking for the MDG deadline and there are still commitments to be honoured. But the bottom line of the Declaration presented in Bali is that the post-2015 development framework must be a truly global, universal and balanced agenda applicable to all. It must be consistent and aligned with all human rights, addresses pervasive inequalities and dismantles discrimination – an Agenda built on strong accountability mechanisms, and one which allows free and meaningful participation for all.
For all those who are interested in giving their views about this Declaration and to learn more on what was discussed, please join us for an online event in January.
The Outcome Statement
You can download a copy of the outcome statement from www.icpdyouth.org to see what over 3000 youth decided are the biggst priorities for when the MDGs expire. WAGGGS delegates will now work with their member organisations, governments and others in their countries to advocate for it to become a reality.
Day 3 - Youth Participation and Leadership
Pippa Gardner, UK
I'm blogging this sat in the closing ceremony of the Global Youth Forum and having just presented the agreed outcomes on today's strand to the plenary hall. After some last minute logistics I became the rapporteur for one of the world cafes for this theme and took notes on discussions around supporting and organising youth organisations and movement, funding them, building the capacity of youth themselves and particpating in decision making at all the levels from local to global.
This is clearly not a controversial topic in such a forum and we focused on how to improve this participation further. Having been the chair of a regional youth forum in the UK for the past 4 and a half years, finishing very recently, it is an issue I am very passionate about. Through guiding activities I have seen, participated in, and lead processes for girls and young women to have their voices heard. For example we designed stickers for use in Rainbow and Brownie units, so that young girls would gain a tangible reward for giving their opinions on the programme thus developing the desire to further put forward their opinions in future. At the other end of the scale, I've presented an intervention on behalf of WAGGGS to a high level panel at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.
Youth participation and leadership is a vital component of the guiding and scouting movement - it seems highly relevant that the recommendations on this topic were presented by a member of WAGGGS.
Day 2 – High Level Taskforce Youth Consultation
Pippa Gardner, UK
This evening I had the opportunity to participate in a youth consultation with the High Level Taskforce on ICPD Beyond 2014. Looking through the panel members before the event I was excited to meet some very inspiring people – including Leymah Gbowee who received an award from WAGGGS at the Young Women’s World Forum in 2010.
On arrival I was disappointed that we were only speaking to one of the panel members and the others would hear our views through the notes of the meeting, however it was still an incredibly valuable platform to put forward issues very important to WAGGGS. The most prominent of these was ending violence against girls and young women – the issue of the Stop the Violence campaign.
We discussed what recommendations we had for how to ensure gender equality and eliminate gender based violence. One of the biggest was ensuring access to, and adequate funding and resources for, services which both work to prevent gender based violence and also assist those affected by violence. Budget cuts in my own country mean that a lot of services working on gender based violence have had to dramatically reduce their preventative programmes in order to continue front line services, though ultimately this will just lead to a greater demand as violence escalates. We also put forward the idea that comprehensive sexuality education and a gender neutral curriculum in formal education is needed to deconstruct the gender norms from an early age, as gender norms, stereotypes and expectations are a large contributing factor to gender based violence.
I’m looking forward to further feeding into the taskforce as we will review and further contribute to the notes before they are sent to the panel members, as well as seeing this panel of inspiring people advocating for the issues of gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and youth issues in the process that will shape the development agenda beyond the Millennium Development Goals.
Day 2 - "Decent Work" and "Families, Youth Rights and Well-Being"
Georgette Razafindratsara, Madagascar
Today was really interesting because the theme is one of the very big problems of youth all over the world: decent job, and this was the theme I was applying for. The discussion was very participative and animated. I also really appreciate this day because I was in the same room with two sisters member of wagggs during the world café. It was great the fact of not being and feeling alone in all of this crowd.
Pippa Gardner, UK
Today I rapporteured (note taking and feeding back) on a lively discussion around decent employment for youth. I myself have found it incredibly difficult, even with a high level of education and work experience, to access the jobs that I want to do in the current economic climate. In my job hunting I have been turned away repeatedly with the comment "you are an excellent candidate, but there was just someone else with more professional experience". How am I meant to get professional experience if I can't get a job? Well the same organisations offer me a chance to volunteer or do unpaid internships for them - something I'm not in the financial position to do. The one paid internship I applied for I lost out to somebody who cold talk more about their prior workplace experience in the interview - that being a charity I have volunteered thousands of hours for in the past. One of the issues raised yesterday was the certification and recognition of non-formal education - like the stuff delivered though guiding and scouting. I think the latter of this is important as my skills gained in Guiding are ceritified, I have plenty of badges and pieces of paper, yet employers find it difficult to know how to recognise these, they think of guides as me just going to a youth club to have fun.
Thamonwan “Praewa” Na Nakara, Thailand
My favourite part of today would be the plenary session of "transition to decent emplyment for youth" which is a very big issue to be concerned. I really like to see the question and answer sessions where people including virtual delegates have to opportunity to ask the panelists questions via twitter which appears directly on the stage's screen. By doing this, I felt that we are really connected to each other and shows that the forum do concern and would like to hear other voices that are not in the forum too.
My Memorable FIrst Day - 04/12/2012
Tamira Browne, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
It is absolutely amazing that thousands of miles from my tiny island paradise, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I have an extended family through my sisters in guiding who have been absolutely amazing! Whether I have met them from Japan or Thailand there is an instant connection, a mutual bond, an appreciation of culture and an overarching drive to steer discussions to create a positive difference in our communities, countries and our world.
The plenary sessions on “Staying Healthy” and “Comprehensive Education” provoked thoughts and insights from participation of both experts in the field and youth in the fields of work. I had the opportunity to propose a recommendation to the plenary discussion “Governments, stakeholders and various actors within the community must work together to create a stable and secure environment that promotes and facilitates the right to health and healthy lifestyles in a multi-dimensional way.” In this regard, issues of interest articulation, interest aggregation and policy making must go hand in hand to achieve the desired outcomes as it relates to substance abuse, non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS as well as other emotional and physical dimensions.
Thamonwan “Praewa” Na Nakara, Thailand
My favourite moment would be the cultural night where we had a chance to meet other delegates and get to know each other more. I guess thats one the reasons why we're all here together!--- to make new friends! It was also really fun and enjoyable because we were playing Unglung - an indonesian musical instrument and listen to the music which help us a lot to relax after our hard-woking today.
I attended The World Cafe on Comprehensive Education and found it very informative and useful. I was really glad to have the opportunity to stress on the importance of non-formal education which WAGGGS is working on and that the government must ensure equal access to it and recognise it as a positive method of learning, and fortunately this point made it to one of the three recommendations made by our group.
The Second Day of Training - 03/12/2012
Pippa Gardner, UK
After today's training I feel almost prepared for the 3 day event to come. We practised our roles as facilitators and rapporteurs and tried to get our heads around the the enormous, and incredibly time pressured task of getting the views of 900 youth and other stakeholders into a single document by the end of the event.
I was particularly struck today by just how many youth who want to change the world for the better are coming together in this one place. It's going to be an incredible week.
In our mock world cafe session we trialled how the first Staying Healthy session might go. I got to be a participant - what I will be in the real session tomorrow - and I raised the recommendation of how we need to change the way we measure access to helathcare. It's not just about the number of doctors in the country, or even the travelling distance to the nearest clinic. Access, for youth in particular, lies in mindset of the providers and the service users and we need to measure quality through qualitative indicators, as well as quantative ones. I gave my personal example of how as a member of the LGBTIQ community in the UK, I have problems accessing healthcare, particular relating to sexual and reproductive health, that is relevant to me. I have gone to many different doctors for routine check ups for them to give me advise about safe sex that is only relevant in a heterosexual context. I know I am fortunate to be in the UK, that I can raise the issue of my sexuality with my doctor - even if they can't help me, at least I have no fear of arrest for disclosing this information (although the fear or violence and discrimination is still there).
I want to advocate for this aspect of health in tomorrows real session.
What health recommendations do you have? Leave a comment below.
Coming Together is Just the Beginning - 02/12/2012
Stephanie Darmanin, Malta
As soon as I stepped out of the airport I was struck by a magical ‘mélange’ of aromas of grass, heavy rain, incense and spices permeating the air. Now that the training for the facilitators and rapporteurs for the Global Youth Forum has just kicked off, this ‘mélange’ has developed into another significant meaning for me. Different faces, lots of languages, colourful experiences, and diverse perspectives have come together from all corners of the world – all having one goal – to make the Global Youth Forum a remarkable and successful event. The most tangible result of this event shall be the declaration paper covering the following five themes inspired by the World Bank Report 2007:
- Staying Healthy
- Comprehensive Education
- Sexuality, Families and Rights
- Transition to Decent Work
- Leadership and Meaningful Participation
Representing WAGGGS on such a high profile event is a fascinating experience.
The objective of this International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) beyond 2014 review event is to bring together youth from all corners of the world to address the above-mentioned themes and compile a forward progressive agenda which enables youth empowerment and a smooth transition from childhood to adulthood. The delegates present in this Global Youth Forum will have the chance to discuss their challenges in today’s life and set the priorities accordingly. They shall be advocating in favour of the well-being of youths, the recognition of their skills and knowledge and human rights. Taking into account the pros and cons of implementing the youth agenda post-2015, our recommendations must be specific, realistic, measurable and action-oriented towards different levels (local, national, regional and international level) rather than flowery recommendations leading to nowhere. Evidently, many cultural and social issues will arise during discussions which influence the concept and the implementation of youth and women rights at international level. From a strategic point of view, the flow of discussion will start off with a general look at the political commitments, including the recent Commission on Population and Development resolution, what has been achieved so far in terms of the MDG’s, which direction we want to take and which resources do we need to achieve the objectives of the ICPD Programme Action beyond 2014.
At the first glance, things look complex and abstract and I am pretty sure that after a general overview of what the outcome of the Forum is expected to look like, one might be tempted to get carried away by the magnificent views of the Hindu temples, the palm beaches, men and women in cone-shaped hats on green rice paddies under the scorching sun rather than engaging in such deep conversations. But being present at the Global Youth Forum is a golden opportunity for all youth activists to make their voices heard and push forward for a youth-friendly action programme. And being a WAGGGS representative, it is my duty to speak about the difficulties faced by girls and young women in everyday life, to make WAGGGS’ mission visible and to promote our non-formal education programme.
Aren’t you curious to listen to what is being said and recommended in Bali? So why don’t you join our discussions in the various World Cafes? Get registered now as a virtual delegate by visiting www.icpdyouth.org and share your ideas with us.
Arrival in Bali – 01/12/2012
Pippa Gardner, UK
Today the first members of the WAGGGS delegation to the Global Youth Forum arrived in Bali, Indonesia. In a rare event, WAGGGS is being represented at two United Nations events at the same time. Whilst a delegation in Qatar are advocating on the subject of climate change at COP 18, here in Bali we will be discussing a number of themes and how they affect the 43% of the world’s population currently aged under 25.
Topics like staying healthy and decent employment for youth don’t stand apart from addressing climate change however. They shouldn’t just be thought of separately. In order to create a better world for all, we need to embrace the idea of sustainable development – the theme of the Rio+20 summit that WAGGGS sent a delegation to back in June this year.
Pippa, Nefeli and Stephanie arrived at the hotel in Bali today as they are taking on facilitator roles during the Global Youth forum and will receive training over the next two days. Other members of the delegation will arrive on Monday in time for the opening of the forum first thing on Tuesday.
You can find out more about the issues we’ll be discussing and even become a virtual delegate to the forum by visiting www.icpdyouth.org
Follow our blog over the next week and join us in representing the 43%!
Leave us a comment to let us know what you think are the biggest issues facing youth in your country, or what your organisation is doing to address the five themes of the forum.