What is the role for youth?

8 November 2013

WAGGGS is one of the six largest international youth organizations in the world, and as such has an important role to play in advocating for and with young people and ensuring meaningful youth participation in national and global processes.

Petra at UNGA

Over the past few years youth participation has been gaining prominence as one of the most important issues in youth work and youth policy. There is now a growing acknowledgment of the  important role young people play in development – youth are increasingly recognized as active players in their communities, drivers of economic growth and leaders of democratic reforms. Recently there have been serious developments in the field with the creation of the role of the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth being the key milestone. Still, young people’s role in decision making, and particularly participation of girls and young women, remains limited. There is a growing demand from youth organizations and youth advocates on the importance of establishing a sustainable mechanism that will enable meaningful youth participation in the United Nations.

WAGGGS is a member of a number of youth networks and alliances where youth organizations are collectively advocating for improved participation of young people in global processes, among those the ICMYO – International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations. WAGGGS is also a member of the International Youth Taskforce of the World Conference on Youth, which will take place in May 2014 in Sri Lanka. Among the key focus areas of the Conference are youth participation in development and implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, as well as improved mechanisms of youth participation in the UN. Increased awareness on and improved implementation of the World Programme of Action on Youth will be another focus of the Conference.  

To address these issues, as well as voice the priorities of girls and young women, WAGGGS Post-2015 Ambassador Petra Stipanic participated in the Third Committee meeting of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Here Petra shares her experience and insights from the Third Committee meeting. 

My experience at UNGA was INCREDIBLE. I enjoyed this experience a lot and was proud to be there representing WAGGGS - Girl Guiding gave me a life time opportunity to be at such an important event! 

These few days at UNGA 3rd Committee discussions with Youth delegates, I heard a lot about The Permanent Forum on Youth. The 68th UNGA Resolution on Policies and Programmes on Youth can be a landmark General Assembly resolution, paving the way for the institutionalization of young people and youth issues in the UN structure via exploring possibilities of having a permanent forum on youth.

What is a Permanent Forum on Youth and why it is so important?

A UN Permanent Forum on Youth is a mechanism that meaningfully provides young people with an avenue through which policy at the highest levels can be affected. The Forum creates a permanent mechanism through which young people can be meaningfully engaged in the policy work of the United Nations. This is a departure from the current, ad hoc entities that often provide youth with a tokenistic opportunity to be involved in UN processes. We are the biggest generation of youth ever - there are currently 1.8 billion youth in the world. The UN Permanent Forum on Youth would create a platform in which young people and youth-led organisations can play a role in the creation of relevant youth policy.

Working with national youth delegates on the resolution, I gained an immense knowledge of terminology used at UN, structure of the UN, processes at the UN. The experience gave me an insight in what do young people from different countries strive for; figures and data of young people’s situation in the world and that patience is the key to success.

After coming back to Europe, trying to get out of the fast rhythm of life at UN, the realisation came. This is something I want to do for as long as possible - representing WAGGGS, speaking out for girls and young women, getting our messages across, because if we stay strong and united we can really make this world a better place for our future generations! I believe even more in this now and what better way to do it then trough something I adore Guiding and Scouting

 See more from our Post-2015 Ambassadors here.