World Conference on Youth outcomes

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22 Mai 2014

The World Conference on Youth (WCY2014) concluded on 10th May with an important Outcome Document for young people around the world  – the Colombo Declaration on Youth. The Colombo Declaration – a unique milestone of a jointly agreed document between young people and governments is the result of nearly 4 days of negotiations at the WCY and 2 months of consultation with young people, youth organizations and governments worldwide.

13 hours of non-stop intense negotiations on the last day and we now have a document that sends a strong message on empowering youth across the world!

WAGGGS had a leading role in the WCY as a member of the International Youth Task Force advising on the content and policy for the Conference. It also had a significant presence at the Conference with 10 international Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and 3 Sri Lankan Girl Guides holding the roles of facilitators, rapporteurs and speakers, and importantly directly influencing the negotiations in the negotiation room.  They were instrumental in crafting the language around gender equality, violence against girls and women, non-formal education, fighting negative gender stereotypes, norms and perceptions and other issues of importance for our movement.

WCY is unique not only in the sense that it is the first time that a world conference has produced a joint document that has been the result of joint deliberations between governments and youth. The WCY has set an important precedent when for the first time ever youth had an equal role and power in negotiations. Two youth negotiators had a status in the negotiations equal to that of any government. Quoting from the blog on the WCY website:  “young people and policymakers were in the same room discussing their problems and finding solutions together. For the first time young people weren’t just ‘consulted’, they weren’t just ‘influencing negotiations’ they were partners sitting alongside their governments. Placed alongside the country name placards,  this time, was a placard called ‘youth’.

Importantly, the Colombo Declaration also sets ground for important mechanisms of youth participation and engagement; such as Permanent Forum on Youth, which is to establish sustainable mechanism of youth participation within the UN system, as advised by Youth 21 report. To further capture the views of all young people that might not have been reflected in the outcome document, a Summary of discussions from the roundtables with their reflections throughout the 3 days of the Conference was produced.

But any Outcome of a Conference is as good as its follow up and means of implementation. The presence of the high-ranking UN officials at the Conference, such as the UN General Assembly President and the UN Special Envoy on Youth signals that the document will be taken onboard within the UN system.  

We hope that the mechanism established in the WCY 2014 will serve as the mechanism to be integrated into the consequent world conferences on youth and other youth related mechanisms. At the closing ceremony Nigeria offered to host the next world conference on youth in Autumn 2015.