Volume 17, No.03 - March 2013

Trends and analysis

E-discussion on “Building the Future We Want with Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Culture”

As part of the preparatory process for the ECOSOC 2013 Annual Ministerial Review, DESA is holding an e-discussion from 18 February to 19 March

E-discussion "Building the future we want with science, technology and innovation (STI) and culture"Arranged in partnership with UNDP and UNESCO, the e-discussion serves as an open, multi-stakeholder forum for practitioners, experts and researchers to share new ideas and formulate critical policy messages to the UN intergovernmental negotiations on the potential of STI and culture for sustainable development solutions.

This year, expert moderators from UNDP, UNESCO and the MDG Achievement Fund will facilitate the e-discussion. The outcome will feed directly into the Annual Ministerial Review being held in Geneva during the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in July 2013.

If you are not a member of UNDG’s MDG-Net, UNDP Poverty Reduction Network, Gender or Human Development Report Networks, please visit to request an invite and participate in this e-discussion.

Join Google+ Hangout on youth migration and development

As part of on-going activities for the forthcoming UN World Youth Report 2013, the UN Focal Point on Youth is organizing a Google+ Hangout on 6 March at 11:00 am EST on the UN Google+ Account, featuring key experts on youth migration and development.

Under the overarching theme “Youth migration and development: towards sustainable solutions”, the web-based event will offer an opportunity for youth, the UN and Member States to discuss the issue of youth migration and development.

Youth will have the opportunity to ask questions related to strategies for enhancing the development potential of youth migration while mitigating associated risk in the migration process (i.e. pre-departure/departure, in-transit, arrival, post arrival, return or no return).

It also aims to explore the nexus between youth migration and key issues such as access to basic social services, social integration, remittances, migrant rights, the post-2015 development agenda and environmental change.

“The phenomenon of migration has profound impact on young people as well as origin, transit and destination countries. We need to work together to enhance the development potential of youth migration while mitigating its risk. I encourage young people and other relevant stakeholders to participate and submit questions for the panellists to answer live in this upcoming Google+ Hangout,” said Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

The Google+ Hangout will also feature a 20-minute live Q&A session with the panelists. Tweet your questions for panelists to @UN4Youth using #youthmigration, post your questions on the UNyouthyear Facebook page or submit your questions on the UN World Youth Report web platform.

This particular Google+ Hangout is aimed at young people (15-35 years of age), as well as members of Permanent Missions, UN staff, the private sector, academia and civil society organizations, interested and working in the field of youth migration and development.

For further information on the UN World Youth Report Google+ Hangout, please visit: or email the UN Focal Point on Youth at with the subject line: Youth Migration Google+ Hangout.

Advancing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda

The international NGO conference on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda will take place on 20–22 March in Bonn, Germany

UN Photo/Jenny Rockett This event, focusing on reconfirming rights, recognizing limits and redefining goals, will bring together about 250 civil society activists and stakeholder representatives to gather inputs into the sustainable development and post-2015 discussions.

At present, a multitude of discussions and consultation processes are taking place worldwide. Some in the context of the Rio+20 process, others preparing for the post-2015 agenda. Some with a specific sector focus, others on national or regional level. While wide-ranging and participatory processes are welcome, we need to gain a better overview on civil society perspectives and demands in order to advocate more effectively for their implementation.

The event aims at providing such an overview by bringing together key actors and helping them to exchange information, learn from each other, benefit from our sector’s diversity and agree on joint demands and strategies where this is possible.

Supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and DESA, the conference is being shaped by a Steering Committee composed of many of the major international civil society networks such as CIVICUS, Beyond 2015, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), Social Watch, VENRO and the Baltic Sea Forum.

For more information:
Advancing the post-2015 sustainabe development agenda

Challenges and hope for world’s indigenous youth

“Indigenous Youth: Identity, Challenges and Hope: Articles 14, 17, 21 and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” was in focus for an expert group meeting in New York on 29-31 January

Photo: Broddi Sigurdarson, Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues/DESAThe world has never faced such a large youth population as the one inhabiting the globe today, with about 40 per cent of the world population under the age of 25. With the recent economic crisis and high unemployment rates, there are many challenges facing today’s young generation. The world’s 67 million indigenous youth face even greater challenges, but have big hopes.

To address these issues, indigenous youth experts from around the world gathered for an expert group meeting in New York focusing on “Indigenous Youth: Identity, Challenges and Hope: Articles 14, 17, 21 and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” on 29-31 January.

Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs in DESA, outlined some of the main challenges as she addressed the meeting. “They face higher levels of illiteracy rates, drop out rates and other indicators and they tend to experience lower enrollment ratios, higher unemployment rates and lower incomes. Indigenous youth struggle to develop and define their identities, maintain their cultures and preserve and revitalize their languages,” Ms. Akhtar said.

With youth representatives from countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, Peru and Uganda, the meeting looked closer at issues of identity, challenges and hope. The meeting also analyzed how international human rights standards and policies can be more responsive to advancing the rights of indigenous youth. Vast documentation is available online from seven indigenous youth experts examining these topics.

Meenakshi Munda, who is an indigenous youth from the Munda community of Jharkhand, India, attended the meeting in her role as President of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN). Speaking with UN Radio, Ms. Munda underscored the importance of rejuvenating indigenous languages to protect the identity of indigenous communities and the rich culture and wisdom preserved in this way.

Describing the knowledge the elders in her community has in medicine and plants she said, “this knowledge is intact in mother tongue. If we want to learn that, we have to learn indigenous language. Also, our oral history is intact in mother tongue, so if we want to know our own history, we have to know our own culture, our own language”, she explained.

“It is of course important that the UN now puts more focus on indigenous youth because if we look at indigenous peoples as a whole, the youth are the most important group. It is our responsibility to continue our language, traditions and cultures,” said Tuomas Aslak Juuso, President of the National Finnish Sámi Youths, as he spoke with UN Radio. Mr. Juuso, who has been promoting the rights of the Sámi in Finland over the past decade and who is also the co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, emphasized the importance of being able to use your own language and to continue traditional livelihoods.

At the meeting, Ms. Akhtar described youth as “our global asset” and their role as critical for both social and economic stability. She further stated that a “younger generation of indigenous population can be promising for their community if their vitality and vigor is appropriately unleashed and they can transform the overall indigenous community’s destiny. Youth drives idealism, creativity, entrepreneurship and with appropriate support can help make the world a better place”.

For more information:
International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Youth: Identity, challenges and hope: Articles 14, 17, 21 and 25 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples