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President of the UN General Assembly, John W. Ashe, Listens to Slum-grown Youth Leaders on What’s Needed in a Post-2015 World

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson

Nairobi 2 November 2013

PGA John W Ashe meeting with youth in NairobiA day after wrapping up the Global South-South Development Expo, UN General Assembly President, John W. Ashe met with a group of youth leaders from various parts of Kenya, many of whom grew up in the slums, to hear what they had to say about what’s needed to build a more equitable, sustainable and safer world after 2015.

“In Africa, when you talk about development, you cannot ignore agriculture. When we look at agriculture we see food security,” said Moses Omondi, a youth leader from Kisumu Ndogo village in Kibera Constituency. Instrumental in promoting peace during the post-election violence program, he volunteered through the UNDP Neighborhood Volunteer program. Moses pointed to the need for policy makers to focus on agriculture and secondary education and stressed the importance of informing and engaging local communities in the development process.

Youth leaders highlighted the value of the bottom-up approach. “I believe the bottom-up approach is the solution for everything because people are empowered,” said Jane Anyango, Founder and Director of POLYCOM Foundation, an organization that champions the rights of women and girls in the slums of Kibera.

“If you empower women, you empower the whole community,” said FatmaAbdurahamanAfisi, from the Nubian community of Kibera, where marginalization is no stranger. Fatima is a founder of the Nubians Rights Forum, where she serves as an Administrator, helping to champion the rights of marginalized communities throughout Kenya.

Sitting next to Fatma, George Wesonga, a youth leader and environment activist in Kenya said, “Let’s show women that they are superior.” He called for the empowerment of women and the improvement of education systems.

David Kitavi, began the open discussion noting the importance of youth participation, empowerment, and identifying how such tools as Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) can help bring about real impact to drive the Post-2015 Development Agenda process home, where it counts. David is elected County Representative for Laini Saba Ward in Kibera Constituency, fighting for the rights of people living in informal settlements.

Concluding the heart-felt discussion, Millicent AumaOtieno, a Peace Champion in Kibera, told the President of the General Assembly“without peace you cannot have development.”

The youth provided an even deeper perspective forPresident Ashe, who as leader of the 193 Member State-strong General Assembly is paving the way to define the post-2015 agenda with a key set of priorities that include: The role of women, youth and civil society; human rights and the rule of law; South-South, Triangular cooperation and information and communications technology (ICT) for development; the role of partnerships; ensuring peaceful societies; and water, sanitation and sustainable development.

Outlining the intergovernmental-lead-UN System-wide process of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, President Ashe noted that, “the Post-2015 Development Agenda cannot be developed like the Millennium Development Goals, from the top-down” agreeing with youth leaders at the table. “But we can say that the world is a better place because we had the MDGs.”

The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage! is the theme President Ashe selected for the 68th session of the General Assembly. The process is moving swiftly as the President builds up his initiatives.He is determined to ensure that the universal and inclusive post-2015 agenda, not only leaves no one behind, but brings all people and the planet toward a life that isultimately sustainable, across all dimensions- economic, social and environmental.

John Ashe President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, meets with Nairobi youth - Photo/Office of PGA