Young people highlighted the International Year of Youth at the General Assembly

At the 65th session of the General Assembly, twenty United Nations Member States included one or more youth delegates in their official delegations

Youth delegates took part in the deliberations of the Third Committee of the General Assembly and addressed issues under the agenda item of social development. While in New York, 14 of the youth delegates delivered statements to the Third Committee on behalf of their Member States and represented the view of young people in their countries.

A majority of the youth delegates highlighted the International Year of Youth, which began in August 2010, and the importance of engaging young people both when it comes to young people’s inclusion in decision-making processes, and also to see young people as important partners in the work of Member States and the United Nations work for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Some of the main concerns addressed by the youth delegates were the alarming rise of youth unemployment, the need for universal access to both formal and non-formal education, young people’s participation in the work of achieving the MDGs and sexual and reproductive rights. The youth delegates highlighted the fact that young people need to be included in developing strategies for curbing the high unemployment levels among young people, and should also be key partners in designing poverty reduction strategies to ensure their effectiveness.

Additionally, youth delegates participated in the general work of their Missions by attending a range of meetings and informal consultations on various resolutions. They also organized many side events on a variety of issues related to the International Year of Youth. The topics of the side events varied from youth employment in times of crises, global initiatives on cultural dialogue, youth participation in environmental policies, dialogue and mutual understanding and the role and participation of youth in sustainable development. Youth delegates also met with the President of the General Assembly to discuss young people’s role in the UN and to gain deeper knowledge of the Member States work in decision-making processes.

The work of the youth delegates is, however, not only limited to their time in New York during the General Assembly. Most of them have been selected for a term of one year, which includes traveling their own countries to interact with young people from different parts of society to gather opinions and concerns on the issues highlighted at the General Assembly. With the International Year of Youth, the youth delegates have an important role to play in the success of the Year, which includes raising awareness in their countries and encouraging young people, Governments and other stakeholders to take advantage of the Year and to increase their commitment and investment in young people.

The youth delegate programme is coordinated by the UN Programme on Youth (UNPY), with the aim to strengthen young peoples participation in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their contribution to national and international development. The UNPY provides youth delegates with information and advice to the youth delegates and Member States before, during and after their stay in New York.

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