During an official mission to Austria last week, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, met with representatives of the Government of Austria to further the global discourse on youth.
At the Foreign Ministry, Alhendawi engaged with Secretary-General Michael Linhart on the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), currently presided over by Austria, the ECOSOC Youth Forum in June, and cooperation between the Ministry and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), new co-chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development. In a meeting with the Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Rudolf Hundstorfer, the Austrian education system was a focus point, as well as Austria’s so-called training guarantee system. With the Minister of Family and Youth, Ms. Sophie Karmasin, the two interlocutors discussed youth voting from the age of sixteen – welcomed by the Envoy – and the establishment of the Network of Children’s Rights.
The Envoy also met with the Austrian Youth Council, including its President Ms. Johanna Tradinik, Press Officer Ms. Nicole Pesendorfer, and Policy Officer Ms. Elizabeth Hanzl. The UN Delegates Programme was central to their discussion.
Also last week, the annual meeting of the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) took place in Vienna. The three-day IANYD meeting gathered all 40 UN entities whose work is relevant to youth. The annual meeting marked the handing over of the co-chairmanship of IANYD from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Permanent co-chair of the inter-agency network is the UN Focal Point on Youth within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).
In the annual meeting, a range of topics were discussed, including IANYD and youth organisations, information sharing, and the United Nations’ System-Wide Action Plan on Youth (SWAP). Alhendawi participated in several sessions throughout all three days of the annual meeting. Major discussion points that echoed throughout the meeting included the ECOSOC Youth Forum set to take place in June, the Global Forum on Youth Policies planned for October, and the newly launched crowdsourcing, as part of the 2015 Global Partnership initiative.