During the opening and closing remarks of the Children and Youth Forum of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Alhendawi emphasized the importance of the role of young people as critical players in disaster response.
200 children and youth from around the World were invited to participate in the discussion around the implication of young people in reducing disaster risk and in building community resilience.
In his remarks, Alhendawi references the UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Margareta Wahlstorm, noting that she “often says that one of the simplest disaster risk reduction measures we can possibly take is to empower young people and to ensure they are actively involved in disaster risk reduction.”
“Engaging youth and children in the disaster risk reduction work is not only a necessary measure; it is an act of prudence providing them with rights and meaningful access to save and shape their future,” said Alhendawi.
Alhendawi echoed the ideas shared by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon who noted during his remarks at the World Conference, that disasters cannot be eliminated disasters, however, risk can and should be mitigated to to reduce damage and save more lives.
Alhendawi called upon governments to broaden the active participation of youth and children to ensure your meaningful engagement in the implementation of post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.
“We all need to join our forces in ensuring that the national authorities enact plans and programmes so that we can be better prepare to protect hard-won development gains and most valuable resource of our planet- human lives,” urged Alhendawi.
As the world prepares for the new sustainable development goals, the Youth Envoy reminded attendees of the importance of prioritizing youth in the process.
The Youth Envoy discussed the role of the UN in global and regional consultations, processes that enable youth and children to contribute to work of the United Nations around disaster risk reduction.
“I commend all the children and youth leaders gathered here for ensuring that the message of our generation is well delivered to this historical process. I also acknowledge the active participation in the regional consultations on disaster risk reduction,” concluded Alhendawi.
Alhendawi, also moderated the Working Session on “Children and Youth – “Don’t Decide My Future Without Me” at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction with speaker Anthony Lake, Director General of UNICEF. Illustrating the vital need for youth participation, Lake said that since the end of the 1990’s, climate change-related disasters affected some 60 million children, while in the coming decades, that number was expected to rise to 200 million, putting even more children at risk of dying, being out of school and facing risk of trafficking and exploitation. And indeed, it was the poorest, most isolated and most vulnerable that would be most at risk.
On 15 March 2015, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Children and Youth Forum.