Last week the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, attended the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD), which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“In Addis the world reached an important milestone with the adoption of this outcome document that will provide a compass for development financing for the Post-2015 Development Agenda” said the UN Youth Envoy in reaction to the outcome document.
The consensus on the Financing for Development Conference’s outcome “is also an important milestone in terms of advancing the global youth agenda,” noted the Envoy. “For the first time ever, a Financing for Development conference outcome document includes a reference to youth. The outcome documents of previous Financing for Development conferences held in Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008) had no such references.”
After a lengthy and tense negotiation process both in New York and Addis Ababa, Member States adopted the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognizes that investing in youth is critical to achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable development for present and future generations (reference: para 7 in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda) and calls on Members States to promote national youth strategies as a key instrument for meeting the needs and aspirations of young people (reference: para 16 in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda). Member States furthermore committed to develop and operationalize, by 2020, a global strategy for youth employment (reference: para 16 in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda).
“These references will provide important tools for holding governments to account in making adequate investments in youth, as well as serve as important stepping stones in the Post-2015 Development Agenda process for ensuring youth development is at its center,” Alhendawi added.
The conference aimed to agree on a new agenda for financing global development and was held at the highest political level, with 28 heads of State, vice presidents and heads of government; six deputy prime ministers; and 95 ministers and vice-ministers.
The Conference featured a four day general debate plenary and multi-stakeholder Roundtables on the themes “Ensuring policy coherence and enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development” and “Global partnership and the three dimensions of sustainable development”.
High level statements delivered throughout the Conference highlighted the development challenges and special needs of various developing countries and regions, and the financial and non-financial means required to address them.
The UN Envoy on Youth participated in several roundtables highlighting the importance of investment in youth, including financing for youth policies and youth structures, which tend to go heavily underfunded in many countries.
The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth also convened a side event on “Investing in Youth & Ensuring Decent Jobs to Harness the Demographic Dividend” during Financing for Development conference to mark the first-ever World Youth Skills day. The event was co-organized in partnership with ILO and UNESCO and brought together high-level speakers and youth activists to highlight the importance of investing in the skills development of today’s largest generation of youth by financing youth policies and programs and ensuring they have access to decent jobs.
The Envoy also participated in the side event with the Major Group on Children and Youth that allowed for young people to discuss youth priorities in a sustainable FFD framework.
At the end of the conference, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth held a press briefing highlighting the urgent need to invest in youth and youth skills development.