New Delhi, India, August 28, 2015– At the end of his first official visit to India, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, held series of meetings with government officials, youth organizations, civil society, volunteers as well as the UN Country Team. 

Alhendawi met with Mr. Rajeev Gupta, Secretary of the State Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Mr. Sunil Arora, Secretary of the State Ministry of Skills Development, Training and Entrepreneurship. The talks focused on the situation of young people in India and explore venues for increased the cooperation between the Government of India and the United Nations, particularly in supporting the implementation of the national youth policy and the “Skills India” programme.

Meeting with Youth Secretary

Alhendawi welcomed the new initiative of the Prime Minister of India on skill development and entrepreneurship for youth. He highlighted the importance of equipping youth with the 21st century skills in order to boost their competitiveness and address the issue of unemployment and underemployment. He also reiterated the United Nations commitment to continue its support to the government and young people of India, highlighting the work of the UN Task Force on Youth in the country. He stressed the importance of meaningful engagement and partnership with young people in order to achieve the targets set out at the Sustainable Development Goals.

Joined by Mr. Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator, the parties agreed that the UN will support the implementation of the national youth policy and newly launched “Skills India” programme. Mr. Rajeev Gupta, Secretary of Youth Affairs, indicated the government interest to establish UN Youth Delegate Programme stressing his Ministry’s readiness to join the countries that will be using the “Youth Gateway” for the SDGs to support youth engagement in the implementation of the SDGs in partnership with UN Country Team.

The Envoy on Youth a held series of public engagements with youth groups, including a meeting with representatives of over 20 youth-led and youth-focused organizations, a visit to UNFPA supported Adolescence Education Project in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan school and a town hall meeting with UN volunteers and other youth activists.



Ahmad Alhendawi


The discussions focused on the various challenges facing youth development in India and the youth views in how to invest in the country’s largest generation ever of young people. Alhendawi called upon young people to join the efforts in advancing youth policy in the country and highlighted the need to better coordinate the youth sector offering the UN country team’s willingness to act as a convener for the coordination of other major actors working on youth development.

As a result of the visit, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth together with the UN Country team in India, headed by Mr. Yuri Afanasiev, will strengthen its focus and efforts by exploring the establishment of a Youth Advisory Board for the UN Country Team, and convening regular dialogues between youth-led, youth-focused organizations and the UN Youth Task Force to enhance the coordination of the youth sector.

Earlier this week, the Global Call to Action Summit convened under the motto of “ending preventable child, adolescent and maternal deaths,” and was organized in support of the Every Women, Every Child initiative of the UN Secretary-General. Co-hosted by the Governments of India and Ethiopia, USAID, UNICEF, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Tata Trusts, the Summit was inaugurated by welcoming remarks from the Prime Minister of India, H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi.

The event was attended by over 500 participants representing high-level government officials, including Ministers of Health from 24 countries, civil society, donor community and the United Nations system. The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi also delivered special remarks at the Summit stressing the importance of women, children and adolescents ‘s health.