On October 17, on the sidelines of the Habitat 3 conference in Quito, Ecuador, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth will co-host an event on Urban Agents of Change: Ensuring the health and wellbeing of adolescents in cities. The event is co-organised by Every Woman Every Child at the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General, Save the Children, and will highlight some of the key challenges faced by adolescents living in cities. It will also highlight key solutions that are included in the New Urban Agenda for improving the health and wellbeing of young people in cities, and further demonstrate how adolescents are themselves critical agents of change to build a more sustainable future.

While cities are home to the world’s wealthiest and healthiest people in a country, they are also home to some of the poorest and most marginalized on Earth. Overcrowding, insecurity, and poor sanitation exist alongside skyscrapers and shopping malls. Even where health care facilities may be only a stone’s throw away, quality services may remain out of reach for the poorest and most marginalized urban dwellers, particularly young people.

There are more than 1.8 billion young people in the world today between the ages of 10 and 24 – the largest youth population ever. These numbers are expected to continue to grow, especially in urban settings, where many young people face challenges in accessing opportunities for education, decent employment, health and civic participation.

The event will also be an opportunity for municipal governments to announce new commitments towards the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, including adolescent health and wellbeing in urban settings, everywhere.

During the event, there will be an interactive panel discussion among governments, civil society, adolescents, UN agencies and private sector representatives to:

  1. Share lessons learnt implementing, measuring, and monitoring effective initiatives and policies in cities with regards to adolescent health and wellbeing;
  2. Raise awareness of issues related to adolescent health and wellbeing in urban settlements, including their importance in addressing maternal, newborn, and child survival;
  3. Discuss implementable solutions, as well as the role of cities in achieving the Global Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Young people will actively participate in the discussion to share their views on challenges and solutions for improving the health and wellbeing of young people in cities.

The event will begin at 4:00 pm local time. Follow @UNYouthEnvoy, @UnfEWEC ,@save_children for live coverage.