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Process Cluster 5- The UN Commission on the Status of Women

The UN Advocacy Team did not participate fully in the 58th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) because of the fact that Chris was living in Sri Lanka at the time and the team was more focused on SDG and post-2015 matters.  Nevertheless, the team did conduct an online consultation with the movement in preparation for Pax Romana’s policy submission for CSW  and Chris Malano, the former Secretary General of IMCS, was in New York liaising with ICMYO partners, namely the YWCA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), and helping other youth with their advocacy.  As mentioned previously in this report, the team is focusing much less on ECOSOC commissions like the CSW and putting much more energy into post-2015 and related processes.  For further reading, the agreed conclusions of the CSW are available online.

 

Process Cluster 6- Youth Development and ICMYO:

On the youth policy front, the UN Advocacy Team has taken the lead within ICMYO to push for a stronger UN youth development agenda.  Besides the aforementioned resolutions in the UNGA and ECOSOC, the team has been at the forefront of every youth-related discussion at the UN.  Since this topic intersects with many of the others, it is broken down according to the relevant organization or body with which the UN Advocacy Team has worked.

ICMYO:

 At the ICMYO Annual Meeting (AM) in New York in the fall of 2013, the UN Advocacy Team was eager to help lay the foundation for a stronger, more cohesive ICMYO.  As a founding member of ICMYO, the team believed it was important for ICMYO to continue to grow into the premiere network of the world’s greatest youth movements.  As a result, when the reformation of the ICMYO Guidelines was being negotiated by the leaders of the ICMYO members present at the meeting, the team  was clear with ICMYO colleagues that the only way forward was to create a stronger, more evolved ICMYO.  Together with the IMCS President, who was present at the meeting, the UN Advocacy Team helped write the new Guidelines and paved the way for the start of the formalization of ICMYO.  Also during that meeting, IMCS returned to the ICMYO Task Force and was soon after appointed to be the official ICMYO Liaison to the UN.

The UN Advocacy Team also participated in several other important ICMYO meetings throughout 2014, over and above the monthly ICMYO Task Force calls.  After the World Conference on Youth  (WCY) in Sri Lanka, the UN Advocacy Team, joined by the IMCS Pan-African Coordinator and other IMCS members from various national movements, helped lead an ad hoc ICMYO meeting.  Chris presided over the meeting and team members took notes during the session.  This meeting was important as it allowed ICMYO to reflect on its deep, often problematic, participation in the planning of the WCY, as well as continue its drive to increase the number of organizations that have ratified the new ICMYO Guidelines.

At the start of September 2014, the UN Advocacy Team traveled to London to participate in the ICMYO Task Force meeting, which was hosted by the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY).  At this meeting, the team once again took a leading role and delivered a report on its work as ICMYO Liaison to the UN.  Also, the Task Force planned the next ICMYO AM and prepared for a number of relevant meetings that were happening at the end of 2014.  Finally, the Task Force reviewed a number of applications for ICMYO membership and decided how to best proceed with either their acceptance or rejection.

In October 2014, directly after the First Global Forum on Youth Policies in Baku, Azerbaijan, the UN Advocacy Team participated in the 2014 ICMYO AM.  During this meeting, ICMYO dedicated itself to a number of thematic and substantive areas that would be the focus of collective ICMYO advocacy.  Also at this meeting, several new members joined ICMYO, including the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY),  the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), and the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). 

Several other organizations also joined as associate members, including the European Students’ Forum (AEGEE).  Moreover, this AM was significant because it was the first time the ICMYO Task Force was elected, as per the new ICMYO Guidelines.  At the time of the election, IMCS, along with the European Youth Forum (YFJ), received the most votes.  This is a testament to the hard work of the movement and the UN Advocacy Team in terms of it work with other youth-led organizations.

The 2014-2015 ICMYO Task Force consists of: 

1.         IMCS

2.         YFJ

3.         International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA)

4.         World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

5.         AIESEC

6.         World Alliance of YMCAs (WAYMCA)

7.         World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO)

UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development:

The UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), according to its website, consists of “UN entities, represented at the headquarters level, whose work is relevant to youth.  The aim of the Network is to increase the effectiveness of UN work in youth development by strengthening collaboration and exchange among all relevant UN entities, while respecting and harnessing the benefits of their individual strengths and unique approaches and mandates.”   Although the UN Advocacy Team works directly with many IANYD members, it has, on multiple occasions, worked with them collectively, particularly when it comes to planning panels, side events, and larger, more major events. 

 In 2013, the UN Advocacy Team participated in an open meeting hosted by the IANYD about the UN System Wide Action Plan (SWAP) on Youth.   This meeting gathered young people from around the world, as well as youth-led organizations, ICMYO, and the MGCY, to discuss and collect inputs on the formal work plan of the IANYD, which is contained in the SWAP.  The Youth SWAP is the document that guides the programming work of the IANYD members and is a major aspect of their engagement with youth-led organizations.  During this meeting, the team helped lead a number of sessions and helped draft a response to the SWAP itself.  Currently, the Youth SWAP is being reworked by the IANYD and it is likely that further youth inputs will be requested

UNDESA:

As the permanent co-chair of the IANYD, the UN Focal Point on Youth, which falls under the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Division of Social Policy and Development (DSPD), is ultimately the central player in the youth policy field.  As a result, the UN Advocacy Team  has made every effort to have a strong relationship with the UN Focal Point on Youth.  For the most part, the team works with the Focal Point on Youth to help train and guide the UN Youth Delegates while they are in New York.  Moreover, as the technical team that prepares all relevant resolutions on youth in the UNGA and ECOSOC, the UN Advocacy Team is always ready to provide inputs to these resolutions once negotiations begin.

ECOSOC Youth Forum:

The 2014 ECOSOC Youth Forum took place in June at the UN.  The forum was a two-day event that was divided into four sessions: Promoting Youth Employment – Creating Decent Jobs for a More Sustainable Future, Advancing progress in Africa beyond 2015, Youth: The Future They Want Beyond 2015, and the “Road Map:” Youth and the 2015 Development Summit.  The UN Advocacy Team played mostly a support role during the forum, especially for ICMYO.  Statements were delivered on behalf of ICMYO and the MGCY outlining positions in regards to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  Here, the team helped with the preparation of these statements and assisted with advocacy around these position.

The Commonwealth Youth Program:

The UN Advocacy Team has been engaging with the Commonwealth Youth Program (CYP) for over a year.  Since then, Chris was invited to the 2013 Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) in Sri Lanka, a sub-meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).  Moreover, the UN Advocacy Team continues to work with the CYP within the framework of youth-related post-2015 advocacy.  During the 2013 UNGA, the team, as part of the MGCY, helped plan a side event to launch the CYP’s Youth Development Index (YDI).   Chris spoke on the panel, and discussed the work of IMCS on the WPAY indicators in 2007.  Interestingly enough, the launch of the YDI helped bring youth movements and older person advocacy organizations together.  By comparing the YDI with the HelpAge International’s Global Age Watch Index , the MGCY and age organizations published a joint paper that detailed how age can be better mainstreamed throughout the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

In June 2014, the CYP organized a meeting to discuss the creation of new youth development indicators for the WPAY and the overall post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  Thanks to the experiences of the UN Advocacy Team with the development of indicators for the measurement of the implementation of the WPAY in 2007, the CYP invited Chris to this meeting in London as an expert on youth and post-2015 policy.  At this meeting, a number of UN agencies were present, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as well as representatives of other youth-led movements, and youth-friendly Member States, like Brazil and Sri Lanka.  Chris led sessions on indicators pertaining to youth in conflict and violence.

Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth:

The UN Advocacy Team has fostered a very positive relationship with the Office of the UNSG’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) on behalf of IMCS, ICMYO, and the MGCY.  This has culminated in the inclusion of IMCS, ICMYO, and the MGCY in a number of projects, programs, and events hosted by the OSGEY.  The current Envoy, Ahmed Alhendawi, is especially close to the members of the UN Advocacy Team, which means that the team is very often on the Envoy’s mind whenever he is in need of advice or consultation from youth-led organizations.  The OSGEY was established in 2013 and began working on a number of projects throughout that year and 2014. 

One of the major projects of the OSGEY is the Global Youth Call, which endeavored to gather youth positions on the Post-2015 Development Agenda from around the world.  This massive online crowdsourcing platform became a critical input into the post-2015 process.  It covered a number of thematic areas, like governance, health, and employment.  The UN Advocacy Team was asked to take the lead on the governance theme on behalf of ICMYO.  Working with UNDP and Restless Development, the UN Advocacy Team helped guide the work of ICMYO and collected the many inputs young people made on the topic of governance.  The team also did some work on the employment theme as it was the MGCY that was tasked to take the lead there.  The Global Youth Call  was officially released at the 2013 ECOSOC Youth Forum. 

Another major program of the OSGEY was the First Global Forum on Youth Policies in October 2013 in Baku, Azerbaijan.  The Forum brought together youth ministers, youth practitioners, youth activists, representatives of UN and government entities, and youth-led organizations in an attempt to review youth policies on all levels and share best practices in the field of youth policy and development.  The UN Advocacy Team played a leading role in the planning of this event.  It helped the OSGEY in the selection of youth speakers and panellists and also facilitated the participation of ICMYO organizations and the MGCY.  During the event itself, Chris co-moderated two sessions on youth participation with UNDP.  Although the Forum did not produce a negotiated outcome, it created commitments and a way a forward for youth policy on all levels , including the beginning of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action on Youth (WPAY).

UN-HABITAT

The UN Advocacy Team resuscitated ICMYO’s relationship with UN-HABITAT’s Youth Unit.  This has lead to a number of opportunities for IMCS and ICMYO organizations, namely around the progress of the Youth 21 initiative.  UN-HABITAT asked the UN Advocacy Team to spearhead the creation of an ICMYO Advisory Board on Youth 21.  This body, which consists of a number of ICMYO organizations with IMCS at the lead, is acting as the youth voice around the further development of Youth 21. 

This ICMYO Advisory Board played a central role in a meeting hosted by UN-HABITAT called the Asker Conference on Youth and Governance in Asker, Norway in November 2014.  This meeting brought together the ministers of youth of Nigeria and Somalia, as well as leading members of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development of Sri Lanka and the youth desk of President Dilmah Rousseff of Brazil.  The UN Advocacy Team, along with the other ICMYO organizations, lead panel discussions and sessions on youth participation and the role of youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.  The team also helped draft the Asker Communique, which summarized the outcome of the meeting and the political commitments of the participants going forward.

UNIDO

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was the co-chair of the IANYD for 2014.  Its term ends in March 2015.  Although UNIDO does not have a great number of programs focusing on youth, especially based out of the New York office, the UN Advocacy Team maintained a close relationship with the youth specialists in this UN entity. 

UNDP

The UN Advocacy Team has entered into a strong relationship with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), especially with its new youth policy specialist based in New York.  Since UNDP was one of the hosts of the Global Youth Policies Forum in Baku, the team has gained much from this relationship and will be able to play a role in future events of this type.  Moreover, UNDP will take over as co-chair of the IANYD for 2015 beginning in March.  This means that the UN Advocacy Team will certainly continue to play a central role in the work of the IANYD.


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