The World Urban Youth Forum is undergoing a transformation, and it will now be called the World Urban Youth Assembly. This change is expected to help the youth to be better placed to meet the needs of an ever changing urban world.
This development follows the successful World Urban Youth Forums held in Vancouver Canada in 2006 and in Nanjing, China in 2008, where the forum bagged a number of achievements, including the adoption by the UN-HABITAT Governing Council of decisions important to the youth, such as resolution 21/6 which facilitated the establishment of a special fund for Urban Youth-Led Development and resolution 22/4, which provided for the Youth Forum to be an integral part of the World Urban Forum.
Although the Youth Forum will now be referred to as the World Urban Youth Assembly, it shall remain an integral part of the World Urban Forum as was agreed by Governments at the 22nd session of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT.
The World Urban Youth Assembly will be launched on March 19, 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, three days prior to the beginning of the Fifth session of the World Urban Forum. It is hoped that in its new format and name, the Forum will not only be more informative and maintain its status as the premier urban youth platform, but be more attuned to the needs of urban youth worldwide.
World Urban Youth Assembly
As in previous years, the World Urban Youth Assembly will be held from the 19 – 20 March 2010, three days prior to the main Forum. This format provides youth with the opportunity to discuss and debate issues important to them, particularly, so that they are able to make meaningful contributions to the larger forum. This format was adopted following a request by youth attending the Second session of the World Urban Forum in Barcelona, Spain, in 2004,that UN-HABITAT involves youth more meaningfully in the proceedings.
Since then, the World Urban Youth Assembly has become the leading global platform for youth to deliberate on urban issues. At the World Urban Forum in Vancouver, youth requested the establishment of a special fund to support youth-led initiatives in pursuance of the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Development Goals. At the 21st Session of the Governing Council in 2007, Governments passed Resolution 21/6 that established the Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development. The fund targets the young people most in need of assistance and in particular the vulnerable youth in urban slums.
At the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, youth strongly emphasized that they wished to both be recognized for their work and expertise in local and international development, and to be included in policy development. Resolution 22/4, which was passed by Governments at the 22nd Session of the Governing Council, encourages governments to give priority and support to youth-led development initiatives and invites multilateral agencies, governments, the private sector and civil society to listen to youth and develop policies on their development based on participatory processes. The resolution further requests the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, to provide the necessary mechanisms for the World Urban Youth Assembly to be recognized as an integral part of the World Urban Forum.
WORLD URBAN YOUTH ASSEMBLY, RIO DE JANEIRO, 2010
The World Urban Youth Assembly from 19 – 20 March 2010 comes at a key time for both urban youth and the global urban population. Cities have become the primary and fastest growing human settlements with over half of humanity living in cities and more notably, one out of every three city dwellers living in a slum. The world is facing an economic, environmental and social crisis not seen in almost a century. The World Urban Youth Assembly is ideally placed to facilitate the meaningful participation of youth in deliberating and determining key actions and policies on such issues as the increase in urban poverty, the growth of slums, unemployment, economic and natural disasters and climate change.
The World Urban Youth Assembly in Rio de Janeiro will continue the momentum brought about by UN-HABITAT and its partners’ work in the area of youth led development. UN-HABITAT has had great success both at the normative and programmatic level in regards to youth, with the successful establishment of the One Stop Youth Resource and We are the Future Centre model pilot projects, and the launch of the multi-year Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development. These projects have both improved the lives of the youth involved as well as given local authorities, national governments and Habitat agenda partners tested models of urban youth development.
The World Urban Youth Assembly in Rio de Janeiro will focus on strategic goals including; becoming the platform for youth to discuss lessons learned from UN-HABITAT and partners’programs in the area of urban youth led development; profiling and disseminating models of urban youth led development developed by UN-HABITAT and its partners; and, becoming a platform for experts and practitioners to deliberate on research, policy and practice as well as lessons learnt on urban youth issues.
By using these goals as a starting point and participating in other World Urban Youth Assembly activities, youth delegates will be better placed to provide input into the discussions and address the World Urban Forum 5 theme of The Right to the City “ Bridging the Urban Divide.
Other youth focused activities during the Fifth session of the World Urban Forum will include: A youth roundtable, a meeting of young councillors, Youth Main-stage (Global Hip-Hop Summit), meeting of the Youth Advisory Board and various networking events.