That Christmass Post!
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This is that Christmas post that is written in sort of a reflective manner! I am currently on holiday in the coast of Kenya but decided to take some time and look at what happened in the year. This not entirely my review of 2013, well not entirely, it is one of those post you compose in that reflective mood. All in all, I hope your holiday is coming on well and as you read this post, please spare sometimes later and have some fun! I recommend it!
2013 was that year when youth participation got the global attention it deserved, the progress made by youth advocates all over the world has been magnificent. Some critics might however argue that the advancements made have not been enough to guarantee us a sit at the negotiation table on all issues development especially matters security. But that aside, the main issue is that progress has been made and it needs to be celebrated.
For me, this whole journey and huge interest in international development got serious after the the ICPD Global Youth Forum In December 2012 last year; the experience that changed my life, and it is not because I was flying for the first time. Haha. The main reason was that I got to interact with a lot of passionate young people who were taking the whole issue of youth participation extremely serious. Some a bit too serious... The Bali experience was immediately followed by another meeting on the post 2015 development agenda in Nairobi, Kenya. Here, using the knowledge and passion gained, I critically engaged other African youth representatives and we developed the African Youth Declaration on The Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Come 2013 we hit the ground running advocating for the input from the two critical youth meetings. But I was largely involved in the campaigns for the African youth declaration to be taken up by the High Level Panel in their consultative meetings and their final recommendations to the UN Secretary General. I cannot say we were successful, well we were not , because when the UNSG finally released his highly anticipated report he largely left out youth issues and primarily focused on the issues of poverty in general. But then, if you think of it critically, we ended up getting the youth envoy.
All these efforts aside, there is something I took away from all my 2013 engagements. It is not about the space for participation but more about the issues we need captured. I think we have had enough calls for youth participation through the various youth platforms. The MGCY, YOUNGO and all other youth accredited platforms should start focusing on youth issues that go further than participation. We need to also formulate our own development agendas as youth. I would like to see a set of development goals that are purely youth focused, something like the MDGs but now purely focued on youth.
I hope 2014 it offers even greater space and opportunities for youth, more competence and more youth lifted out of poverty, ignorance and unemployment!