Starting today, the ICPD Global Youth Forum brings together nearly 1,000 young people, government leaders, advocates, academics, and others together to discuss and make recommendations regarding the most pressing issues facing young people. Nearly 50 percent of the world’s population is under 25 years old—the largest generation ever of young people—and it is clear their needs and human rights must be front and center of international and national efforts to secure a just and prosperous future for all.
The discussions at the Global Youth Forum are intended to feed into the review of the ICPD Programme of Action, or the “ICPD Beyond 2014,” review process. The outcome document and recommendations that emerge from this forum have the potential to influence larger discussions among world leaders about global development priorities beginning in 2015, after the current Millennium Development Goals expire. The International Women’s Health Coalition and our partners are working to ensure that the new development agenda includes targets to help young people achieve a healthy, safe, educated, and empowered future.
In preparation for the meeting, I am participating in a two-day expert workshop facilitated by UNFPA along with approximately 70 young people, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. Together, we will be the backbone of the meeting in terms of facilitating, rapporteuring, and ensuring that the outcome document developed captures the various recommendations gleaned from the more than 75 small group or “World Café” breakout sessions that will take place throughout the December 3 – 6 meeting on five different themes (Staying Healthy, Comprehensive Education, Sexuality, Family and Rights, Transition to Decent Work, and Leadership and Meaningful Participation).
I am consistently impressed with the level of expertise, poise, and passion of the youth leaders from around the world who are driving this process, and I look forward to finding as many ways as possible to support them in their leadership roles throughout the forum so that specific, meaningful, and visionary recommendations are developed during the breakout sessions.
If you are not one of the 1,000 participants at the forum in Bali, Indonesia, this week, fret not, there are still many ways in which you can articulate your ideas and opportunities to make progress on a range of issues impacting young people in your community. Go here to find out more and make sure you follow and take part in the conversations taking place on Twitter through #icpdyouth.