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Youth delegate programme

youth delegate programmeParticipation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country's official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.The youth delegate programme is coordinated by the Focal Point on Youth at the global level, but it is the responsibility of the Member States to establish a youth delegate programme at the national level, and to decide who will represent the young people of their country. The roles of a youth representative varies from country to country, but normally includes providing input to their delegation on issues related to youth and participate in their delegation’s general work through attending meetings and informal negotiations.

Youth delegates can participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. Most official youth delegates participate in the General Assembly, but some also attend functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

     PDFGuide to Youth Delegates to the United Nations

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 How to become a youth delegate

Some countries have existing programmes to select youth delegates. You can determine this by looking at the list of former youth delegates of previous years. If your country does not have a programme in place to select a youth delegate, your task will be two-fold:

  • First, you have to convince your country on the importance of having a youth representative in its delegation to the UN General Assembly.
  • And secondly, once they've established the position, you will have to initiate a selection process.

Some steps you may consider include:

  • Determine whether or not your country currently has a youth representative programme. If it does, inquire through your department of foreign affairs or a national youth council about how the application process works.
  • If your country does not currently have a youth representative programme, you will have to lobby to have one created. This can be done most effectively by working in cooperation with existing youth organizations in your country.
  • Sometimes the process may work very quickly, and sometimes it may take a greater effort to have youth delegates become part of government policy.
  • Some steps you might take would include:
    • Write to your minister of foreign affairs (or equivalent), outline the merits of youth delegates, and offer to meet to discuss it further.
    • Contact the Minister for Youth (or equivalent), senior public servants, the Ambassador to the UN, or even the Head of State.
    • You might also try to get letters of endorsement from all of the above, plus key civil society leaders, national and international.
  • After the proposal has been accepted, and a nomination and selection procedure established, the next step would be to apply for the position.

Related resources:

* Contributions from youth delegates and others.

UN CONFERENCES THAT YOUTH CAN PARTICIPATE IN

Youth delegates can participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. Most official youth delegates participate in the General Assembly, but some also attend functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.

Youth delegates to the General Assembly

The Third Committee, the arm of the General Assembly that deliberates on Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Issues.Matters that pertain specifically to youth currently fall under the agenda item called “Social development, including questions relating to the world social situation and to youth, ageing, persons with disabilities and the family”. Generally, this agenda item is considered in the Third Committee of the General Assembly during the month of October, however, this is subject to change based on the annual programmes of work adopted by Member States. The agenda of the General Assembly, including that of its Third Committee, is usually available in late summer at: http://www.un.org/ga.

Youth delegates to the Commission for Social Development (CSocD)

The Commission for Social Development is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The body is in charge of the follow-up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development and meets annually in February for one and a half weeks. It covers key social development themes such as poverty, employment and social integration and the issue of youth falls within the latter.

A youth resolution is traditionally adopted every two years. Typically youth delegates that have been selected for the General Assembly also participate in the Commission for Social Development, since the work of the two bodies is closely interlinked.

The agenda of the Commission for Social Development, is available.

Youth delegates to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) is responsible for reviewing progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development, as well as providing policy guidance to follow up on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) at the local, national, regional and international level. The CSD meets annually in New York during the month of May for two weeks, and is open to both governmental and non-governmental actors. Young people can participate either by being a member of their country’s official delegation, or by representing an NGO through the major group for Children and Youth. Participating NGOs must be in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), including those accredited on the CSD Roster.


Country Profiles for the Youth Delegates PROGRAMMES

AustraliaAustralia

GermanyGermany

Dominican Republic

NetherlandsNetherlands

NorwayNorway

RomaniaRomania

SwedenSweden

SwitzerlandSwitzerland

ThailandThailand