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WORLD URBAN FORUM DIALOGUES

In the run up to, and during the sixth edition of the World Urban Forum, we invite you to join the global dialogue on ‘all things urban’. This dialogue is centred around four key thematic areas:

  • Productive Cities
  • Urban Planning
  • Equity and Prosperity of Cities
  • Sustainable Cities

Via Youth 21, we are especially interested in spearing the dialogue to highlight the role of youth worldwide in contributing and shaping the Urban Future. We invite you to share your thoughts, pose new questions and interact with other like-minded people. We are looking to discuss issues such as:

Join us today, as we converse,collaborate and collectively share insights and ideas on the Urban Future.

Youth Statement of the 6th World Urban Forum 2012.

Statement by the youth at the concluding session of the sixth World Urban Forum (WUF) on 5th September 2012.

Safira De La Sala, representing the Latin America and the Caribbean region at the UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board, presenting the final youth statement at the closing of the World Urban Forum 6 in Naples.

There are 3 billion youth in the world. Over 80% of these youth live in developing countries and by 2030 over 60% will live in urban societies. This ‘youth bulge’ will be the critical factor in shaping our urban future. Successful urban development will be won or lost based on youth participation.

Young people remain disengaged from the process of city planning and decision making. Decisions are routinely made without sufficient participation. We want to be heard and want to be heard in powerful ways. We are active stakeholders who need to participate. Together we have a role in ensuring that our urban future is a bright and prosperous one.

First, we acknowledge the support of UN HABITAT for young people, in the establishment of the World Urban Youth Assembly at the World Urban Forum (Resolution GC/22/4, 2009). The 2012 Assembly in Naples, Italy highlighted the important contribution of young people in education, climate change, employment and land issues in urban areas. We ask UN-Habitat to commit to giving young people an active role in shaping the agenda and format of future World Urban Youth Assemblies, and leading panels and discussions to ensure that more young people are part of the road map of our collective urban future.

Secondly, the Urban Youth Fund is a fantastic example of support for youth-led projects. We acknowledge the support of the Government of Norway and call on for further support from other governments, the private sector and habitat agenda partners. Furthermore, we emphasize that the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) has a role in communicating the outcomes to the wider youth community. We ask UN Habitat to promote these projects, as a catalyst for further youth empowerment, through the YAB and other youth communication channels including the global youth help desk.

The outcomes of the youth assembly include the following:

EMPLOYMENT
We ask that youth be recognized as assets and capable citizens, unhindered by age or relative inexperience.

Youth are leading the way in technology adoption. ICT will be key to providing new opportunities, and we request acknowledgement that youth can contribute to increasing government capacity and technological ability.

We also urge UN-Habitat to support youth entrepreneurship. Young people around the world are already solving their own problems however further support is required to ensure sustainability.

CLIMATE CHANGE
Youth are one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change. Young people are already leading the way in disaster preparedness and response mechanisms. We ask UN-HABITAT to partner with us and further our collective efforts in both contexts. We seek recognition of youth efforts and support in providing a sound evidence basis for further work.

EDUCATION
Quality education is an essential component for responsible citizenship.

To ensure youth engagement and improvement in education, more research needs to be undertaken by youth, for youth. Further, a standard that recognises youth-friendly monitoring practices, including social media, are required to provide a sound evidence basis for youth-led education initiatives. Informal learning is critical to the knowledge sharing process.

Communication is key to education initiatives, and the way in which we share knowledge needs to be accommodating of local context.

Moreover, as most young people don’t have access to land, we ask UN-Habitat to improve education of young people on land rights, and on the use of land beyond a commodity.

LAND
Youth relationship to land is dynamic and conventional models of land tenure and use of public space are increasingly less relevant.

We urge that youth be meaningfully engaged in city governance and other initiatives like the World Urban Campaign, geared towards creating safe and sustainable cities. We also urge UN-Habitat to engage with the Youth Advisory Board, and youth groups, in its programs that address infrastructure. We, the urban youth, need sustainable, affordable and accessible mobility choices, that do not harm the environment nor our fellow urban citizens. We, as young people commit to making sustainable choices on use of the environment with urban spaces.

Youth need safe and accessible public open spaces, affordable and sustainable transportation, housing needs, and involving youth in decision making around infrastructure. The needs of disabled youth must be taken into account when designing, building and upgrading infrastructure.

We urge UN Habitat to recognize and highlight the concerns of the urban indigenous youth and to acknowledge the realities that indigenous youth face in an urban context. Indigenous youth, globally, share common perspectives and specific needs which should be discussed at international tables and forums to further policy implementation processes, research agendas, and to add to areas of program development.

The UN-Habitat Global Land Tools Network already acknowledges the need for youth tools and training in relation to land. There is a role for youth to take part in communicating, piloting and upscaling the Social Tenure Domain Model, in particular enabling community input and feedback. Other models for managing and enforcing legitimate land relationships will also be important.
To conclude, it needs to be recognised that youth are not a homogeneous category and thus a mix of solutions are required that address this.

Given the platform of knowledge established at the World Urban Youth Assembly, we ask UN-Habitat to commit to giving young people an active role in planning for Habitat III in 2016. We ask that young people are not only involved as participants at the meeting, but also have an active role in shaping the agenda.

Furthermore, we acknowledge that UN-Habitat, with support from the UN Interagency Network on Youth Development, developed and prepared a report called Youth 21: Building an Architecture for Youth Engagement in the UN System and undertook multi-sectoral consultations to assure that all sectors were consulted. We ask for continued support from UN-Habitat to strengthen this initiative. As part of this architecture, we strongly support the Secretary General’s creation of a Special Advisor on Youth. We would encourage the Secretary General to involve young people in the selection of the special advisor and to appoint the advisor at his earliest convenience. We as well support the creation of a Permanent Forum on Youth as further mechanism to engage youth globally.

Finally, with all expectations come responsibilities. Youth are committed globally to ensuring the success of our urban future. We as young people commit to taking the necessary steps and engaging various stakeholders in this process of sustainable urbanisation for the betterment of our urban future.

Draft team:
UN-HABITAT Youth Advisory Board members,

together with:
Samuel Bowstead (Australia)
Lise Weltzien (Norway)
Kate Fairlie (Australia)
Eva-Maria Unger (Austria)
Joao Felipe Scarpelini (Brazil)
Andrea Landry (Canada)
Lorena Garvey (Canada)

 

The Challenge and Promise of Youth-Led Development

The Challenge and the Promise of Youth-led Development is the first report in the Global
Youth-Led Development series, and it provides an analysis of both formal and informal youth-led initiatives. Based on a multi-year, web-based survey that gathered information about more
than 600 youth-led initiatives, the report gives unique insight to how grassroots youth-led
projects emerge, what kinds of social or developmental issues they address, and what they
need to be successful. The report suggests some lessons learned about potential strategies for
supporting youth-led community development, along with recommendations for continued
learning about the best ways to harness the power of youth-led initiatives in making a
positive difference in their communities.

Below is a summary of key findings.Access the full survey here.

Youth-led development (YLD) is a term first made popular by Peacechild International to reflect a faith in the power of young people to contribute constructively to the good of society. YLD places youth at the centre of their own and their communities’ development, moving youth from passive receptors of development, to agents of positive change.

The Five Principles of Youth Led Development.
1. Youth define their own development goals and objectives;
2. Youth have a social and physical space to participate in development and to be regularly consulted;
3. Adult mentorship and peer-to-peer mentorship are encouraged;
4. Youth act as role models to help other youth engage in development; and
5. Youth are integrated into all local and national development programs and frameworks.

UN-Habitat, as one of the UN agencies at the center of youth voice and empowerment, has developed funding, program and research initiatives that aim to support the authentic engagement of young people in youth-led development (YLD), using the above principles as a guide for practice.

Some youth responses:

“In an era where most employers want to see relevant working experience as part of their recruitment policy, volunteerism can be a stepping-stone towards meeting some of these
demands. The youths involved in youth-led initiatives learn invaluable project management, fund-raising and leadership skills, build self-esteem and self-confidence, all of which hugely boost their future employment chances.” (Ghana)

Those who can bring about freedom where it is absent and
justice where it is denied are chiefly young people. Freedom
and justice is a patient and often-difficult struggle that requires the strength, sacrifice, rigor and fortitude of young people to be attained.” (Nigeria)

The generation of youth in Azerbaijan are the main hope for
a transition from a post-Soviet mindset to a country skilled
in world economics and open business practices. We need to
become involved, engaged, and employed in order to rise to
the needs of our country.” (Azerbaijan)

The youth are a renewable and sustainable resource, [and] if
mobilized, can really change the world.” (Haiti)

The youth need to learn to take responsibility and initiative
at a young age. This will better prepare them for their future
pursuits, and help set them on the right path.  It also provides trainings and builds a skilled generation that is ready to
take on whatever challenges may face them.  This is especially
important in terms of environmental work, seeing as climate
change along with other rising problems continue to build
momentum, and we need to work collectively to combat these
changes, and ensure a sustainable future.”  (Norway)

The nearly 600 youth-led development initiatives shared by participants in this survey revealed some interesting patterns and trends, and at the same time, raised additional questions that can only be answered with more dialogue and exploration.  There are certainly some lessons that
can be taken away, along with recommendations for continued learning about the best ways to harness the power of youth-led initiatives and to more effectively support their work on behalf of communities.

Lesson #1: Complexity is good.

Based on the youth-led development initiatives represented in this research project, certain issues
appear throughout the world to be common issues of concern among youth: livelihood, youth civic engagement, the environment, and HIV/AIDS.

The need for jobs for the ever-increasing youth population was by far the greatest concern, and how youth approached the issue of preparation for employment and ultimately securing a job often showed creativity and innovation.

It was not uncommon to see groups working to address an issue that, clearly, they were passionate
about, or that had personally affected their lives, while building in an entrepreneurial component
that would create opportunities for income.

What was not clear was the genesis:  did young people get involved in social issues, and then try to
create the work opportunity? Or did they try to create a work opportunity and then tie it to an issue of concern? Whichever direction, the evidence showed that these youth were not afraid of complexity; it was not uncommon to see multiple goals, or to see initiatives with both an issue focus (for example, environmental protection) and an implementation focus (for example, income-generating schemes).

Lesson #2: (Some) Support is Necessary.

Youth-led initiatives do not operate in a vacuum, nor do they operate without at least some kinds of
outside supports. For the initiatives that participated in this survey, the need for financial support was a common theme. Some described initiatives in the very early stages, suggesting that  “nancial support was needed to fully launch; others had been in operation for longer, but talked about the need for funding to expand their scope and scale.

One of the important ways that participants want to be supported—by both adults and by more experienced peers—is through training and ongoing learning. A space in which to run project activities, and people to help implement those activities, are two other important supports in the operation of these youth-led development initiatives.

Lesson #3: Youth-Led Initiatives Make Strategic Sense

 Responses clearly showed was that the reasons for supporting youth-led initiatives are both
varied and convincing. The benefits of youth-led initiatives are multi-faceted (from skills building to addressing real needs, to building democracy and social justice). Further, the beneficiaries of youth-led development initiatives are also varied. Clearly, young people benefit, particularly from the real-world skills building, leadership development and preparation for work that they saw themselves receiving as a result of their participation.

However, it was equally clear that survey participants recognized the benefits of youth-led initiatives
for others, both for specific segments of the population (according to the initiative’s focus) and for the community in general (as they observe the ripple effects of their work).  In fact, many suggested that the community’s needs were so great that solving them would only be possible by the inclusion of the community’s largest demographic, the youth themselves.
Rather than the idea that “youth can help” (that is, youth can contribute to what adults are accomplishing), participants suggested that the community cannot do it without youth (that is, adults cannot be successful without the involvement of young people).

Youth-led initiatives also make strategic sense because of what youth are uniquely capable of bringing to the table, from energy and idealism, to specific knowledge and experience that adults lack, to abundant passion for the work, and for their communities.

Conclusion:

Much of the research on youth—in both “developed” and “developing” countries focuses on the
developmental needs of young people (that is, the process of supporting young people in developing into capable, contributing adults), rather than on focusing on the resources and assets that youth bring into a community development context.

“Youth” is often seen as an issue to be addressed, rather than an asset to be included in the process of creating solutions for the issues facing communities. Language such as “youth bulge” or “youth at risk” focus on the deficits of young people.  By contrast, the youth who shared their stories of engagement and initiatives through this survey clearly show “youth at promise,” actively engaged citizens, making a positive difference in their communities.

What do you consider key challenges and promises to youth-led development? Share with us in the comments section below.

YOUTH ROUNDTABLE – Our Urban Future: Youth-led Development

Youth Roundtable                                                                                                                                                              

OUR URBAN FUTURE: YOUTH-LED DEVELOPMENT

AMARTYA SEN’S CAPABILITY APPROACH 

Time: 09:00 – 11:30            

Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Venue: Teatro Mediterraneo, Sala Italia

Proposed Activities

The Youth Roundtable will explore Amartya Sen’s capability approach through the lens of projects currently on the ground in communities around the world. Projects includes how youth face Evictions in Zimbabwe; Livelihoods for Fisherwomen youth in the slums of Pakistan; Youth led Urban farming in Nepal, Egypt’s youth movements for political transitions, Inter-cultural dialogues for peace in Macedonia, and Youth led social movements for more democracy, we will explore the policies that promote a governance framework for sustainable development. The participatory roundtable is designed to enable a youth-led process to overturn the barriers that determine how the youth addressed their capability short falls and to inspire rich conversation between young people, research institutions, and the private sector, and government and UN officials.

Moderator:

Ms. Jane Samuels, Editor and Author, Removing Unfreedoms: Citizens as Agents of Change in Urban Development,

UN-Habitat’s Urban Youth Fund Project Coordinators Experiences

1. Tayiona Sanangurai – Young Voices Network (Evictions) – Zimbabwe

2. Khalida Brohi – Fisherwomen and Girls Livelihoods – Pakistan

3. B. K Dalit – Youth-led Urban Farming in Slums – Nepal

Young voices from around the World

4. Shimri Zameret - Youth and the Occupy Movement – Palestine/Israel

5. Rana Gabe – Youth Aware of their National Accountability – Egypt

6. Stefan Manevski – Intercultural Peace, using internet radio – Macedonia

Panel of expert respondents

  1. Prof. Marco Musella: Dean of Political Sciences, University of Naples
  2. Ms. Jane Samuels
  3. Jean-Hugues Hermant, Managing Director, Projection Network

Background

Over the last ten years there has been growing agreement in academic literature that Amartya Sen’s capability approach is a critical tool to empower urban youth to change the realities they face in cities around the world. The instruments that Amartya Sen identifies in his book Development as Freedom, defines a comprehensive set of principles that underpin an “ever expanding freedom.”

This approach necessitates a renewed focus on increasing the capabilities of young people to secure their long term well-being and be active agents of change. If young people are not actively involved in the decision-making processes of development of their potential, they remain excluded from shaping their futures and the future of cities around the world.

The Youth Roundtable will present three of UN-HABTAT’s Urban Youth Fund Projects as examples of Youth led urban development from around the Globe with a focus on the youth’s innovative approaches that are working to remedy many issues of their exclusion from all sectors of development.

Outline of the Roundtable and related Debates:

The Roundtable will be organised into two sessions and a final open question session:

Panel Discussion 1   

Introductions to the Amartya Sen’s capability approach and governance through the presentation of innovative youth led projects funded by the Urban Youth Fund and others. The youth will discuss their projects in relation to inclusion, empowerment and urban futures.

Panel Discussion 2

Experts will provide questions in response to the presentations in order to explore   current policies, the need for government reforms and next steps.

Open discussions
Formulating a youth led governance framework for urban development with indicators of increased capability for youth to be the agents of change to live the life they value and contribute to their urban futures.

UN-Habitat Urban Youth Fund

This fund promotes Urban Youth-Led Development solutions to address the poverty reduction aims of Millennium Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda for better, more sustainable and equitable towns and cities throughout the developing world. It provides grants of up to $25,000 for new ideas and solutions for job creation, good governance, adequate shelter and secure tenure.

Applicant organizations must be led by young people aged 15-32 years and be based in cities or towns in developing countries to qualify for a grant. Support will be provided primarily for those working to improve slum conditions and to raise opportunities for young people growing up in poverty. Projects encouraging gender equality or involving partnerships with the government or the private sector are particularly encouraged

Website: http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=637

WUF 6 Gender Assembly: The Huairou Commission

WUF6 | Huairou Commission International Delegation of Women Arrives in Naples, Holds Multi-Stakeholder Academy 
Last week, the women of the Huairou Commission’s international delegation to WUF6 arrived in Naples for UN-HABITAT’s 6th World Urban Forum, which kicked off on Sunday, September 2, with the day-long Gender Equality Action Assembly. The Forum will last through September 7. Our delegation of 56 women represents 12 countries, and joins over 3,000 other participants from 114 countries to engage in discussions and presentations addressing this year’s theme, “The Urban Future.”
We are proud to provide a list of our delegates below and their full biographies available online.
  delegates2
Historically, Huairou Commission has been a lead partner with UN-HABITAT for gender-related events at the World Urban Forum, bringing women from the grassroots, civil society, professional, academic and government circles together to one table to collaboratively ensure that women’s realities are integrated into urban planning and policy. This year is no different, as our delegates gathered in order to consolidate their expertise in community-driven, bottom-up development practices. Their expertise is based on practical experience and community organizing in cities as diverse as Napoli, Nairobi, Rome, Dhaka, New York, Recife, Pompeii, Istanbul, Lima, Manila, Prague, Los Angeles and Kingston. They are prepared to insert the needs and perspectives of grassroots women and their communities into discussions about cities and corruption, urban design & planning, economic empowerment, governance, fostering innovation, land and housing rights, and other issues at the forefront of the urban dialogue today.
Participants of the Women’s International Multi-Stakeholder Academy, Organized by Huairou Commission, GROOTS International, Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca Federico II University of Architecture (LUPT) and Ass. Sott’e’Ncoppa/Lilith Centri Antiviolenza 
In preparation for every World Urban Forum, the Huairou Commission hosts International Grassroots Women’s Academies; this year, we organized the Academy entitled
“Women’s Multi-Stakeholder International Academy”, which took place from August 29-31. The Academy delved into community-led mechanisms for inclusion as primary stakeholders in urban policy and planning at all levels – from the grassroots to the global– and culminated in a Partner Dialogue Day. A final document with our complete recommendations is now available online
For more information about this year’s World Urban Forum, you can visit the official website, access the official WUF6 Programme, and check out our Women at WUF6 website. Additionally, the official Huairou Commission WUF6 agenda is available online to follow the events in which our delegation will be involved.
Please see the flyers below to find out more about this year’s events organized by Huairou Commission at WUF:
September 4

Youth And Land: What’s Your Story?

The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is an alliance of global regional and national partners   contributing to poverty alleviation through land reform, improved land management and security of tenure particularly through the development and dissemination of pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tools.

At the sixth World Urban Forum, GLTN are keen on addressing the intersection of youth, urbanization and land. One of the key sessions they facilitated during the World Urban Youth Assembly was titled: ‘Equitable access to land – Strengthening youth engagement in
providing tenure security for all‘.

Powered by a scoping study, ‘TOWARDS A YOUTH AGENDA FOR
THE GLOBAL LAND TOOL NETWORK’, here are some key takeouts:

Despite the increasing visibility of youth in the sustainable development and urbanisation discourse, their role within the land sector is unclear. While property rights and economic opportunities are expanding for youth, land is largely seen as an adult privilege. Part of the resistance to improving youth access to land stems from the construction of ‘youth‘ as a problematic, transitional and ill-defined category. Dominant attitudes expect youth to wait until adulthood before asserting their land rights. Alternatively, youth are expected to access land through adults or compete in the skewed land markets.

The following five questions were posed to youth(during the study):

a) Why or how is land important to youth?
b) Do youth face more obstacles (as compared to adults) in accessing land? If so what are
these obstacles?
c) What must be done to strengthen land rights of young people (including young women)?
d) How can youth contribute to developing more effective land tools and strategies?
e) Are you aware of any best practices, where youth have been successful in improving their
secure tenure or land rights?

Youth Responses:

a) Why or how is land important to youth?

There is consensus among youth respondents that land is at least as important to youth as it is to
adults. It facilitates shelter, underpins livelihoods and is a guarantor of a broad range of rights and
opportunities for youth.  Virtually every youth activity depends directly or indirectly on access to land.

Young women living in landless households are more prone to violence, starvation and discrimination

The young contributors highlighted lack of security of tenure as one of the most contentious issues
facing youth. Denial of land rights or land reforms bypassing youth trigger conflicts with youth in the
forefront as rebels and victims. Discrimination against youth on land is cited as one of the main
reasons for social crimes among youth and instability.

Landlessness among rural youth is a primary cause for migration to urban areas, and in turn to urban unemployment and crime.

b) What are the obstacles to youth land access?

A key observation made by the majority of youth respondents is that scarcity of land is not the
primary constraint but rather the prejudices and social attitudes towards youth.

Land is considered an adult issue, particularly under traditional systems where holders of customary land rights arrogate the right to manage all the lands to the exclusion of young people.

The four main obstacles to youth access to land are:

  • lack of social and legal recognition of youth land rights,
  • skewed land markets,
  • threats to their inheritance and
  • red tape and corruption.

Youth point out that land laws and policies ignore youth land rights leading to their marginalisation.  They believe that with high youth unemployment and low wages, youth do not have enough savings and purchasing power. The only way most youth (males particularly) access land is through inheritance but poverty is forcing parents to sell their lands for survival.  Youth are often intimidated and do not have the influence or experience in negotiating the opaque and corrupt land administration systems.

c) How to strengthen youth land rights?

The four main recommendations for strengthening land rights are :

  • youth responsive land laws and policies,
  • youth awareness and empowerment,
  • economic incentives/ support and
  • capacity building for sustainable land rights.

Youth want land laws and policies to be reviewed to ensure that youth rights are strengthened in practice. They argue that awareness of youth rights and youth empowerment
should be part of national plans with supporting budgets and confront socio-cultural biases against
youth.

Specifically, women and other vulnerable categories must be included. Youth  poverty and
unemployment are core issues to be tabled in tackling youth homelessness and landlessness. Youth seek support and incentives in accessing land and housing, particularly through easier loans and procedures. They are also promoting the need for training in land management and sustainable use.
d) How can youth contribute to tool development?

Youth do not see land as either an adult or even a youth-driven issue. Instead they are proposing that land be seen as an intergenerational issue but providing space to youth.  They welcome methodologies which include other age cohorts including children and older persons  given the inter-linkages.

Youth already partner governments, civil society, private sector and professionals in other sectors and see no problem in being part of the land tooling process.
They see it as an opportunity to contribute their particular skills as well as learn through the multistakeholder process.  The basis of all dialogue should be mutual respect and confidence among generations and different stakeholders. At the same time, many youth are seeking training and capacity in order that they may fully participate in the dialogue. They are afraid of tokenism of youth and propose that youth be involved at all levels and in all stages of the tool development work.

e) What are the youth-led best practices?

While youth recognise that best practices on youth-led land initiatives or land tools were needed,
these were not easily available. Several youth participants in this survey said they did not have youth best practices on land at hand, but nevertheless reported good ideas or projects underway, in addition to the earlier discussions.

Examples include reclaiming land from corporate investors for poor, training for youth on land ownership, management and use, including, young barefoot lawyers or micro-credit schemes for youth to successfully develop their land. Examples of positive experiences cited by the youth respondents fell into five categories – Advocacy on land rights; education and
training; participation in urban planning; youth entrepreneurship and land financing.

The complete study is available here.

Do you agree with these responses? Do you have a point of view that you would like to share?Please do so in the comment section below.

Follow the Youth and Land discussion at the World Urban Forum on twitter; follow @gltnnews as well as the #youthandland hashtag.

ICT, Urban Governance and Youth

The above-named session that was part of the World Urban Youth Assembly sought to explore the potential for improved urban governance that has arisen from the intersection of youth, ICT and urbanization.

Below are some highlights/background information:

Three trends are changing the world we live in.

  • Information and communication technology (ICT) has become widespread. One third of the world’s population was online in 2011 and 62% of users were in developing countries. A staggering 6.1 trillion SMS were sent in 2010, averaging approximately 200,000 per second.
  • Just as ICT usage has grown, so has the percentage of the global population that is youth. There’s an estimated 1.2 billion youth worldwide between the ages of 15-24; 87% if these(1 billion) live in developing countries, and 8 in 10 live in Africa and Asia.It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030.
  • The majority of humankind now lives in cities, and in many countries the urban population is increasing daily.

ICT in the hands of youth has become a rapidly evolving tool that reaches beyond ICT-enabled conventional governance,defined as covering four pillars:

  • adopting technology to improve outcomes,
  • balancing inclusiveness and responsiveness when using technology,
  • public openness through technology
  •  engaging citizens as partners in urban governance

Governance itself is transformed by fast-moving changes of ICT in the hands of the young. Dynamic boundaries of ICT are being pushed forward on a daily basis because of the pervasive presence of mobile platforms and the inventiveness of  young people in adapting technological devices to meet their needs.  Young people are developing mobile phone applications in large numbers that affect  many areas of local governance and community life, such as leadership and inter-governmental relations.

What, if any, is the role of youth in urban governance in your country/region? What are the primary areas of support and innovations for enhancing youth inclusive in urban governance through the use of ICT?

Share your thoughts and insights on the comment section below. Draft report available here.

(For a summary of tweets generated from the session, check out http://bit.ly/SbcyDz )

World Urban Youth Assembly

As an integral part of the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum, UN-HABITAT  hosted the World Urban Youth Assembly today, September 2nd, 2012. The Assembly provides youth with the opportunity to discuss and deliberate on issues important to them, so that they are able to make relevant contributions at the substantive dialogues at the main Forum.

In line with the theme for the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum, ‘The Urban Future’, the substantive objectives of the World Urban Youth Assembly was to analyze how the future of youth in urbanization is perceived, who benefits from the urbanization process, who is being left out, and what innovative approaches there are to remedy such exclusions.

Urbanization is the engine that propels the world towards prosperity in the 21st century and
youth are the engineers. Youth are society’s most essential and dynamic human resource. There are more people under the age of 25 today than ever, totalling nearly three billion or almost half of the total global population; 1.3 billion of that total are between the age of 12 and 24. These youth live, by and large, in cities and towns; the cities of the developing world account for over 90% of the world’s urban growth and youth account for a large percentage of those inhabitants. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030.

Participants and attendants tweeted and shared live from their sessions,a summary can be found here.

The discussions go on, and more information on session lineups and summaries is available as well here.

Which sessions are of most interest to you? Share your thoughts,questions and comments below to keep the conversation going. Follow @unhabitat on twitter for real-time updates.

(You can also visit the World Urban Forum Dialogues and join millions of virtual participants: http://bit.ly/wufdialogues)