The World Conference on Youth 2014 (WCY) in Sri Lanka presents a unique opportunity for Member States, young people, and other relevant stakeholders to come together to discuss the role of youth in formulating the Post-2015 Development Agenda and integrate the youth voice into the process. Unlike previous intergovernmental youth conferences, where the ministerial portion and the youth portion where separate and distinct, the WCY in Sri Lanka hopes to produce a joint outcome document that represents a policy consensus between Governments and young people. The legitimacy of this conference is rooted in the fact that the entire process is youth-guided. The Government of Sri Lanka is collaborating with an International Youth Task Force (IYTF) that is composed of ten international members and ten Sri Lankan youth. Together, the IYTF and the Government of Sri Lanka are setting the agenda of the conference, ensuring the diversity of youth participants, and preparing the consultation process.
The recently agreed “Policies and programmes involving youth” (A/C.3/68/L.10.Rev.1) welcomed the conference hosted by Sri Lanka and “…urge[d] Member States and UN entities in consultation with youth-led organizations to explore new avenues to promote full, effective, structured, and sustainable participation of young people and youth-led organizations in relevant decision making processes including in designing and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives and in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.” This conference is the perfect moment to fulfill that call.
Suggested themes and cross cutting issues
The IYTF and the National Steering Committee, in addressing the overarching theme of the conference “Strengthening youth in decision making processes in the development and implementation of the post-2015 development agenda,” have suggested the following clusters of areas to help guide the discussions:
Cross Cutting issues
Opportunities for Participation
Young people will constitute the core participants at the conference. Out of the 1500 expected participants, 750 of them will be youth. Regard will be given to gender, diversity of background, and region. The breakdown of youth participants is as follows:
Country Representatives (400 people)
There shall be 2 young people from each state. Governments shall select these young people in cooperation with National Youth Councils, and where they don’t exist coalitions of youth-led organizations. A briefing note will be sent to states outlining the process.
International Representatives (350 people)
- 42 facilitators
- 78 from international youth organizations and regional youth platforms
- 20 bloggers/social media/young journalists
- 150 youth from marginalized groups which includes:
- Young people with disabilities, indigenous youth, youth from rural communities/young farmers, key affected populations/those affected by intersectionality, young people from conflict affected areas, marginalized ethnic and cultural groups, young people from low social and economic backgrounds, migrants and refugees
- 60 young experts which includes:
- Young entrepreneurs/corporates, young people involved in feminist and gender movements, young academics, young people active in faith/political based organizations, young sports people, young trade unionists, community activists/workers, young people from active processes (e.g post-2015, ICPD, Rio, COP, etc.)
Sri Lankan Youth (100 people)
These participants will include a diversity of young people from across all regions of Sri Lanka, all communities (Tamil and Sinhalese) and religious backgrounds.
Governments (400 people)
- Ministers and Representatives from Youth Departments from Capital to attend from each UN member state and recognised territory.
Agencies and Foundations (250)
These will include delegations from the UN agencies and private foundations which are vital for the support of the conference.
It is critical that enough time is given to consultations at capital, in New York, and other regional hubs whilst ensuring the conference takes place in the inter-governmental conference period between February and September outlined by the Secretary General as to feed into his synthesis report.
- Initial consultations with missions and governments – Mid December – Early February 2014
- Initial consultations with youth civil society and NGOs – Mid December – Early February 2014
- Zero-draft released and 1st informal-informals in New York – Mid February (10-11)
- Consultations with regional bodies – Late February – Mid April 2014
- 2nd informal-informals in New York – Late March (24-25)
- Final-draft released – Mid April (W/B 7th)
- Conference itself – 7-9 May (Arrivals on 6th, Closing on 10th)
(dates in brackets are tentative)