MGCY members have been making their voices heard in the post-2015 development agenda process, primarily by advocating at the UN’s Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals meetings. However, MGCY has been organising itself to present a unified voice by using opportunities like the World Conference on Youth and the ECOSOC Youth Forum to share, discuss, interact and influence the post-2015 development agenda.
World Conference on Youth
The World Conference on Youth, hosted by the Sri Lankan government, took place in Colombo from May 6 till May 10, 2014. It brought together over 1,000 youth and government representatives and – in a process unprecedented in terms of youth influence – produced the Colombo Declaration: Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The conference was unique with regard to the degree of youth influence over official negotiations. Rather than youth meeting in advance of negotiations and producing separate outcome documents, as in the past (believe it or not, this had even happened during the previous world conferences on youth too), this conference produced a “joint declaration” endorsed by both, youth and governments. Via roundtable discussions, youth ideas fed into the outcome document and its annex. Furthermore, two youth negotiators held the status of a government and participated fully in negotiations i.e. could add or veto paragraphs etc.
UN General Assembly President John Ashe and UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmed Alhendawi, participated in the conference.
The Colombo Declaration will be integrated into the UN’s post-2015 development agenda process. It encourages member states to table the declaration at the 69th UN General Assembly (September, 2014) and calls on the UN Secretary General to reference the declaration in his synthesis document of post-2015 deliberations.
ECOSOC Youth Forum
Later in June 2014, the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened a Youth Forum to discuss how youth should be included in the post-2015 development agenda. It was an effort to pull together many of the inputs given by the youth, so far. This collective output was called the Global Youth Call: Prioritizing Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
It proposes youth-focused targets on the top five thematic priorities of young people who voted in the My World Survey: Education; Employment and Entrepreneurship; Health; Good Governance; and Peace and Security. The Global Youth Call will be presented to Ministers at July’s ECOSOC Ministerial Meeting.
The MGCY welcomed the Global Youth Call as one input into post-2015 processes, however, MGCY “strongly [believes] that the consensus of youth and governments is reflected more fully in the Colombo Declaration on Youth and the MGCY statements to the Open Working Group.” Nonetheless, it is a valuable contribution to post-2015 discussions because it offers concrete targets on youth priorities.