Africa’s Great Lakes Youth participate in the 2018 UN ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York

Participants at the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York, 29 January 2018

15 Feb 2018

Africa’s Great Lakes Youth participate in the 2018 UN ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York

Nairobi, 15 February 2018 – The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Youth Forum participated in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum that took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 29-31 January 2018. The ICGLR youth delegation was composed of members from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania. The Office of the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region was also represented at the event by Aniefiok Johnson, Chief of Staff.

Since 2012, the ECOSOC annual Youth Forum has become a platform, through which young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations. The Forum, which has become one of the most institutionalized avenues for youth participation in official UN processes, allows representatives of youth-led and youth focused organizations and networks, to engage with Member States, and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement initiatives.

The objectives of this year’s ECOSOC Forum were to: discuss the policy framework and promote innovative, institutionalised approaches and initiatives for advancing the youth development agenda at national, regional and global levels with a view to promoting solutions to the global challenge of strengthening resilience among youth; share knowledge on achieving youth development by promoting the implementation, monitoring, follow up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the participation of young people in policy-making and implementation; identify pathways and means to support youth to surmount challenges they face, and meaningfully contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; provide an avenue for Member States to report on their national progress on the 'SDG Youth Dashboard'; provide an avenue for identifying and addressing emerging issues; and showcase initiatives and platforms to advance youth related Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, including the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

The discussions at the meeting focused on the work and Society - how transformation in the work space is affecting the relationship between work, individual and society; Decent jobs for all - how megatrends such as technological and demographic change are affecting the creation of decent jobs for all; the Organization of work and production - how to respond to the growing diversity of employment forms; and the Governance of work - norms, institutions and regulations needed for the governance of work in the future.

The Great Lakes Youth Delegation met with Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Envoy on Youth, on the sidelines of the ECOSOC Forum. They briefed her on the prevailing youth situation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, including the outcome of the ICGLR Extraordinary Summit Communique of heads of State and Government on Youth Unemployment of July 2014 and the subsequent follow up of the Nairobi Youth Declaration with the ICGLR Youth Ministers Communique in Livingstone, Zambia, in June 2017.

The UN Envoy on Youth will visit Kenya on 20-22 March this year.