• Unlocking Urban Inclusion: The Urban Inclusion Marker by UN-Habitat 21 September 2023, New York. – In a rapidly urbanizing world, ensuring that cities are inclusive and welcoming to all their inhabitants is paramount. It is in this context that the Urban Inclusion Marker, a groundbreaking tool developed by the Inclusive Cities, Communities of Solidarity project, has emerged as a beacon of hope. This geo-referenced index, based on the principles of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), serves as a robust measure of a city’s inclusivity, evaluating its potential for spatial, social, economic, and cultural integration of its residents. Let’s delve into the significance of this Urban Inclusion Marker and its three pillars that guide its design.Pillar 1: Fair Distribution of ResourcesAt the core of urban inclusion lies the equitable distribution of resources. The first pillar of the Urban Inclusion Marker scrutinizes spatial conditions within cities, including factors like location, proximity, risk factors, and the coverage of essential services and infrastructure. Tangible elements such as housing, health and welfare, education and culture, public spaces, and employment opportunities are meticulously evaluated.Housing: Adequate housing is a fundamental human right. The Marker assesses housing conditions, affordability, and accessibility to ensure that residents have a safe and comfortable place to call home.Health and Welfare: Access to healthcare services is crucial. This aspect looks at the availability and affordability of healthcare facilities, aiming to bridge gaps in access to quality healthcare.Education and Culture: Quality education and cultural enrichment opportunities are essential for personal growth and development. The Marker evaluates the accessibility and inclusivity of educational and cultural institutions.Public Space: Public spaces are the heart of any city. Their safety, accessibility, and the sense of community they foster are key indicators of urban inclusion.Employment and Opportunities: Gainful employment and opportunities for advancement are key to social and economic integration. The Marker analyzes unemployment rates and assesses opportunities for career growth.Pillar 2: Social, Economic, and Cultural Diversity and EquityDiversity and equity form the bedrock of inclusive societies. The second pillar of the Urban Inclusion Marker dives deep into socioeconomic conditions, considering factors such as affordability, unemployment, access to healthcare and education, and social diversity.Affordability: Ensuring that basic needs like housing, healthcare, and education are affordable for all income groups is a pivotal aspect of urban inclusion.Unemployment: High unemployment rates can lead to social disparities. The Marker measures unemployment levels and works to create strategies for job creation and skill development.Access to Health and Education: Bridging gaps in access to quality healthcare and education is crucial for leveling the playing field and fostering inclusivity.Social Diversity: A diverse and inclusive society is one where people of all backgrounds can thrive. The Marker assesses the level of social diversity within a city.Pillar 3: Inclusive GovernanceThe third pillar of the Urban Inclusion Marker highlights the importance of inclusive governance frameworks. These frameworks play a vital role in improving prosperity and inclusion for all city residents.Inclusive governance ensures that marginalized communities have a voice in decision-making processes, leading to policies that address their unique needs. It promotes collaboration between the public sector, civil society, and the private sector to create more inclusive cities.Urban Inclusion Markers in Latin America and the CaribbeanCurrently, the Urban Inclusion Marker has been implemented in several cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Barranquilla, Cucuta, Bucaramanga, and Villa del Rosario in Colombia, as well as Quito, Ecuador, and Lima, Peru. These cities have taken significant steps towards measuring and enhancing their levels of inclusion, setting a positive example for others to follow.In summary, the Urban Inclusion Marker represents a promising step towards creating cities that are inclusive, equitable, and welcoming to all their inhabitants. By focusing on fair resource distribution, social, economic, and cultural diversity, and inclusive governance, this innovative tool is helping cities across the world pave the way for a more inclusive urban future. As we continue to urbanize, let us remember that true progress is measured not just in terms of economic growth but also by the level of inclusion and well-being experienced by all residents. 60-year old volunteer community teacher Nelson Pajaro teaching the local children of Bucaramanga, Colombia, the art of photography. (c) UN-Habitat The Urban Inclusion Marker is a powerful tool that can significantly improve the lives of youth in cities by fostering a more inclusive and supportive urban environment. Here’s how this tool can be used to benefit young people:Access to Quality Education: The Marker assesses the accessibility and inclusivity of educational institutions. For youth, this means improved access to quality education, including schools and vocational training centers. It can help identify areas where educational resources are lacking, leading to targeted investments in educational infrastructure and programs that benefit young people.Affordable Housing: Housing affordability is a key concern for many young adults. The Marker’s evaluation of housing conditions and affordability can lead to policies and initiatives that promote affordable housing options for youth, helping them establish stable homes and communities.Employment Opportunities: High levels of youth unemployment can lead to frustration and social unrest. The Marker’s analysis of employment opportunities can guide cities in creating job training programs, internships, and initiatives aimed at reducing youth unemployment rates. It can also identify areas where there’s a need for youth-focused entrepreneurship support.Safe Public Spaces: Youth often rely on public spaces for recreation, socialization, and personal development. The Marker’s assessment of public spaces ensures that they are safe and accessible to young people, encouraging healthy social interactions and physical activities.Healthcare Access: Access to healthcare services, including mental health support, is critical for the well-being of youth. The Marker’s evaluation can highlight gaps in healthcare access, leading to initiatives that prioritize youth-friendly healthcare services and mental health programs.Social Inclusion: Youth come from diverse backgrounds, and the Marker’s assessment of social diversity can help cities create inclusive communities where young people from all walks of life feel welcome and accepted. This can reduce social exclusion and discrimination, leading to a more cohesive society.Youth Engagement in Governance: Inclusive governance is crucial for youth to have a voice in shaping their cities. The Marker’s emphasis on inclusive governance frameworks can encourage cities to involve youth in decision-making processes, consult them on policies that affect them, and create youth councils or advisory boards to ensure their perspectives are considered.Monitoring and Accountability: The Urban Inclusion Marker provides a systematic way to monitor progress and hold cities accountable for their commitments to youth inclusion. By regularly updating the Marker’s data and sharing it with the public, cities can demonstrate their dedication to improving the lives of young people and track the impact of their initiatives over time.Therefore, the Urban Inclusion Marker can be a catalyst for positive change in cities by addressing the specific needs and challenges faced by youth. It provides a comprehensive framework for assessing urban inclusion and guides policymakers and city planners in creating environments that are conducive to the well-being, growth, and active participation … Unlocking Urban Inclusion: The Urban Inclusion Marker by UN-HabitatRead More »

  • UN-Habitat Youth wrote a new post 1 week ago

    Be a Change Agent! UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board Applications Now Open! 25 September 2023, Nairobi. – Are you between 18 and 32 years old? Do you want to help integrate the voices of urban youth into UN-Habitat’s […]

  • Empowering Indigenous Voices: Youth, Culture, and Sustainable Development 20 September 2023, New York. – “Good morning,” Lenin Zambrano began, the anticipation in the room palpable. He continued, “I am … Read More »

  • From the Heart of Türkiye: Balıkesir’s Vision of Sustainable Urbanism 20 September 2023, Balıkesir. – When coming upon the Localization of the SDGs by and for Youth Exhibition at the UN Headquarters during the General Assembly, visitors are greeted by a banner that speaks of the Municipality of Balıkesir’s vision: “Centre of Excellence for Cities and the Environment”. This isn’t just a tagline; it’s a commitment. The city lies at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, where cobbled streets meet smart city solutions.Embedded within the heart of Balıkesir will be the UNEP Balıkesir Environmental Centre (BEC) to be launched in parallel with the SDG Cities Hub in Urban October. This won’t be just any center; it will be a nexus of innovation. BEC will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology that will process real-time data, information, and knowledge. But what will truly stand out will be its Early Warning systems. As natural calamities become increasingly unpredictable, these systems will be crucial in safeguarding Balıkesir’s vulnerable communities, ensuring they will always be one step ahead of any looming danger.Beyond safety, BEC will strive for harmony between urban growth and environmental preservation. By promoting healthy environments, the center will ensure that as the city expands, its parks will stay green, its air will remain clean, and its waters will run clear. This delicate balance will be what transforms Balıkesir from just another city into a flourishing urban oasis.By proudly hosting the SDG Cities Hub, Balıkesir signals its intensified commitment to forging a brighter, more sustainable future. This integral part of UN-Habitat’s SDG Cities Global Initiative has a singular, unwavering mission: accelerating the pace at which cities progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Being the hub’s host, Balıkesir, Türkiye and the world stand to benefit immensely. The city will unlock a treasure trove of tools, immersive learning experiences, and specialized technical support. These invaluable resources will synergistically drive economic prosperity, enhance the living standards of its residents, and reinforce its environmental stewardship. The UNEP Balikesir Environmental Centre to be launched in parallel with the SDG Cities Hub in Urban October. Furthermore, the Mayor of Balıkesir, reflecting on the city’s pivotal role in championing sustainability, recently remarked, “It is also meaningful for us that this year we will host UN World Cities Day events in Istanbul. One of the main themes of this year’s event is Zero Waste, organized under the patronage of Mrs. Emine Erdoğan. We, as the Turkish Municipalities Association, support this movement in every activity we organize; we are taking important steps for dissemination.” This profound commitment from city leadership solidifies Balıkesir’s position at the forefront of global urban sustainability initiatives.It won’t be just the Municipality of Balıkesir or BEC or the SDG Cities Hub that will be steering the city towards a brighter tomorrow. A synergy of global partnerships will be at play. With the collective efforts of UN-Habitat, UNEP, and the local governance of Balıkesir, the city will embark on a journey towards unparalleled sustainability and resilience. Every brick laid, every tree planted, and every policy implemented in Balıkesir isn’t just shaping its present but is crafting a legacy for generations to come. It serves as a testament to what cities can achieve when local action is fueled by global collaboration. Balıkesir is not just building a city; it’s envisioning a future. And for those seeking inspiration … From the Heart of Türkiye: Balıkesir’s Vision of Sustainable UrbanismRead More »

  • Olga Tsaplina wrote a new post 2 weeks ago

    Call for Submissions: Assessing the Impact of Youth Engagement in Designing Public Spaces 18 September 2023, Nairobi. – Are you passionate about public spaces, youth engagement, and urban health and wellbeing? Are you under the age of 32 and do you have insights, research, or personal stories to share about the transformative power of youth involvement in shaping public spaces? If so, we invite you to contribute to an important initiative that has the potential to influence the future of urban environments.The Young Gamechangers Initiative (YGI) is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of young people by actively involving them in urban governance and the design of inclusive public spaces. To further this mission, the Journal of Public Space is proud to announce a Call for Submissions for its upcoming special issue on “Public Space and Placemaking: Evaluating the Impact on Youth Health and Wellbeing.”This unique opportunity allows you to contribute your voice to a global conversation about the critical role of young people in shaping the cities of tomorrow. We are seeking:Academic Articles: Rigorous research papers that delve into the impact of youth engagement in public space design, examining their health and well-being, the relationship with city governance, the application of digital technology, and how they interface with city systems.Personal Stories: Share your personal experiences or narratives about how youth engagement transformed a public space and enhanced the well-being of the community.Research: Present your findings, studies, or surveys that provide valuable insights into the effects of youth involvement in placemaking.Case Studies: Highlight successful projects, programs, or initiatives where youth played a pivotal role in shaping public spaces and fostering community well-being.Photo Essays: Use the power of visual storytelling to showcase the impact of youth-led placemaking on urban environments and the people who inhabit them.Why Contribute?Your contribution to this special issue will not only be featured in the Journal of Public Space but will also play a crucial role in advancing the goals of the Young Gamechangers Initiative. In addition, selected articles may have the opportunity to be presented at the World Urban Forum in 2024, giving your work a global platform for recognition and impact.The Journal of Public Space, with its commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and open access, is the perfect platform for your work. It is an international, interdisciplinary, academic journal dedicated entirely to public spaces. We value diverse perspectives, unconventional dialogues, and untold stories, especially those from regions often underrepresented in mainstream discourse.Submission Guidelines:Submissions should be related to cities and public spaces, with a particular focus on intermediary cities in the global south. We welcome contributions from emerging and young scholars, designers, planners, city practitioners, youth organizers, advocates, and storytellers up to 32 years. In addition, we are also inviting drawings and poetry submissions that reflect the journal themes from youth within the range of 15 and 24 years. Your work should offer critical and innovative insights into placemaking in diverse urban spaces and explore its transformative implications for youth health and well-being.Important Information:Call Launched: 15 September 2023 (read the submission guidelines here)Information Webinar: 10 October 2023 (register here)Submission Deadline: 1 November 2023If you’re passionate about making a positive impact on our cities and the lives of young people, seize this opportunity to contribute to a vital conversation. Help us understand the dynamic relationship between youth engagement, public spaces, and urban well-being.Together, we can shape healthier, more inclusive, and vibrant cities for future generations. Submit your work to the Journal of Public Space and be part of this exciting journey towards urban transformation.For submission guidelines and inquiries, please visit the website of The Journal of Public Space or … Call for Submissions: Assessing the Impact of Youth Engagement in Designing Public SpacesRead More »

  • Empowering Tomorrow Today: A Visionary Journey of Youth Towards Sustainable Change 15 September 2023, New York. – Co-Creating the Future: Youth-led Localization of the SDGs conference took place at the United Nations Headquarters as a lead up to the UN General Assembly SDG Summit. The conference focused on harnessing the power of youth and digital innovation to advance the SDGs. The conference aims to showcase innovative approaches by young entrepreneurs and the role of digital innovation in achieving local and global SDGs, with the goal of a youth local Pact for the Future that builds on the Global Youth DeclarAction on Urban Sustainability adopted at the World Urban Forum, and will fed into the local Pacts committed to by the UN.The conference commenced with a session featuring a welcome and introduction by Ali Mustafa from AFS, one of the coordinating partners of the exhbitionm, setting the tone for the days to come. Among those who spoke were Miroslav Polzer, coordinator of IAAI GloCha, who presented a vision for global change. His insights resonated with the audience, emphasizing the urgency of youth-led localization of the SDGs through digital innovation.Complementing these was the contribution of Esther Muiruri, Founder of the Gold Ribbon Initiative a member of the UN Local2030 Coalition, emphasizing the equal partnership of young people in accelerating SDG localization. She noted their unique advantage in terms of creativity, technology access, and innovation, providing a promising avenue for recalibrating efforts toward achieving the Global Goals by 2030. These diverse voices, united in their commitment to the SDGs, serve as the driving force behind this conference, inspiring collaborative action and progress. This session brought forth a panel of experts, each contributing a unique perspective on youth engagement and the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals.Daniel Obst, CEO of AFS, underscored the imperative of empowering young individuals with the tools and knowledge essential for driving meaningful action. He asserted, “We must prepare young people to take action and ensure that they have the tools to take action,” emphasizing the pivotal role of education and resources in fostering youth-led change.Nena Dokuzov is a coordinator of the Strategy of digital transformation of economy at the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport in Slovenia. She discussed the powerful intersection of digital innovation and climate action, underscoring the potential of blockchain technology in addressing global challenges. Oscar Wendel, a forward-thinker representing Dubai World Trade Center, delved into the vast possibilities offered by blockchain technology and its potential to reshape industries and enhance sustainability.Trang Fernandez Leenknecht passionately expressed her belief in the capacity of human capital and innovation to catalyze tangible and sustainable action towards a brighter future. She affirmed, “Personally, I believe in human capital and innovation that brings action,” showcasing the critical role of creativity and innovation in driving progress.Raphael Obonyo, a journalist from Kenya, suggested that the conference was very important for youth and sustainable urbanization.”Youth possess the essential ingredients necessary for societal progress. Whenever we exclude young people, our society suffers as we miss out on these crucial elements. They are the true game changers, and to engage them effectively, we must empower and enable them,” stated Obonyo.Obonyo’s words emphasized the irreplaceable role of youth in advancing societal development. He highlighted that meaningful engagement and empowerment of young individuals are vital steps toward harnessing their potential as catalysts for positive change, aligning with the core objectives of the event focused on youth-led localization of the SDGs through digital innovation. The final speaker, Lenin Zambrano, a Kechwa lawyer from Ecuador, is both a UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board representive and a coordinator of the Otavalango of the Integr-Habitat / One Stop Youth Resource Centre, an organization deeply committed to preserving indigenous culture and traditions of the Kichwa Otavalo people. Otavalango actively engages youth in initiatives that promote the localization of the SDGs such as Youth 2030 Cities. Otavalango’s role is pivotal in empowering indigenous voices and engaging them in local government. The organization’s efforts not only aim to safeguard cultural heritage but also address local challenges related to the SDGs, fostering inclusivity, and nurturing a better future for their community. Through Otavalo DeclarAction on Sustainable Urbanization, they collaborate with local authorities, bridging the gap between indigenous communities and global development agendas.In conclusion, the Co-Creating the Future: Youth-led Localization of the SDGs conference held at the United Nations Headquarters provided a platform for diverse voices and perspectives to converge in the spirit of advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event, characterized by informative sessions and expert insights, underlined the critical role of youth, digital innovation, and localization in achieving these global objectives.Speakers like Miroslav Polzer, Esther Muiruri, Daniel Obst, Nena Dokuzov, Oscar Wendel, Trang Fernandez Leenknecht, Raphael Obonyo, and Lenin Zambrano collectively emphasized the significance of youth empowerment, innovation, and meaningful engagement. Their pragmatic insights and shared commitment to SDG localization underscored the conference’s core objectives.The event served as a catalyst for youth-led initiatives and collaboration, fostering a sense of urgency and agency among young leaders to drive change at the local and global levels. It highlighted the importance of embracing innovation, harnessing technology, and creating inclusive spaces for dialogue to realize the SDGs effectively.One important outcome of the conference was the establishment of the Pact for the Future, a collaborative effort that builds upon the Global Youth DeclarAction on Urban Sustainability adopted at the World Urban Forum. This pact signifies a commitment by local governments to work alongside youth in addressing the challenges related to the SDGs. It represents a tangible step towards empowering tomorrow and ushering in a brighter, more sustainable future.Ultimately, the Co-Creating the Future conference showcased the potential of youth-led localization through digital innovation and exemplified the spirit of collective action necessary to create a more sustainable and equitable world. These diverse voices illuminated the … Empowering Tomorrow Today: A Visionary Journey of Youth Towards Sustainable ChangeRead More »

  • Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Tomorrow: Co-Creating the Future at the UN General Assembly 14 September 2023, New York. – In a world filled with challenges, the World Urban Pavilion Sister Neighborhoods program stands as a beacon of hope, dedicated to empowering youth and enhancing their skills in impoverished communities worldwide through knowledge exchange programs, job training, and the promotion of arts and culture.Sister Neighborhoods has made a profound impact on marginalized communities globally, reaching places like Mathare and Kibera in Kenya, neighborhoods in Quito and Otavalo, Ecuador, and Regent Park in Toronto, connecting us in a shared vision of empowerment and community development. This program’s core mission revolves around empowering youth through skills training and the creation of safe public spaces.For instance, the slum soccer tournament held in Mlango Kubwa, Mathare, brought together 100 boys and girls for an eight-week soccer program, promoting physical fitness, teamwork, and resilience, qualities that resonate with the essence of Sister Neighborhoods. Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sister Neighborhoods collaborated with Ecuadorian street artist Apitatán to create the powerful “Faces of Covid-19″ mural. This artwork symbolizes the LGBTQ+ community’s resilience in the face of adversity, showcasing the strength and unity fostered by the program.Sustainability lies at the heart of Sister Neighborhoods, exemplified by the Mathare One Stop Centre Recycling Workshop, where young individuals learn about recycling and create ornaments, promoting sustainability within their community.Today, as part of the Co-Creating the Future: Localization of the SDGs by and for Youth session, held at the UN General Assembly, we continue our dedication to empowering the younger generation in driving sustainable change.“The workshop has been truly transformative for me. Learning video editing has opened up new doors, allowing me to share my work not only with my local community but with an international audience,” expressed Gerrison Lumumba, a hip-hop artist from Mathare, echoing the sentiment of empowerment and global connection that Sister Neighborhoods fosters. On World Creativity and Innovation Day, UN-Habitat organized a joint virtual concert that transcended borders, connecting the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi and Regent Park in Toronto as part of the Sister Neighborhood project. This initiative seeks to establish bonds between marginalized urban settlements globally, promoting collaboration and shared learning.The virtual concert provided a unique platform for music and visual artists to showcase their work to a global audience. It was more than just a celebration of creativity; it was a moment for artists to learn from one another, sharing insights on how to advance creative industries and promote positive change.In summary, the collaboration between UN-Habitat, Mathare, Regent Park, and other communities epitomizes the power of art and creativity in transcending geographical boundaries, fostering community development, and empowering yo … Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Tomorrow: Co-Creating the Future at the UN General AssemblyRead More »

  • UN-Habitat Interim Youth Advisory Board Addresses the UN-Habitat Assembly at The Closing Plenary Session 9 June 2023, Nairobi. – In a powerful address to the second session of the UN-Habitat Assembly, two members of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, Gwendolyn Myers and Leah Namugerwa, representing the voices of youth organizations from around the world, expressed their determination to work towards a sustainable urban future that includes the meaningful inclusion of young people. Their statement, delivered to Madam Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, outlined key areas where youth can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and called upon UN-Habitat and member states to take action.One of the primary focuses of their statement was on digital literacy among young people. Recognizing the transformative power of technology, Gwendolyn and Leah urged UN-Habitat to prioritize actions that promote digital literacy and develop partnerships between youth, local governments, and other UN agencies. They emphasized the importance of young people’s participation in policy development, city planning, and program implementation.Housing, land, and property rights were also highlighted as critical issues. Gwendolyn and Leah urged governments to enforce legal frameworks that protect these rights, particularly for young people and women. They called for the development of specific policies, such as tax abatement, to ensure low-income and unemployed youth have access to adequate housing. Additionally, they stressed the importance of including young people with technical skills in the practical aspects of housing provision.The impact of climate change was another area of concern addressed by the youth advisors. They called upon UN member states to recognize and support the contributions of young people and youth-led organizations engaged in climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives. They emphasized the need for increased investments in early warning systems and the adoption of youth-led ICT innovations for data collection and management, ensuring privacy rights and ethical practices.Highlighting the importance of youth participation in peace-building efforts, Gwendolyn and Leah called for the meaningful inclusion of young people in platforms and mechanisms for peace in metropolitan areas, particularly in localizing the SDGs. They stressed the need for UN-Habitat to engage youth more actively in projects and initiatives related to urban planning and development.In their address, the youth advisors also emphasized the significance of smart cities for the future. They called upon governments to construct Information Resource Centers and ICT hubs to facilitate skill development and innovation among young people.In conclusion, Gwendolyn Myers and Leah Namugerwa affirmed the commitment of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board and the youth at the UN-Habitat Assembly to mainstream their voices in major stakeholder forums and structures within the UN-Habitat system. They expressed their determination to influence decision-making processes and work collaboratively towards a sustainable urban future.The address of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board members at the UN-Habitat Assembly resonated with the audience, recognizing the crucial role of young people in achieving sustainable urban development. Their passionate plea for youth inclusion and empowerment serves as a reminder of the importance of listening to and involving young voices in shaping our cities and communities. It is a call to action for governments, organizations, and individuals to embrace youth participation and work together towards a more … UN-Habitat Interim Youth Advisory Board Addresses the UN-Habitat Assembly at The Closing Plenary SessionRead More »

  • UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Reaffirms That Youth is a Priority 7 June 2023, Nairobi. – The Youth Caucus participants at United Nations Habitat Assembly witnessed an inspiring speech by Michal Mlynar, the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat. Given on the 6th of June 2023, Mr. Mlynar’s speech at the Youth Caucus highlighted the crucial role of youth in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With an emphasis on youth engagement and the importance of localization, Mr. Mlynar reaffirmed UN-Habitat’s commitment to empowering young voices in shaping the future of sustainable urban development.Engaging Youth: A Top PriorityMr. Mlynar’s speech commenced with a warm welcome to the youth participants, emphasizing that youth engagement was one of his top priorities. Acknowledging the invaluable support of the Government of Turkey and the mayor of Balikesir, who hosted the youth advisory board, Mr. Mlynar recognized the need to build upon existing initiatives.Promoting Sustainable Urban DevelopmentThe Deputy Executive Director underlined the pressing challenges and priorities of UN-Habitat. The first priority identified was housing, emphasizing that adequate housing forms the foundation for various aspects of development. Improved housing not only provides shelter but also grants access to essential services such as water, sanitation, education, and healthcare. Mlynar stressed the need for comprehensive conversations regarding affordable and decent housing, as it paves the way for enhanced opportunities and economic growth.Climate action emerged as the second priority, with Mlynar expressing his delight in learning that many youth participants were actively working in this area. He emphasized the importance of establishing linkages between UN-Habitat’s work and climate action, recognizing the urgent need to address the climate crisis in urban areas.Addressing urban crises was identified as the third priority. Mlynar pointed out the prevalence of man-made and natural disasters worldwide, highlighting the necessity for proactive measures to mitigate and respond to such crises. From the impacts of climate change to conflicts and population displacements, urban areas face multifaceted challenges that require collective action and preparedness.SDG Localization and Grassroots EngagementMlynar stressed the significance of localization in achieving the SDGs. He emphasized the need to bring SDG implementation to the local level, collaborating with mayors, governors, and grassroots organizations. Recognizing the unique perspectives and contributions of young people, Mlynar called upon youth and other grassroots organizations to actively participate in the localization efforts. The Deputy Executive Director highlighted the forthcoming high-level political forum in New York and the importance of bringing the message of localization to this global platform.Youth Empowerment and Future OpportunitiesMr. Mlynar expressed his hope for the swift reconstitution of the Youth Advisory Board, facilitating meaningful consultations and progress. He shared news of the upcoming youth assembly during the World Urban Forum to be held in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2024. This event would provide a valuable opportunity to prepare for the Summit of the Future and consolidate outcomes for implementation at the local level. View this post on Instagram A post shared by UN-Habitat Youth Programme (@unhabitatyouth) Collaboration and SynergiesRecognizing the need for collaboration across various UN entities, Mr. Mlynar mentioned the advisory board on local and regional authorities appointed by Secretary-General Guterres. He envisioned potential avenues for engagement between this advisory board and UN-Habitat’s youth advisory board, acknowledging the importance of synergies and shared objectives. Mr. Mlynar also highlighted the UN Youth Office in New York, expressing pride in championing its creation alongside other member states.Michal Mlynar’s speech resonated with the youth participants at the UN-Habitat Assembly, reaffirming UN-Habitat’s commitment to empowering young voices in urban development. The focus on youth engagement, localization, and collaboration with grassroots organizations highlighted the importance of collective efforts in … UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Reaffirms That Youth is a PriorityRead More »

  • Uniting Across Generations for a Better Urban Future: Introducing UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board 10 June 2023, Nairobi. – The UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board (YAB) will play a vital role in advancing the inclusive achievement of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Comprising 18 advisors, the YAB provides strategic advice, advocates for youth participation, and strengthens youth-led initiatives within UN-Habitat and its partner networks. The following are the draft Terms of Reference for the upcoming YAB, outlining its mandate, responsibilities, and eligibility criteria.Meaningful Engagement and Strategic AdviceThe primary mandate of the YAB is to engage young people meaningfully within UN-Habitat, promoting their involvement in research, planning, governance, implementation, and monitoring of policies and practices related to urban development. The YAB provides strategic advice to UN-Habitat on issues of concern to young people, fostering their active participation in achieving the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda.Promoting Best Practices and Youth ParticipationThe YAB advises UN-Habitat on the development and dissemination of best practices that promote youth engagement in human settlements work. It ensures that youth concerns are represented in local, national, and international policy gatherings, advocating for youth-led development and providing feedback on relevant policy formulation and programming.Sharing Experiences and Promoting Youth ParticipationThe YAB plays a crucial role in sharing experiences and encouraging young people globally to engage in governance processes in their respective regions. It organizes youth events, informs and mobilizes young people to participate in UN-Habitat activities, and supports the planning and hosting of youth workshops during various high-level forums and events.Contributing to Policy Development and Monitoring ProgressYAB members contribute to UN-Habitat’s policy development and publications by authoring articles, providing key input, and disseminating information about the agency’s strategic plan, priorities, and core policy statements. They also monitor UN-Habitat’s commitment to youth engagement through a biennial report detailing progress and outcomes related to youth-led programs and sustainable urbanization. View this post on Instagram A post shared by UN-Habitat Youth Programme (@unhabitatyouth) Responsibilities of UN-HabitatUN-Habitat commits to providing necessary support to the YAB, including funding for expenses incurred by board members participating in policy forums and other meetings. It ensures the provision of information and documentation related to its work, facilitates training and capacity building, and promotes synergies between the YAB and UN-Habitat’s global programs and initiatives. UN-Habitat also collaborates with the Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality, the official sponsor of the YAB from 2023 to 2025, to ensure the board’s efficient functioning.Eligibility and SelectionYouth advisor candidates should be between 18 and 32 years old and must be members of youth-led or youth-serving organizations, demonstrating access to youth networks within their regions. Mentor advisor candidates, with no age restrictions, should have significant experience working with youth and possess knowledge in a human settlements-related thematic area. Fluency in English, proficiency in communication technologies, and availability for board activities and meetings are essential criteria.Selection of board members is guided by regional shortlists, global youth input mechanisms, and the consideration of preferences expressed by young people. UN-Habitat ensures regional and gender balance, actively involving individuals residing in all six UN-Habitat regions and targeting at least 50% of youth advisors to be under 24 years of age. It also emphasizes the inclusion of youth advisors from least developed countries and selects mentor advisors based on their expertise.ConclusionThe UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board plays a crucial role in empowering young people and advancing sustainable urbanization. Through its advisory role, advocacy, and engagement activities, the YAB contributes to the realization of the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. The outlined Terms of Reference provide a comprehensive framework for the board’s functioning, emphasizing youth participation, collaboration, and the importance of regional and gender representation. The YAB serves … Uniting Across Generations for a Better Urban Future: Introducing UN-Habitat Youth Advisory BoardRead More »

  • UN-Habitat's Youth Advisory Board Responds to Executive Director's Report 6 June 2023, Nairobi. – UN-Habitat has long been a champion of sustainable urban development. Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, released a groundbreaking report at the UN-Habitat Assembly being held in Nairobi, Kenya, titled “A Sustainable Urban Future Through Inclusive and Effective Multilateralism: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Times Of Global Crises.” This report outlined strategies and recommendations to address the challenges faced by cities and human settlements worldwide. As the voice of the future, the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board eagerly examined the Executive Director’s report. Comprised of passionate and diverse young individuals, the board recognized the report’s significance in shaping the sustainable development agenda. They sought to contribute their unique perspectives and insights to the global dialogue on urban challenges. Leah Namugerwa, an interim member of the Youth Advisory Board, was selected to represent the collective voice of her peers. Leah, a passionate advocate for climate action, delivered a powerful speech at the Second Global Stakeholders Forum. Speaking before an audience of global stakeholders, policymakers, and experts, Leah acknowledged the report’s importance and emphasized the need for youth inclusion in decision-making processes. “We are not just the beneficiaries of change; we are the agents of change. Our energy, passion, and innovative ideas can drive positive transformation in our cities and human settlements.” stated Leah. Recognizing the urgency of climate change, Leah called for collective action, saying, “We must act now to protect our planet and secure a sustainable future. Sustainable cities must prioritize renewable energy, green infrastructure, and environmentally conscious practices. Young people must lead the charge and advocate for sustainable urban development.” Leah emphasized the significance of inclusive and safe spaces, stating, “Cities should be places where everyone can thrive and contribute. We must ensure access to quality education, healthcare, housing, and cultural facilities for all individuals, regardless of their background or identity. Inclusivity is key to building resilient and harmonious communities.” Leah’s passionate speech resonated deeply with the audience, inspiring a renewed commitment to youth-led initiatives and partnerships. UN-Habitat and its partners recognized the power of youth voices and pledged their support for the Youth Advisory Board’s vision. This event marked a turning point, as stakeholders acknowledged the need to amplify youth engagement and integrate their perspectives into policy-making processes. UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board’s response to the Executive Director’s report can serve as a rallying cry for transformative change. With their unwavering determination, the young leaders envisioned a future where sustainable urban development, social inclusivity, and climate action converge. Stakeholders committed to working together to create a sustainable and equitable urban future, … UN-Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board Responds to Executive Director’s ReportRead More »

  • Interactive Workshop Empowers Young People to Discover their Urban Futures Near-term thinking is making the problems we face today more intractable, divisive & dangerous. My message to politicians and decisionmakers: Don’t focus solely on what may happen to you today – and dither. Look at what will happen to all of us tomorrow – and act. António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations Written by: Olga TsaplinaFebruary 10, 2023. – What do a green bag, martial arts belt, worn-down shoes, and a COVID-era hand sanitizer have in common? And what do they have to do when it comes to planning our common urban future?The year 2023 has begun for the young people focused on effecting change with a creative gather-round to contemplate the ways the cities of the future are imagined, planned and organized. The workshop’s methodology used an innovative action learning approach, drawing on the intersections of futures studies and anticipation with performance and drama techniques. The main assumption was that interactive, immersive and futures-oriented experiences have potential to empower young people to participate and co-design activities in matters generally associated with adults and expert knowledge.The flyer promoting the workshop’s vision sets the tone: The future is not and should not be the realm of experts. Youth’s voice must be heard. Youth’s imagination, creativity, dreams, and aspirations are assets we need to draw from to create sustainable and peaceful futures. The Cities’ Futures Workshop: Reimagining Resilient Cities & Intergenerational Dialogue is part of the United Nations, led by UNESCO, UNEP and UN-Habitat, drive to recognize youth’s role in foresight – “youth foresight” – the predicting and planning for the future. began with the participants choosing an avatar from a series of objects scattered around the floor in one of Middlesex University’s theatre studios; these included a green bag, a martial arts belt, worn-down shoes, and a hand sanitizer, among others. This exercise, an essential part of the workshop, helped participants remove the perceived barriers of age, gender, experiences, and affiliations. Having picked the objects of their liking, the participating youth were asked to share their overall sentiments about how optimistic or pessimistic they feel about the future and whether they feel empowered to impact their own and the world’s future.After discussing the state of the world today and the youth’s agency, the participants were engaged to co-create future cities they would like to live in. The young changemakers moved to breakout groups to co-design a city of the future, plan an excursion around its imaginary neighborhoods, come up with a story of conflict situation and a resolution (in good old theatre tradition!) and present their work in a quorum. The workshop was very fruitful and I just loved it. The sessions were participatory and I participated in the whole session attentively. It is very useful for develop our personal and professional skills on future planning and fulfill our dreams. Lutfa 22, Bangladesh, SERAC The workshop was an opportunity to participate in a process of social foresight, envisioning a future for cities globally. The organizers will use this workshop as a prototype testing for the development of similar activities and projects in the future for youth as well as for adults. The workshop was piloted by UNESCO and Middlesex University, London, and supported by the UNEP’s World Environmental Situation Room and Climate Changemaker Programme and UN-Habitat. Youth Foresight, epitomized by initiatives like the Cities’ Futures Workshop, is an essential tool for navigating today’s ever-changing world. It involves anticipating and shaping the future, prioritizing young people’s perspectives and needs, transcending boundaries, and breaking barriers. This approach empowers both the United Nations and youth, enabling them to analyze trends, identify opportunities, and envision future scenarios. Youth Foresight bridges generational gaps, fostering dialogue and co-creation. Simultaneously, intergenerational equity, a UN cornerstone, aligns seamlessly with Youth Foresight’s principles, emphasizing our moral obligation to future generations. However, there’s concern about slow progress, calling for revitalized intergenerational solidarity, particularly in areas such as environmental protection. The UN plays a crucial role in advancing … Interactive Workshop Empowers Young People to Discover their Urban FuturesRead More »