Uniting Across Generations for a Better Urban Future: Introducing UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board

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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 Advice

The 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 Participation

The 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 Participation

The 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 Progress

YAB 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.

Responsibilities of UN-Habitat

UN-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 Selection

Youth 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.


The 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 as a platform for young voices, ensuring their concerns are heard and promoting inclusive decision-making processes within UN-Habitat.

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