Unlocking the Potential of the CIS Youth in the Decade of Action (06/04/2021)

Nairobi, April 2021 – On April 6 the National Youth Council of Russia held side event Unlocking the Potential of CIS Youth in the Decade of Action within the framework of the 10th ECOSOC Youth Forum, which took place 7-8 April 2021.

A wide circle of participants entails representatives of youth-led and youth-oriented NGOs, regional and international youth organizations, national youth councils, SDG Youth Ambassadors, UN Youth Delegates, representatives of UN entities, government agencies responsible for youth policy implementation, and other stakeholders from the Commonwealth of Independent States and other UN member states. The scope of participants were not reduced to the CIS space, but included a wider geographical representation from all corners of the world.

Opening remarks were made by Grigory Petushkov, – Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Russia, Deputy Chairperson of the CIS Council for Youth Affairs, Olga Popova – Deputy Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Russia, Roman Banar’ – Secretary General of the National Youth Council of Moldova, – and Intigam Babaev, – Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan, – who shared their countries’ experience of working with youth, underscored pertinence of global youth agenda to the CIS region and commitment to engaging young people in achieving SDGs. It was mentioned that some countries of the region have a relatively large proportion of young population (e.g. in Azerbaijan, nearly 1 in 3 people between the ages of 14 and 29). 

Countries in CIS region has been actively engaging with international organisations and development partners. Doug Ragan – Programme Management Officer and Lead Specialist on Children and Youth at UN-Habitat’s Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit – mentioned that UN-Habitat is an agency with one of the longest-standing youth programming in the UN system – briefed on the partnership modalities and projects being implemented in the CIS region, as well as outlined potential areas of collaboration between the agency and CIS youth-led and youth-focused organisations.

However, the event still focused on youth, providing a platform for many young women and men to speak up on the issues that they consider most important for youth cooperation and advocacy for SDGs, within the region and beyond. Among others, the representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY), SDG educational organizations, as well as participants of Youth SDGs Ambassadors programme spoke to the audience at the event.

‘The reason to participate in the global policy process is to have a voice. If you are not at the table, you will be forgotten or taken advantage of, – warns Steve Lee from the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, – so we need to make sure that our voice is heard at the decision making table with the decision-making power. That also means that once at the table, you need to make quality decisions taking into account all those sitting at the table. CIS youth and Russian-speaking youth though are particularly underrepresented at the policy processes.‘

At the end of the event, the participants took the questions from the audience and exchanged their contacts for exploring further networking opportunities.