Vol. 8, No. 2, February 2011

WELCOME to the UN Youth Flash, a service of the United Nations Programme on Youth to keep you informed about the work of the UN on youth issues. You are encouraged to use and forward the information below to other networks. This update is prepared with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes as well as with contributions from youth organizations around the world. UN Youth Flash can also be read on-line at: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/flash.htm.

 In this issue:

Focus:   Youth and Poverty
News from the UN and other international organizations
Youth in Action 
Calendar of Events

FOCUS: Youth and Poverty

Youth and PovertyYouth and Poverty

Did you know that nearly 45 percent of all youth globally, aged 15-24, are living on less than 2 dollars a day? This equates to almost 515 million young people. The situation is especially profound for youth in developing countries, particularly for those living in rural areas. Among these youth some groups are even more likely to be poor, such as young women, youth with disabilities, youth living in countries with armed conflict, youth living as refugees or indigenous youth. 

It is important to recognize that poverty does not only include monetary aspects. It is a multidimensional concept. Poverty also includes a lack of access to material resources, such as land and capital. It can also be measured by a lack of basic social services, inadequate security and limited possibilities for participation in decision-making processes. Young people are particularly vulnerable to these various dimensions of poverty, since youth marks the transition from childhood dependency to independent adulthood. Without guidance and access to these resources, young people can face serious obstacles to accessing the institutions, markets, employment opportunities and public services that will enable their successful transition into becoming an independent adult.

Poverty is not a static experience. Depending on a person's social, economic and environmental situation, the circumstances of poverty are constantly shifting. These shifting circumstances are especially applicable to young people's lives. The global youth employment situation is a telling example of this vulnerability that young people world-wide are facing. Young people are often the last hired and the first fired. They often work with short-term contracts and can have difficulties in securing start up funding for new businesses. They are also more than twice as likely then adults to be unemployed.

Even though poverty is a great challenge for young people today, there is strong evidence that young people are now more than ever determined to improve their situation, and that of their communities. Today, young people are becoming active agents through individual as well as group action. As an example, young people are taking the lead in the development of social media and other Internet resources.  They are using these media to participate in major discussions on global issues and to build social networks- connecting with other young people both within and outside their own communities. They are also using these media to access information to improve their education, to find jobs, and to seek out other opportunities for skill development. While 71% of the population in developed countries are online today, only 21% have access to the Internet in developing countries. However, the trends are improving and every year more and more young people are gaining access to Internet. 

Through our Facebook consultation we asked young people why their inclusion is important in order tackle the challenges of poverty. In their view, poverty is something that affects everyone, of all ages, in all parts of the world. Therefore, youth also have responsibility to tackle the problems. Many of them felt that since youth often are among the most vulnerable to poverty, it is no surprise that many have experienced and dealt with its effects in various aspects of their lives. This first hand knowledge, together with young people's passion, innovation and creativity is believed to be crucial in the development and implementation of effective and successful poverty reduction strategies.

Young people are already proving themselves a major resource for development and for tackling poverty. Lovely Alcime is no exception. Lovely lives in the city of Cap Haitian with her aunt and 13 cousins. Like many Haitian youth who witnessed the devastating earth quake on 12 January 2010, Lovely felt the urge to rebuild her country through community empowerment.

Just 22 years old, Lovely works with over a thousand youth and adults in her community, empowering them to make a difference in their lives and those of others. She teaches people how to overcome their fears, stress and trauma, replacing their feeling of victim-hood with one of empowerment. She instils a sense of self-reliance and responsibility in her students, teaching them how to grow their own food using the resources they have around them, by composting, saving seeds, and planting in old tires and rice sacks. Lovely leads a peer-led Sexuality Education workshop about the causes and consequences of their sexual choices. She focuses not only on the physical aspects of sexuality, but on the emotional and social aspects as well. She also mobilized her students to volunteer as mentors for around 75 street children. While she works with all age groups, Lovely prefers working with youth. "Every time I teach, it's an opportunity to strengthen youth." 

Lovely's engagement in empowering her community has not always been the case. At the age of 13, Lovely was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition consisting of a hole in her heart which left her restricted in how much activity and excitement she could take on. She spent much of her childhood isolated, feeling different from other children, and hiding herself in her studies. Then, at the age of 19, she took a youth leadership training programme through Nouvelle Vie, a programme of the International Association for Human Values, which shifted her entire perspective of herself and her role in the world. Through this programme, she experienced how breathing and meditation freed her mind from her doubts and limitations, and inspired her sense of responsibility to transform her community. After 3 weeks of training, she went home, wanting to immediately put into practice all she had learned. Lovely has since grown into the model of wisdom and community responsibility that we see today, sharing her knowledge and experience with those around her. She has continued to develop herself and is currently being trained to teach a youth leadership programme. The more she shares, the more she sees that there are no more problems around her - only solutions that are waiting for her to discover.

If you want to find out more about what young people are doing to ensure successful progress of the MDGs go to our facebook page (www.facebook.com/UNyouthyear). Through the facebook page you can also participate in this month's consultation "Why do you think young people's inclusion are important in tackling poverty?" You may come across ideas for initiatives that could make a difference in your city, or find a forum that might help you to develop new skills.

To find more activities taking place throughout the Year and to get inspiration on what you can do in your community, please visit our calendar of events at: http://social.un.org/youthyear.  



NEWS from UN and other international organizations

(Find out more about the work of United Nations system organizations on youth issues at:

CRC: General Comment on the Health of Children from WHO, UNICEF, World Vision and Save the Children

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has requested the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the NGOs World Vision and Save the Children to support the development of a CRC General Comment on the Health of Children aged up to 18 years. The General Comment will serve as an authoritative statement and guidance document on how to improve child health - with a focus on universal coverage and care - through the systematic application of the CRC as a leading normative and legal framework. It will be an important contribution to strengthening accountability for child and adolescent health, based on internationally recognized and accepted legal standards.

For more information, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/

CSD: Youth to play a key role in shaping agenda on sustainable development for CSD-19 and Rio2012

As the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), enters its nineteenth session (CSD-19), youth voices will weigh in on the thematic issues of transport, chemicals, waste management, mining and the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption & Production Patterns.  Additionally, CSD-19 will look ahead at substantive preparations toward "Rio2012: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development". From 28 February to 4 March, the major group sector representing children and youth is invited to contribute to the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for CSD-19 in New York.  From 7 to 8 March, PrepCom II is expected start the planning process for Rio2012, where representatives for youth stakeholders can continue to plan the way forward with member states.

For more information, please contact Beppe Lovoi at: lovoi@un.org. Registration information for CSD-19 IPM and PrepCom II can be found at: http://esango.un.org/irene/. For more information on major groups, please visit: http://www.uncsd2012.org/major-groups/

DPI: Announcing the Launch of Global Model United Nations 2011 

The Third Global Model United Nations Conference (GMUN) 2011, organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), will be held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, on 10-14 August 2011. The theme of the conference this year is "Sustainable Development: Advancing human progress in harmony with nature". The conference will be hosted by the Metropolitan City of luncheon, in cooperation with the United Nations Association of the Republic of Korea. Deadline for applications as official are 15 March. Deadline for applications for delegates are 15 May.

For more information, please visit www.un.org/gmun or contact education-outreach@un.org.

FAO: Drawing Competition for the 2011 International Year of Forest

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have launched a drawing competition for the 2011 International Year of Forest, which will allow children and youth to explore, through their drawings, why forests are important to our world. The competition is held as part of a youth education initiative intended to enhance awareness on the importance of forests among children and young people and to provide them with knowledge that can help them to become active agents of change in our society. The competition is open to children and young people from the age of 6 to 20 years of age. Deadline for submission is 30 June 2011.

For more information, please visit: www.fao.org/climatechange/youth/en/ or contact children-youth@fao.org .

IOM: Thousands of Children Seriously Affected by Extreme Winter Rains Return to School

More than 5,000 children are returning to school in Colombia thanks to International Organization for Migration's (IOM) response to heavy rains that have affected 478,000 families and damaged 316,000 homes. IOM's cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Education stands at the core of refurbishing schools, providing temporary classrooms and furnishing technical, administrative and logistical support. In addition to $US18 million of funding from the Ministry of Education, IOM and United States Agencies for International Development (USAID) are contributing a further US$750,000. Moreover, IOM has built more than 750 temporary shelters in the affected areas and has provided water and sanitation to 500 families. IOM assistance has also enabled 1,247 homeless persons to relocate to homes rented by the government.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM Bogota, Tel: +57 1 639 7777 or by email at: jgallo@iom.int   


UNESCO: Youth and Social Transformations: Involvements and Initiatives


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Office in Moscow and the International NGO "Federation for Peace and Conciliation" will host a scientific and policy oriented conference "Youth and Social Transformations: Involvements and Initiatives" on March 2-3, 2011, as a part of the UN International Year of Youth. The aim of the project is to set up a multilateral dialogue on the modern youth policy in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)  within a scientific and policy oriented conference which will bring together researchers, experts, scientists, teachers and students, UNESCO Chairs, youth organizations, non-governmental organizations and policymakers. The conference will showcase a presentation and discussion of the results of pilot research projects on the ways of activating the participation of youth in social transformation conducted in Russia and Azerbaijan in 2010 with the support of the UNESCO Moscow Office.  

For more information, please visit: http://www.unesco.org/en/moscow/dynamic-content-single-view/news/

 UN-HABITAT: New online application portal for the Urban Youth Fund

 The Urban Youth Fund goes online! The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has developed a new online application portal that will be opened for the third call for application to the Urban Youth Fund. Chief of the Youth Unit in UN-Habitat, Subramonia Ananthakrishnan, says: "This new application portal will make it much easier for youth groups globally to submit applications that fulfil all the necessary requirements. We are very excited and are grateful to partner with IRIS Knowledge Foundation in this important work." The portal and all the documents are available in English, French and Spanish. Deadline for application is 15 April 12pm GMT.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unhabitatyouthfundorg/. Information about previous grantees and guidelines can also be found at the portal, or by visiting http://www.globalyouthdesk.org.

UNICEF: Re-launches "Voices of Youth", an online platform for adolescents and young people to express their views 

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is now re-launching its website "Voices of Youth" which is a vibrant online meeting place where young people around the world explore, discuss and take action on global problems. The website contains interactive games and lively discussions boards and is available in English, French and Spanish.

For more information, please visit: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en

UN Women: Youth Perspectives on Development: Gender Equality and New Technologies

Following "Young Women's Forum" organized during the World Youth Conference in Guanajuato, Mexico last August, UN Women is mounting a parallel event to the 55th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women entitled Youth Perspectives on Development: Gender Equality and New Technologies. Youth leaders as well as UN Women representatives and non-traditional actors will participate. The event will take place on 2 March 2011 from 10:00a.m.-12:30p.m. The event will facilitate greater inter-generational dialogue between UN-Women, youth actors, as well as youth-focused entities; enhance and give voice to the priorities of young men and women for the achievement of gender equality and women's empowerment in realization of key developmental priorities and the Millennium Development Goals; engage new actors in the effort to promote political participation and leadership development including men and boys; and, broadly promote the agency's agenda for young women and girls.

For information please contact Jimmie Briggs at +1-917-443-1940 or jimmiebriggs@gmail.com.



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Meaningful Participation by Young People in International Decision-making: Principles, Practice and Standards for the Future
The British Council and the Open Society Foundations are supporting the London Symposium which is taking place on 16-18 May 2011, in partnership with the British Youth Council and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council. The event will bring together a  diverse group of over 60 stakeholders from around the world engaged in youth participation and international programmes. It will explore the approaches and settings for youth participation in international governance and help to strengthen the development of international policy and practice in this field. The symposium will distil good practice and provide the foundation for internationally recognised and supported standards for youth participation in international decision-making. It will comprise multi-stakeholder dialogues; thematic working groups; focused input from decision-makers, and a voice for young people.

For more information and to register your interest, please contact Sheila Mykoo at: sheila.mykoo@britishcouncil.org or by phone at:  +44 (0) 20 7389 4217.

World Scout Jamboree: Invitation for participation

Every four years young people from all over the world gather in a different country to have an intercultural and educational experience. This experience is an event called the World Scout Jamboree. It is the largest regular event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement and the next one will take place from 27 July to August 7, 2011 in Rinkaby, Sweden. The World Scout Jamboree would like to offer your organisation the opportunity to join the Global Development Village, an interactive part of the Jamboree which aims to give young people new skills, share tools, and create a commitment to make the world a better place. The 22nd World Scout Jamboree aims to give an experience of a lifetime for 38.000 Scouts from more than 150 countries.

For more information, please visit: www.worldscoutjamboree.se or contact: info@worldscoutjamboree.se

YouthActionNet® Global Fellowship Program

A program of the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet® seeks to develop a new generation of socially-conscious global citizens who create positive change in their communities, their countries, and the world. Each year, 20 young social entrepreneurs are selected as YouthActionNet® Global Fellows following a competitive application process. Supported by the Sylvan Laureate Foundation, the yearlong Global Fellowship includes: skill-building, networking and resources, and advocacy.

For more information and to apply, please visit: www.youthactionnet.org/index.php?fuse=apply or send an email to: yan@iyfnet.org


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"Child and Adolescent Migrants from Central America in Southern Mexico Towns" (IOM)

 The report, published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with the Mexican National Commission for Human Rights, examines the plight of young migrants in Mexico's southern border region. Estimates count 400,000 irregular Central American migrants in Mexico with an unknown number of minors among them. The report, 'Child and Adolescent Migrants from Central America in Southern Mexico Towns', is the first of its kind and one of the few reports to focus on Central American children and adolescents temporarily residing and working along Mexico's southern border. It reveals situations of physical and verbal abuse and exploitation. Through its sub-office in Tapachula, Chiapas, IOM provides training and in-kind support to Central American migrants in Mexico. The study is available in Spanish and can be found at: www.oim.org.mx/mini_s/estudio_trata2010/

For more information, please contact Mariela Guajardo, Tel: +52 55 5536 3922/3954, or by e-mail at: mguajardo@iom.int

"The State of the World's Children 2011: Adolescence - An age of opportunity" (UNICEF)

 "The State of the World's Children 2011: Adolescence - An age of opportunity" examines the challenges facing the world's adolescents. The report includes: Perspectives of young people and adults on issues including the environment, poverty, violence, migration, indigenous people, gender, HIV and AIDS, the media and more; Policy recommendations in the following areas: improved data collection and analysis, creating a supportive environment for adolescent rights, fostering spaces for youth participation, investing in education and tackling poverty and inequity; Statistical tables on basic indicators - nutrition, health, HIV/AIDS, education, demographic and economic indicators, gender and child protection - as well as new tables on adolescents and equity, with the latest available data for 196 countries and territories.

To read the report, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/sowc2011/fullreport.php


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The United Nations Programme on Youth is pleased to announce the recent launch of its online Calendar of Events for youth-focused and youth-led activities organized by the UN system, Governments, NGOs and youth groups.  The Calendar serves as a central database of youth-related activities taking place in the spirit of the International Year of Youth.  Posting and searching activities is simple and takes only minutes.  To view the Calendar and to post information, please visit: http://social.un.org/iyyevents.  

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