Seit zehn Jahren entsendet die Bundesjugendvertretung ehrenamtliche Jugenddelegierte zur UN-Generalversammlung. Im heurigen Jubiläumsjahr des Programmes reiste Miriam Egger als UN-Jugenddelegierte nach New York. Als offizieller Teil der österreichischen Delegation vertrat sie dort die Anliegen junger Menschen auf höchster internationaler Ebene. In ihren Blog-Beiträgen teilt Miriam Eindrücke über ihre Zeit in New York und ihre Tätigkeiten als UN-Jugenddelegierte.
Texbeitrag: Miriam Egger, UN-Jugenddelegierte
Youth participation in the decision-making process? Only if it is meaningful, inclusive and sustainable!
I had the pleasure of planning together with my fellow youth delegates from Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and the USA a side event about “youth participation in the decision-making process”. Side events are small events that are being organized by NGOs, UN member states or also by youth delegates. These events take place beside the official programme of the 3rd committee of the UN general assembly and are a possibility to highlight a topic of significant importance.
I and all my fellow youth delegates are certain that every young person deserves the opportunity to determine their future and the chance to participate in the political decision-making process. That’s why we – UN youth delegates – decided to broaden and deepen the discussion about the importance of youth inclusion and the positive impacts of youth participation with our side event.
What is the background for the topic? Numerous global crises such as the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, inequalities, mental health issues and climate change disproportionately affect 3.9 billion young people. In response, young people have connected and led local, national, and international campaigns for change by protesting on the streets, organising projects, leading initiatives, lobbying for their rights, and standing up to let their voices be heard. Young people will continue to face the greatest consequences of policies created in the present day. Moreover, as young people under the age of thirty comprise about half of the world’s population, youth inclusion and participation are critical to not only ensuring that present policies are representative of our world’s most pressing topics but also to finding innovative solutions. Young people display professionalism, motivation, ingenuity and interconnectedness and they are keen to share their ideals, visions, and ambitions to contribute to a more equal, just, and sustainable world. Youth is an active asset in all aspects of life bridging peace, inclusivity, and democracy. Nevertheless, the participation of young people in various processes is limited. This must change! All of us, and especially people in decision-making positions, need to acknowledge the power and impact of youth and include them in processes and decisions that affect them!
Therefore, I was more than happy that we were able to shed a light on this important issue through our side event. We were extremely happy and grateful that some phenomenal speakers joined us for our event and shared their story, experience, and expertise. During the keynote, Matthew Hunter from the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth shared with us the BeSeenBeHeard campaign, which follows the goal to improve the opportunities for youth participation in political decision-making processes in various countries. Afterwards, we had a thought-provoking panel discussion with Natalie Chung, co-founder of V’air Hong Kong, Biliana Sirakova, European Commission’s first Youth Coordinator, Krystal Cruz, Northeast Regional National Council Representative to the United Nations Foundation’s United Nations Association of the United States of America and AbdelQader Bin Ahmed AlSaqqaf, United Nations Youth Delegate for the United Arabic Emirates. Thereby, we heard inspiring examples of how young people can actively participate in democratic processes on different levels and the positive impacts their representation creates on society as a whole.
With this event, we wanted to broaden and deepen the discussion about meaningful, inclusive, and sustainable youth participation and how we hope for fruitful discussion about youth participation in the decision-making process in the future.