Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘sexual health and relationships

Youth representation? Where has youth participated? How about youth manipulation?

Is the topic of youth inclusion gaining more momentum with international organizations?  Are young people around the world playing a more important role in influencing decision-makers?

Government representation at the international level is an easy matter of a decision from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Youth representatives present more complications, as young people are often used to promote the agendas and interests of certain countries or agencies.

The defunct Egyptian President Morsi got it loud and clear as youth unfurled their anger and determination in mass monster demonstrations to oust a government that forgot the youth needs and wants…

The unemployment in Greece for youth under 25 is about 35%. The official rates in Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland are not dropping bellow 25%.

The trick is that in these States, in order to vent off the anger and frustration of the unemployed youth, governments keep deciding on early elections, even after a 6-month stint, and the results are the same in resolution and consequences.

Governments change quickly, but the youth are never asked to participate and be represented in how policies should be changed.

Cedric Choukeir,  the Regional Director of the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa, posted this July 2, 2013:

I recently attended the regional Arab States Conference for the ICPD +20 that took place from June 24 till June 26 in Egypt.

The aim of the conference was to review the progress made so far regarding the ICPD program of action over the past 19 years in the Arab region and to come up with a declaration that would feed into the UN General Assembly Special Session on ICPD Beyond 2014 that is planned to take place in September 2014.

Youth participation played a key role in shaping the declaration of the conference, as the unofficial representatives were given a 30 minute panel to lead, along with a seat in the negations of the drafting committee. The youth representative was being allowed to participate in the negotiations in the same manner as country delegations do; a practice that goes against UN protocol.

Unfortunately, youth participation was monopolized by the UNFPA sponsoredArab Youth Coalition for the ICPD Beyond 2014” that included mostly UNFPA partner youth NGOs and 15 International Planned Parenthood Federation staff members.

Donor funding highly influenced the coalition’s priorities as can be seen from their Call to Action, a replica of the UNFPA agenda.

In the region that has the highest youth unemployment rates in the World, the four page call to action fails to mention the issue even once.

This is a call out to country representatives and young people all around the world not be fooled by well branded youth representatives. It is important to ask:

who is funding their travel expenses and five star hotels?

why they are being funded?

which organizations they represent? and

how they decide on their priorities?

Most youth coalitions “created specifically” to advocate for one conference, such as the ICPD, build their advocacy messages with the aid of facilitators from the funding agency that direct them based on the agency’s goals. The selection process is also very important, as there is usually no open call for youth NGOs to join the coalition, and only the NGOs that are in line with the funding agency’s positions are invited to join.

These fake coalitions should ask youth in the Arab region what they truly want before monopolizing their voice and handing it over to an international organization with an agenda that is contradictory to the region’s priorities.

Note:  A comment said: “What about sexual health and relationships?”

Cedric’s replied: “Nope none of the kids we spoke to talked about that. They’re not interested. Their priorities are taking care of their brothers and sisters and housekeeping” “can you ask them about sex then?”

Cedric resumed: “In working with young Lebanese all over Lebanon over three years… when I open up the floor for them to talk about their priorities, not once has once of them even come close to mentioning the subject! I did an online poll in 24 hours for youth in the Arab region and asked about the priorities and I included sexual and reproductive health on purpose as an option, out of 501 votes, it got only 2…




December 2022

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