Focus put on youth livelihoods and participation in decision-making
During the World Youth Festival (WYF) where over 20,000 youth from 150 countries gathered in Sochi, Russia, UN-Habitat met with the National Youth Council of Russia to discuss possible joint activities to address the endemic issues of employment and the meaningful participation of youth in governance.
Both parties recognized that youth are a critical demographic nationally and globally in relation to sustainable urbanization. There are more people under the age of 25 today than ever, totaling over three billion or almost half of the total global population; 1.8 billion of that total are between the age of 12 and 24. These youth live, by and large, in cities and towns. It is estimated that as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18 by 2030.
In the Russian Federation, youth make up almost 20% of the population, a growing number of those youth live in urban centres, with almost 75% of the total population living in cities, a large number of these being youth who move to the city to access jobs and education.
“We at UN-Habitat were amazed at the energy, creativity and passion demonsrated at the WYF,” stated Douglas Ragan, chief of UN-Habitat’s Youth Unit, “We eagerly accepted the invitation by the National Youth Council of Russia to work together and develop joint activities for both youth in Russia and globally.”
One of the first activities following the WYF meeting is the signing of a joint MOU at the 9th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The MOU provides a roadmap for both agencies to develop programmes and policies that address the issues of livelihoods and engagement in governance.
Sergey Kochnev, Advisor to the Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Russia said “We believe its very important to integrate our youth organizations in the various events taking place all around the world. It’s impossible to develop our country without proactively involving a citizens and other interested stakeholders.”
Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to UN-Habitat Vladimir Lenev stressed: “The role of Youth in achievement of sustainable development goals can not be exaggerated. It is the young people who will be living tomorrow in the cities which we build today. That’s why it is very important to ensure that aspirations of Youth become an integral part of sustainable urban development. Memorandum which we signed today serves as a path to achieve this goal”.
Following WUF9, a joint workplan will be developed addressing the many common issues betwee the two agenices.