High-level Panel journey of 4 girl guides and girl scouts
5 November 2012
4 girl guides and girl scouts from UK, the Philippines and Nigeria share their account of the youth meeting with the High-level Panel on post-2015 agenda. They were part of the 23-strong delegation of young people from different parts of the world that met the HLP appointed by the UN Secretary General to develop and submit a report on post-2015 development framework.
If I may interrupt you for a moment, Mr Chair…
by Pippa Gardner, UK
This was the recurrent theme of the opening for the Youth Session where High Level Panel members asked what we would like to see in the Post-2015 agenda – the framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 3 years’ time. Nik Hartley, Chief Executive of Restless Development (a youth led development organisation), was five times interrupted by young people – myself included – in his attempt to set out a conventional view of what youth need from development. My point of order? ‘Young People need to learn about sex…’
Oh no, Mr Chair, I think you underestimate the situation. My reply started as follows:
“Whilst we do need greater knowledge; more importantly everybody, young and old, need to recognise, understand, and have assured, their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Attitudes to sexuality, sexual orientation and reproductive health are changing and these need to be recognised in the development agenda in order to halt abuses such as early marriage and relationship violence…”
I went on to highlight the issues of sex trafficking and the role of abuse by older men (including teachers) in causing teenage pregnancy, before finishing:
“It’s not just the clinic as a building standing there, but the provision of a confidential, safe space, where visitors, regardless of gender, won’t be judged.”
I felt the room was receptive to what I, and all the other young people present, had to say. And the reference of some of our issues, particularly relating to formal and non-formal education, in the plenary meeting with all civil society that followed is a sure sign that notes were taken and a lasting impression made.
On my way out of the building that evening I spoke to one of the staff members who had facilitated this panel meeting in London, and they were brimming with enthusiasm for the issues that we raised earlier in the day. They were also very optimistic that we had set a standard for youth engagement that should be carried on throughout the Post-2015 consultations and panel meetings that will culminate in a report to the Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, in May 2013.
So please seize this opportunity for youth to shape the development agenda through applying to attend panel meetings, taking part in country consultations, and online at www.theworldwewant2015.org .
After all it is us youth who shall implement and be responsible for the outcomes of these goals.
We are not a problem but a solution
By Michelle Alvarez, the Philippines
I envision a world where every girl and young woman has access to her rights. This is the world I want beyond 2015, and to be able to share my vision to the decision-makers is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Attending the UN High Level Panel Meeting Youth session revealed to me how powerful it is to gather together and speak out so that our unheard voices can reach them. I think it is a significant event for me and young people; being in one room with eminent persons around the world, listening to them as they also share their vision for the youth, and representing the 3.5 billion youth worldwide is overwhelming but it happened!
The post-2015 development agenda must ensure the inclusion of a focus on the role of young people in achieving human development goals. And as Graca Machel articulated in our roundtable discussion, there should not be segmentation; rather a holistic approach in including our innovations should be realized. Young people today are drivers of many economies; our positive energy and idealism are making us great catalysts for change. We are not a problem but a solution. As a young person who is passionate for change, I am making sure that this is just the beginning of speaking out for my generation. The outcomes yielded in this event must continue and break the barriers to fully realize our goals to be included in the development process.
We have goals to discuss, speeches to write and case studies to find
By Jessica Carmichael, UK
When I got an e-mail from the Advocate youth panel, offering the chance to represent Girlguiding UK and WAGGGS in the meeting with the High Level panel, I thought “Why not?”
As well as three other WAGGGS delegates, participants represented Restless Development and Raleigh International. They came from all over the world –Kenya,Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the USA, Nepal, Zambia; and they all had some experience of poverty and the fight against it.
We had a lot of preparation to do at our training day. There were goals to discuss, speeches to re-write and case studies to find. I picked Education to discuss and we spoke about some awesome examples of peer education, including 4, Girlguiding UK’s Peer Education Project.
The actual event, on Friday was at the Royal Society in London, and a good few members of the High Level Panel came to our youth event. Though unfortunately not David Cameron or the other co-chairs.
After the introduction and speeches we moved into six Round Table groups. I was with Tabby and Harry from the UK and Willice from Kenya and our ‘eminent persons’ were Paul Polman the CEO of Unilever and Amina Mohammed, the UN Special Adviser for post-2015. We spoke about the importance of events like these; youth networks and Willice’s experience of entrepreneurship programmes in Kenya. When I said that I thought the goals should include recommendations for developed countries as well as developing ones, both HLP members agreed wholeheartedly.
It was an incredible experience and it was great to meet all the other delegates and have the chance to have my say.
I will keep speaking until my voice is heard
By Edith Chukwu, Nigeria
The youth meeting with the High level panel on post-215 was a very interesting experience. I was part of the Education group - one of the themes for the HLP London meeting - and was able to share my experience on how a youth-led non-formal education project has changed the lives of girls in my community.
I was very privileged to be part of the youth group meeting the high level panel and speak for millions of youth all over the world and I am confident that the post-2015 development framework will be be inclusive of interests and priorities of vulnerable groups, including youth. I will keep my efforts until my voice is heard.