World Youth Conference- 25 August 2010
Today was the cross over day between the NGO Forum and the Government Forum, where the youth delegates handed over the NGO statement with the intention of it being incorporated into the final conference declaration.
The Government Forum Opening Ceremony included presentations by ministers, youth representatives and UN leaders. Thoraya AHmed Obaid, Chief Executive of UNFPA, already a favourite youth champion amoung the NGO delegates, made an impassioned speech that had two clear messages.
|Now is the time to invest in young people. And now is the time to promote mutual understanding and dialogue between young people, but also intergenerationally. The challenges are many but not insurmountable. If we work together we have the knowledge, skills and opportunities to reach our fullest potential. This is our chance to carry the voice of young people forward to the United Nations General Assembly.|
Ten NGO delegates were selected to read out the NGO statement at the Government plenary, including two Girl Guides, Anna from Australia and Wei Li from Singapore.
Disappointingly, most of the NGO delegates were unable to participate fully in the Government Forum. However, some of them were able to work with representatives of government delegations in afternoon roundtables, where the 12 themes of the conference were discussed and the youth delegates had the opportunity to lobby for the NGO statement to be included in the final conference declaration.
Cheryl from the UK was selected to represent the NGO forum in the global partnerships session. She says:
|At first it was very daunting as I walked into the room with four chairs on the stage and a room set out for 200! But after we reorganized things to be more conversational, it wasn’t so bad and now I know that I can do this sort of thing in the future, I have more confidence.|
Some of the youth delegates managed to visit the Global Interactive Forum for the first time. "We spent the day in the Global Interactive Forum. Here you can really feel that a lot of young people are working hard around the world to help achieve the MDG’s. There was a lot of energy and noise in the building!"
WAGGGS’ side event on “Empowering girls and young women through non-formal education” was also held today, with five of WAGGGS’ youth delegates speaking about how this has happened in their own countries.
- Monica from Denmark talked about how Girl Guiding had personal empowered her to be a leader in her community and to be self reliant and independent
- Cheryl from the UK explained that Guiding gave girls and young women the skills and opportunities to participate in decision making roles and become global citizens, emphasizing the role of peer education in this process
- Jen from the US demonstrated the role of non-formal education as complimentary to formal school learning, using the example of Girl Scout camps
- Rita from Lebanon outlined a project on hunger and poverty that the Girl Guides of Lebanon are doing, in which girls learn about the topic, but also how they can take action on the issues
- Yvone from Kenya emphasised that girls and young women really can be the change they want to see in the world through leadership and community action
We had five very different presentations with very different focuses, but the conclusion was clear: As a Girl Guide or Girl Scout you are discovering your fullest potential and are able to be a change in the world
Monica from Denmark
The day finished with a full delegation photo shoot. This is the largest WAGGGS group every to attend an international conference and the diversity of volunteers, delegates and staff really reflects the cross cultural and generational messages of the conference itself.