September 4, 2011

AYICC at the African Urban Youth Assembly Abuja, Nigeria, 26-28 July 2011

The World Urban Youth Assembly has become the leading global platform for youth to deliberate on urban issues. At the World Urban Forum in Vancouver, youth requested the establishment of a special fund to support youth-led initiatives in pursuance of the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Development Goals. At the 21st Session of the Governing Council in 2007, Governments passed Resolution 21/6 that established the Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development. The Fund targets young people most in need of assistance and in particular the vulnerable youth in urban slums.

At the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, youth strongly emphasized that they wished to both be recognized for their work and expertise in local and international development, and to be included in policy development. Resolution 22/4, which was passed by Governments at the 22nd Session of the Governing Council, encourages governments to give priority and support to youth-led development initiatives and invites multilateral agencies, governments, the private sector and civil society to listen to youth and develop policies on their development based on participatory processes. The resolution further requests the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, to provide the necessary mechanisms for the World Urban Youth Assembly to be recognized as an integral part of the World Urban Forum.

In Africa, there is overwhelming evidence of the risk factors among young people growing up in urban settings. Severe urban overcrowding and decay; increasing poverty and unemployment; family and community breakdown, on-going wars, effects of climate change; child and youth exploitation; and trans-national trafficking and crime are multiplying the security and range of risks to which young people in African cities are exposed. Young people are heavily affected by the absence of sustainable employment.

By 2015, the population aged 15-24 years in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach some 200 million, and the population aged 15-34 is projected to be 343 million. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world that has registered a sharp increase in the total number of young working poor (those subsisting on less than US$ 1 per day).

Recognizing the gravity of this situation and in line with the proposed theme for the next World Urban Forum VI in Naples, Italy 2012 title: “Prosperity of cities: Balancing Ecology, Economy and Equity”, an African Urban Youth Assembly has been organized from 26-28 July 2011 by UN HABITAT in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Youth Development in Nigeria. The conference took place at the Yar’Adua International Conference Center in Abuja, Nigeria.

More than 100 youths from all across Africa were invited for the conference, especially youth leaders who are involved in business, governance, media and environment protection at the regional and country levels.

The main topics that were dscussed included: Youth in the Prosperity of Citite, Urbanization and Urban Youth Employment in Africa, Climate Change, UNFCCC COP17, ICT, Entrepreneurship, Youth and Urban Governance, Equity, Safety, Youth in Arts, Culture and Sport.

Some AYICC leaders were invited as speakers to some of the sessions. Mr. Urias Goll, AYICC Advisor from Liberia,, spoke to the session on the session on Youth and Urban Governance; Ms. Esther Agbarakwe, AYICC Coordinator for Nigeria spoke on the session on UNFCCC COP17, Ms Yvette Ampaire, AYICC Coordinator for Ugandan and Dr. Landry Ndriko Mayigane, AYICC Regional Coordinator for East Africa spoke on the session on Climate Change: What does youth have to do about it?.

The conference went well and accomplished the following outcomes:

  • Preparation of a comprehensive African Urban Youth position paper on employment and equity challenges to be presented to at the next World Urban Forum VI
  • The preparation of key recommendations to governments aimed at attaining MDGs specific to economy, equity and climate change from an African Youth Perspective
  • The participants acquiring new knowledge and being sensitized thereby reinforcing (Strengthening) capacity of African Urban Youth organizations to engage on the key specific issue of urbanization and employments opportunities.

Prepared by Dr. Landry N. Mayigane, AYICC Regional Coordinator for East Africa

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