MYD Children and Youth Declaration Speech during the 9th World Urban Forum, Kuala Lumpur

Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham, from the Malaysian Youth Delegation, delivers the Youth Declaration at the Children and Youth Roundtable, during the 9th World Urban Forum.

12th February 2018

Honourable Speaker, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Children and Youth,

Good afternoon and Selamat Datang ke Malaysia.

My name is Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham from the Malaysian Youth Delegation, and I stand here today with the young people of the world.

The Malaysian Youth Delegation is a group of young, passionate Malaysians representing the local youth climate movement at international conferences, such as the annual Conference of Youth (COY) and Conference of Parties (COP), part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). MYD connects local Malaysian youth to a global network, called YOUNGO, which also serves as the global focal point for SDG13 within the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY).

Dedicated to raising awareness of climate policies amongst Malaysians, the delegates are mentored and trained to translate technical policies into more relevant and relatable information for the public. MYD hosts speaking engagements and capacity building training series, with various climate experts and organisations, to better understand the current landscape of local and international climate policy. With that, MYD endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits.

The Malaysian Youth Delegation was established in 2015 and has successfully sent 18 youths to UNFCCC COP. MYD has held multiple training series to date, and has impacted over 500 people.

Today, I will be giving an overview of youth engagement at the WUF, specifically on the outcomes of the youth assembly, and the outcomes of the youth declaration.

The 9th World Urban Forum has provided a platform for all stakeholders to be involved in discussing the New Urban Agenda, with the Sustainable Development Goal mandate of “leaving no one behind,” including, and especially, the children and youth. For the past five days, the children and youth have been actively engaging with putting forward innovative urban ideas and solutions, as well as presenting and contributing perspectives on current, pressing urban issues. Thus, enhancing intergenerational dialogue for inclusion and “cities for all”.

We, the UN Habitat Youth Advisory Board, Major Group for Children and Youth, youth-led organizations, youth-and-child serving organizations, and participants at the 9th World Urban Forum are calling upon Governments including Cities and Urban authorities:

  1. To develop diverse youth participation accessibility policy, guidelines and standards to guide governments, local authorities, , civil society organisations , private sector and others on how to include and engage with different youth with different needs especially youth with disabilities, young women, refugee youth, youth in conflict cities and others.
  2. Involve youth in peacebuilding , security and conflict resolution activities as per the mandate of Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security. These activities could include peace talks negotiations, elections Observation missions to strengthen accountability for youth responsive democratic processes and systems.
  3. Develop normative and operational programmes in partnership with major groups and other stakeholders, including national and local governments, youth civil society, and multilateral agencies that engage youth in the key focus areas of UN-Habitat, the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda such as: housing, basic services, municipal finance, local economic development, land tenure, inclusive and participatory governance and urban planning and design, public space.
  4. Build on and increase the support of UN-Habitat’s programmes globally, to include information and offer expertise on inclusion and accessibility to cities, urban authorities, youth-led organisations, CSOs and the private sector. This would include how to engage with diverse youth populations with diverse needs and share tools, resources, training, and best practices, such as, the One Stop Youth Resource Centres, the global, regional and national Urban Youth Funds, the Innovate Africa programme, Youth Advisory Board, the newly established World Urban Youth Councils Network (WUYCN) and the UN-Habitat’s youth research and publications programme.
  5. Expand the tax basis of local governments with due consideration of horizontal inequality between municipalities. It is often the case that the local governments have so much mandate with little finance. The municipality should have adequate resources to meet their mandatory delivery through transfers from national governments and allocate youth-led responsive budgeting.
  6. Promote horizontal and vertical integration of governance in order to address the territorial continuum as such, as opposed to rural and urban dichotomy. Multi-level governance is key to address different aspects of our lives. Without such a corporation, there is always a hall in delivering the social protection floor as well as tackling environmental degradations.
  7. The enabling environment for successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda requires a shift in pre-analytical views; from growth-centric treating planet and people as incidental externalities to one that considers the economy is a subset of the society which is a subset of the environment. Sustainable urban development should primary respect human rights, ensure inclusion, long-term resilience, equitable societies, and respect of planetary boundaries and biologic carrying capacities.
  8. Achieve necessary financial resources as well as providing a flexible economy, such as through a minimum and maximum income ratio. This also tackles the perpetual dichotomy where the informal sector in urban areas is considered wrong while formalism is a fundamental solution. By providing a social protection floor, without formalising, it can provide the liveable space for all.
  9. Engage young people in enhancing the science-policy interface through citizen-generated and collected data from both formal, informal, traditional and indigenous sources; participatory and community-based technology assessment; building digital and complementary skills that promote sustainable livelihoods; and designing appropriate innovations that fill gaps in the territorial dimension of sustainable urban development.
  10. Highlight the importance of behavioral change decolonizing approach of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) at the household and community level to address food sovereignty and security, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  11. Promote interlinkages between the territorial dimensions of different SDGs, as well as across sustainable development frameworks to promote policy coherence, avoid duplication of efforts, interoperability of monitoring systems, and inform national and subnational plans.
  12. Support that collectivisation, organised bargaining and intra as well as inter-constituency awareness building as an invaluable tool to a successful bottom up realisation of NUA and 2030 Agenda, keeping in mind the importance of bottom up top down policy coherence.
  13. Address underlying risk factors that hinder the ability to respond to both natural and human-induced disasters – these include reduced spaces for stakeholder engagement, debt, and more.
  14. Private sector and businesses should take into consideration corporate social responsibility that sustains cultural values, environment and promote equitable urban development.
  15. Strengthen the institutional linkage between the World Urban Forum and the High Level Political Forum process so as to create a stronger follow up and review mechanism of the NUA through establishment of intergovernmental components within the WUF.
  16. Institutionalise stakeholder engagement in accordance with the NUA paragraph 162 which operationalise Major Groups and other Stakeholders, the primary mechanism for participation of sustainable development processes,
  17. All parties should follow up on the declaration as a framework.

According to Nelson Mandela, “The youth of today, are the leaders of tomorrow.” But I respectfully disagree. Children and youth are the foundation of the city today. We are part of the problem, but we are also part of the solution. Encourage, engage and evolve the city with the energy of the youth in the process of the New Urban Agenda, towards Agenda 2030.

Thank you.

Written collectively by United Nations Major Group for Children & Youth UN MGCY
Delivered by Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham


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