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The recent My World 2015 Survey

MY World is a global survey for citizens led by the United Nations and partners. It aims to capture people’s voices, priorities and views; so that global leaders can be informed as they begin the process of defining the new development agenda for the world. Through creative online and offline methods, MY World asks individuals which six of sixteen possible issues they think would make the most difference to their lives. The sixteen issues have been built up from the priorities expressed by poor people in existing research and polling exercises and they cover the existing Millennium Development Goals, plus issues of sustainability, security, governance and transparency.

 

 

Globally, over 3.5 million people have participated in the My World Survey, which makes one in every 2000 people. From this, close to 2.7 million are young people below the age of 30 that have voted in this survey. The young people in India have conducted the survey in rural communities, slums, schools and youth clubs. They have not only voted themselves but also brought in the voices of the most marginalized groups. From a total of 600,000 votes from India, young people have contributed 500,000 votes. The most crucial component is the unpacking of the votes where young people put jobs as the foremost priority, followed by better education, health care, water, host responsive government and gender equality respectively. For India, it is not only important to value their voices but also leverage on their actions and partnerships.

 

 

On this International Youth Day, we make a call to the government of India to strengthen accountability to and with the youth and strengthen inclusive youth participation from local, sub-national and national levels. It is vital that the present youth policy is implemented with adequate resource and structures and mechanisms that strengthen youth engagements at all levels. A call to strengthen young women’s leadership and engagement at all levels is vital to eliminate gender equality in India in all its shapes and forms. Furthermore, the government of India should ensure that an inclusive youth development and participation agenda is rolled out where special efforts are made to reach out to youth from minority groups, indigenous youth, youth for disabilities, LGBTQI youth and others. The GOI should embrace inclusive use of technology to reach out and engage with young people both using online and offline strategies, thereby bridging the technology gap.

 

 

The Indian government should make efforts to work closely with the UN system and strengthen youth participation in the UN System Wide Action Plan to be implemented at national level including an establishment of a youth advisory board. The Government of India should embrace the UN’s youth delegate’s program and nominate representatives to the GA through an open transparent process. The Indian Government should work with the BRICS mechanism to strengthen youth engagement across BRICS countries and also increase their investment in youth employment, entrepreneurship and skill building. The youth skills have been identified as the core to changing their and their communities’ conditions. Finally, the Indian government should join this global call for establishing the Global Youth Skills Day. Most importantly, a youth mechanism should be created at the Prime Minister’s office to monitor the progress of deliverables on youth with their participation.

 

 

About the author: Ravi Karkara is the Global Adviser Youth & Strategic Partnerships for UN Millennium Campaign and UN Habitat

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India's first Mars mission. Space programs are indeed a thing of pride for the 21st century. But there are strategic questions, chief among these is, what type of Space Programs? For Developing countries, Space Programs should reflect developmental needs, ie. if governments intend spending on space missions, which are usually expensive, let it be space missions that will have positive return effects to developmental needs, enabling space act as a complementing tool for developmental plans. Space missions that allow effective communications should be a priority, comunications to support e-commerce, mobile telephony, e-health or mobile health, e-education, Agriculture, security and Defence. With India's slowing down economy, with 1 in 5 people still living under the poverty line, still unstable economy, spending US $ 73 Million for a Mars Space mission, at a time when growth in the Indian econmy is slowing down, for a Space Mission to Mars, from a professional point of view, is not a priority.

~Engineer Ndubuisi Idejiora-Kalu Chairs the Working Group on Development, Environment, Agriculture, Democracy & Governance of the IYC Global Issues Department, IYC Policy Unit.

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Reports on Tunisian secularism prepared by foreign researchers often reference the Tunisian leaders of the nationalist movement, and Habib Bourguiba in particular, who were influenced by the French vision of secularism as articulated in the 1905 French law. This law enacted the separation of religion and the state in France, a concept that was included in the French constitution of 1946 and later in the 1958 draft constitution. Influenced by the French experience, this vision was considered appropriate at the time among certain echelons of Tunisian society; however, the discourse surrounding the ideals of secularism in Tunisia remains in contrast with the real influence of such concepts among broader Tunisian society.

 

In the 1959 constitution, provisions regarding the separation of religion and the state are largely absent: Article 1 tates, “Tunisia is a free, independent, and sovereign state, with Islam as its religion, Arabic its language, and republicanism its order.” Likewise, a significant part of the legislation drafted at the time took into consideration the issue of the religious identity of the state. Such contradictions found in the Tunisian national and religious identity are at the heart of the current societal and political divisions that have continued to stall Tunisia’s transition. If the secularist political trends do not learn from their failures in the October 2011 elections and remain disconnected from the broader Tunisian population, they will become politically powerless in the long term, and Tunisian politics will become further polarized.

 

The Bourguiba Experience: Reconciliation between Islam and Modernity

 

Commenting on the constitution drafted under the leadership of Bourguiba, Tunisian Professor Abdallah al-Ahmadi says that “despite the fact that a certain group of people of varying inclinations disagreed on some aspects of its articles, [the constitution] was influenced by the laws of Islamic sharia.” Even the issue of having multiple wives was put forth for discussion and debated by Arab reform leaders. Indeed, religious figures such as Egyptian Muhammad Abdo were among those who considered the matter on a number of occasions.

 

When Bourguiba was asked “Are you for laïcité [French secularity]?” he answered that he was “not Ataturk,” affirming that despite Bourguiba’s direction of reform and modernity, it was accompanied by a policy of reconciliation between Islam and modernity rather than a strict secularist approach aiming for the separation of religion and politics. In fact, President Bourguiba often relied on Quranic verses and prophetic Hadith in his political speeches, and he consulted with sheikhs of the prominent al-Zaytuna mosque to support his political decisions.

 

Discussion surrounding the implementation of the French vision of secularism in Tunisia must be approached in relative terms; after all, at the time of Bourguiba, Tunisia was not only open to France, but to the world. This was made apparent by its ratification of international treaties in the fields of human rights and women’s rights. While these dynamics paved the way toward a fundamental shift within the intellectual and legal spheres, broader Tunisian society was not indoctrinated by these ideological changes. As such, the evolution of secularism must be approached as a phenomenon which occurred specifically among Tunisia’s elites.

 

Thus, it can be concluded that prior to the 2011 revolution, Tunisia was not generally secularist, and the implementation of this concept, whether according to the French vision or otherwise, had not been established. This reality of secularism in Tunisia today helps explain the results of the October 2011 elections.

 

The October 2011 Elections

 

The elections of October 2011were viewed as an ideological battle between political factions, in which varying parties competed for a stake in the foundation of a new Tunisia.

 

Some secular candidates saw victory as inevitable, thinking that their participation in the revolution would vindicate them at the polls. Many thought that it was necessary to lay down the foundation of secularism according to the French model, and that it would not conflict with the collective consciousness that had developed in light of a secularist environment. This incorrect reading of reality reflected the great gap between the elites’ imaginations and the reality of the population.

 

Religion is important to the Tunisians, most of whom are Muslim, and for whom the mosque represents a part of their identity. The secularist parties could not sell the idea of secularism to the broader Tunisian population. This was due to their hostile discourse on religion, at least as it was perceived by the general public, in addition to the smear campaigns launched against secularist parties by religious figures in mosques, especially after they fell under the control of Islamist leadership.

 

Some secularists were so optimistic about the prospects for change after the revolution that they incorrectly associated regime change with a broader intellectual revolution. In the wake of an environment that discouraged freedom of expression, and where the people preferred to sacrifice personal freedoms for the sake of security, such an intellectual awakening among broader Tunisian society was hardly possible.

 

In a reading of the October 2011 elections results, American researcher Quinn Rask wrote, “despite Ennahda’s victory and the continual expansion of its political network, secularism remains a strong political force in Tunisia after independence. Despite the fact that the secular vote was dispersed among a large number of individual parties, they constitute 34% of the seats in the Constituent Assembly, faring far better than the secular left wing parties [in other Arab countries such as Egypt].”

 

In Egypt, for example, the secularists have remained scattered and divided. It is possible that Tunisian secularists have learned their lesson, especially after the success of former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi in uniting parties of various ideological backgrounds in their common defense of a modernist vision. Likewise, the parties have matured, changing their political rhetoric from speeches exalting the French model of secularism to more practical speeches tackling issues that directly affect the Tunisian people.

 

Secularist parties in Tunisia will certainly play an important role in defending the country’s modernist stance. Even if they remain in the opposition, they have the capacity to exercise oversight of the government. However, in the long run, Tunisian society will continue to witness great transformations. If the secularist factions and intellectual elites remain removed from the realities of the Tunisian population, there is a good chance that they will become politically obsolete.

 

Montassar Jemmali 

 

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SynergY the Youth Group initiative of Chapter United Arab Emirates by Simran Vedvyas-Supports Dubai Cares Walk for Education 2013

Dubai Cares and its initiatives are supporting millions worldwide by their support to Education.

SynergY youth led by Simran Vedvyas, who is an active Volunteer and has promoted the initiatives since 2007  by participating in the Million Book Challenge, Walk for Education, Star Purchases to support School Feeding Programs, showed cheerful smiles on the Friday Morning and their High Spirits created liveliness filling energy into the event.

Cheering, and singing the Youth WALKED

TO SUPPORT A GREAT CAUSE AND HAVE FUN

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The CITES wildlife summit is ongoing in Bangkok from 3rd to the 14th of March.  CITES  which is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is an international agreement between governments which aims to ensure survival of species by preventing their decimation or extinction  by regulating international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants .

Ivory trade is one of the major causes for concern as the demand for ivory in some countries is causing almost 12% decline, annually,  in the population of elephants and rhinos.

When I was in Kenya, during a wildlife safari we came across the magnificent rhinos ( as pictured below ) which are now very high on the IUCN endangered list. Despite all the measures being taken to protect them, the demand for ivory is driving poachers to take extreme risks to kill these magnificent animals.

As Children and Youth , we must raise awareness and drive public opinion to change international and local rules to stop trade which threatens the survival of species. The Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, pledged to end the ivory trade in Thailand when she spoke at the opening of the CITES wildlife summit on Sunday. This is a great step in the right direction and gives us hope for the future.

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The CEO of Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), Raphael Godlove Ahenu Jr, has called on world leaders to put in place prudent interventions to get more than one billion in the world today, the great majority of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty, mostly in the developing countries out of poverty.

In a statement to mark this year's International Women's Day , in Sunyani, Mr. Ahenu Jr. said even though Women are the backbone of the rural economy, especially in the developing world, yet they receive only a fraction of the land, credit, inputs (such as improved seeds and fertilizers), agricultural training and information compared to men.

According to him, empowering and investing in rural women would significantly increase productivity, reduce hunger and malnutrition and improve rural livelihoods.

He said increasing women's access to land, livestock, education, financial services, extension, technology and rural employment would boost their productivity and generate gains in agricultural output, food security, economic growth and social welfare. He noted that about 70 per cent of the developing world's 1.4 billion extremely poor people living in rural areas and key areas of concern are Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Touching on the theme for this year's celebration: The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum", the CEO stressed the need for the African Leaders to give priority to gender issues to help close the gender gap between women and men.

He commended President John Dramani Mahama for appointing many women as Ministers; however he was quick to add that President Mahama should do more to appoint more women as Deputy Ministers and DCEs in his next appointments.

He hinted that as part of activities to commemorate the day, GLOMEF will in April this year honoured three queen mothers in the Brong-Ahafo region for their contribution towards the chief institution in the region and their role in empowering women and children.

The statement also solute all women achievers for their immense contribution towards the development of women in particular and world as a whole

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While attending  the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro , Brazil  I became a Climate Justice Ambassador for the global organization , Plant-for-the-Planet , and we planted two saplings right in the middle of RIOCENTRO while the Earth Summit was in progress.

Thereafter , I was appointed as the ACADEMY  COORDINATOR for the UAE . It was also then , in June , that I  started working on a plan to bring the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative to the UAE. Over the next several weeks, our team of youth members made plans , invitations sent out , meetings held with several schools and finally I was ready to roll out.

We finalized 22nd September as the day of the event. The magnificent ballroom of the Hotel Intercontinental,  located in the picturesque Dubai Festival City, was the venue of the academy. I was also able to make arrangements for planting several saplings which was basically at the core of our academy. In all , we planted 64 saplings.

I composed and performed a song with a green message and the entire audience joined in the chorus.

Our academy was full of energetic and enthusiastic discussions and received an overwhelming response and we had a full house of  students, some of them even drove down from different cities, such as Abu Dhabi ( 2 hours drive ) , Ajman and Sharjah.

I concluded the academy by quoting Mark Twain, who said “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” All of us agreed that this academy was just the first step and together we could and should work towards a more sustainable future.

So , STOP TALKING , START PLANTING for a better tomorrow!

 The academy was a huge success and drew media attention as well.

Report in Gulf News :

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/uae-s-first-plant-for-the-planet-academy-takes-flight-1.1080185

UAE’s first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy takes flight

Students from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi take part

  • Staff Report
  • Published: 17:48 September 23, 2012

Dubai: Scores of UAE students pledged support to the battle against climate change in the UAE’s first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy held at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City on Saturday.

Plant-for-the-Planet is a global children’s initiative where children will take on the role to empower other children in Plant-for-the-Planet Academies. It aims to train over one million children in up to 20,000 Academies worldwide by 2020.

Dubai resident Kehkashan Basu, 12, who represented the UAE youth at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil in June, organised the event as the Academy Coordinator.

She passed on the Academy’s stong message “Stop talking. Start planting.” to students from Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi.

 

Report in the ‘7 DAYS’ newspaper :

http://www.7daysindubai.com/Meet-UAE-s-green-girl-spreading-eco-message/story-17021475-detail/story.html

 

Meet the UAE's green girl spreading eco message

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Young student is encouraging other children to spread the eco message and get planting trees, reports Myra Philp...

Schoolgirl Kehkashan Basu discovered at an early age that her birthday was World Environment Day and she’s been on a mission to help save the planet ever since.

The 12-year-old has just returned to Dubai from the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development where she won a UN award and was the youngest delegate. In Rio she called on children around the world to act now to save the Earth because “the planet cannot wait”.

Kehkashan, whose birthday is June 5, said: “Being born on World Environment Day, I feel that I am pre-ordained to be an eco-warrior. My objective is to take a leadership role in spreading awareness about conservation in my school and community and also be a role model by practicing the tenets of conservation.”

During a speech she gave at Rio the schoolgirl said: “I am 12 and I want my land to be green and bountiful when I grow up and I want that to remain for the future generations to come.”

She added: “This is my message to all children in the world. Don’t wait for someone to do it for you. Plant your first tree today. Talk about it to your peers. Spread the message and stop ecoside.”

Being an eco-warrior is something Kehkashan is taking very seriously. She has a three-page list of achievements, ecological groups she is a member of and conferences she has attended.

On it is everything from Hawksbill Turtle conservation to choreographing her own eco-dance to spread the message of conservation to schoolchildren. She actively promotes recycling everything from cans to toner cartridges and has won eco poetry, art and photography competitions and environmental quizzes.

Her latest role is as an ambassador for the ‘Plant for the Planet Foundation’ and she is encouraging other children to become ambassadors too. She said: “While attend­ing Rio +20, I was appointed as a Climate Justice Ambassador by Plant for the Pla­net as I planted two saplings at the venue.

“Then I received authorisation from Germany, its headquarters, to conduct the UAE’s first academy in my role as co-ordinator.” Plant for the Planet is a global children’s initiative and Kehkashan said: “They tell others about the climate crisis and take action by planting trees. While the adults keep on talking, we say: ‘Stop talking. Start planting’.”

The schoolgirl held her academy at the Intercontinental Hotel in Festival City and penned an environmental song for the occasion. She said: “We had a full house with students coming from Sharjah, Ajman and Abu Dhabi!”

Kehkashan said: “When I grow up I want to become a nuclear scientist and environmentalist. I want to study in Harvard, it’s my dream to do as much as possible for the world, to find alternative ways of producing energy.”

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The third meeting of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons took place in Monrovia between all members of the HLP and seventy CSO representatives. The meeting took the format of a "town hall" event, where CSO members together with grassroots representatives shared evidence, perspectives, and recommendations on the topic of National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity and its sub-themes. This served as a framing conversation, also giving critical clarity to the vision and aspirations of ordinary citizens for the future.

This meeting has happened against backdrop of several youth consultations round the world since the second high level panel meeting in London. Two fundamental principles that underpinned the Youth Outreach HLP meeting in London was Inclusion of Young people who have the agency to be the banner carriers of the new agenda and Innovation that   brings nuanced perspectives, fresh solutions and insights to persistent national and global challenges. There have been Country Youth Consultations, Online Engagement, National Dialogues, Beyond2015 Children and Youth Working Group, Online discussion on addressing inequalities faced by children and young people on worldwewant2015.org as well as regional youth declarations.

As noted by Prof. Gita Sen during the CSO pre consultative forum post 2015 HLP  meeting , the post 2015 agenda should give special attention to the most vulnerable people in particular children, the youth and adolescents. The need for an inclusive framework where social inclusion and zero discrimination re key words can’t be overemphasized.  But even focusing on vulnerabilities is crucially unfair. We need to look at people's ability more than their disability if the post 2015 framework is to make a difference. People must be considered in the light of their potential more than seeing them as a burden.

 

The HLP have to not only hear the voices of the voiceless but clearly articulate them in their recommendations to be presented in April to the UN Secretary General.

As the largest demographic bar none ,young people  will be the difference between  success and failure of any global commitments made and it is incumbent upon the   HLP to gather evidence from  grassroots youth, frame, articulate and deliberate on a clear vision for the future that is informed by our needs and aspirations, articulate and agree on key pillars of economic transformation, highlighting national building blocks for sustained wealth that provide the us  with capacity to function, create a specific platform to  voice our  perspectives, and  engage with us  with a particular view to deliberate on an emerging youth Narrative that will inform the Monrovia HLP Consensus position.

 

Children and Youths visioning of post 2015


The HLP needs to consider developing a framework that addresses structural child poverty in various contexts and enables good governance and accountability around child rights and protection. In order for children to participate in the economic transformation the new framework must prioritize initiatives that promote quality education, health care, reproductive health, information, adequate nutrition, appropriate services for children living with disabilities and must ensure that national governments provide budgetary allocations and are held accountable for the protection of children from all forms of violation and exploitation.post 2015 agenda should consider access to safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as  basic human rights that underpin health, education and livelihoods. The problems associated with lack of access to WASH impact on virtually all aspects of human development, disproportionately affecting the life chances of young people.


Youth unemployment considerably exacerbates the danger of major structural unemployment for many years to come. Unemployment is a huge inefficiency to both young people and to international society looked t in light of costs to governments, non state actors and lost potential wages. Youth as   dispossessed constituency is a threat to sustainable economy leading to trigger for rising crime and social malfunction. There exists massive disparity of access between young women and adolescent girls for productive resources and prosperity enabler indicators.

A holistic  international youth policies with national focus must therefore be founded on:


The provision of more and better education, including formal education, informal education and vocational trainings; active and dignified insertion of youth in the workplace ensuring them a good wage and jobs as part of a career path, as well as liberty, gender equality, and security; the provision of career centers, knowledge exchanging facilities among youth nationally and internationally by the establishment of youth workers union and  social dialogue to facilitate a successful matching of labor demand and supply, to ensure successful programming and to foster youth hiring.

“Without young people’s ideas we the Panel would be missing the best hope for a successful set of goals.  Bring us your ideas.” Graca Machel HLP November 2012.

 

Post MDGS should give power to children and youth to become Agents of Change

 

The post 2015 agenda must address the causes of structural and cyclical poverty among children in various contexts; good governance and accountability around child rights and protection; and enabling children to participate in economic transformation through initiatives that promote quality education for  girls  and  boys, health  care, sexual health, information, adequate nutrition, and services for children including those with disabilities or HIV, and protection of children from all forms of violence and exploitation including early and forced marriage.

 

 

In conclusion, the formwork must realize the potential of the demographic dividends through comprehensive youth policies that include provision of more and better education, support for young people to obtain decent and well/paid jobs, access to finance and knowledge to become innovators and entrepreneurs, as well  as the  ability of all young people, especially adolescents to obtain comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual and reproductive services, and to empower and resource girls to prevent teenage pregnancies and violence, and provide sensitization and training for boys to promote

gender equality and prevent violence.

 

If every voice truly counts and we’re to surely count every voice then the voice of children and youth have to be fashion the next set of global goals.

 

Willice Onyango is Chairperson of the International Youth Council Chapter in Kenya, a Children and Youth Working Group nominee to the Beyond 2015 Drafting Committee and Africa Youth Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

She can be contacted via willice@iyckenya.org

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Background

The United Nations General Assembly in September 2000 made a Declaration to reduce extreme poverty and its various manifestations. 189 countries agreed to pursue a set of 8 internationally enlisted development goals referred to as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDGs are set minimum development benchmarks: they are time-bound and quantified targets for addressing income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion—while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability to be achieved by countries by 2015. Nigeria is a signatory to the Millennium Declaration and therefore is expected to report back to the International Community on progress made to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

Consequently, the Nigerian Government developed policy and institutional frameworks for the MDGs. The policy framework had sector specific and State Development Strategies .e.g. NEEDS I & II, 7-Point Agenda and Vision 20:2020, National HIV/AIDS Policy, National Youth Policy and the Transformation Agenda among others. The key institutions include Federal, State, Local Government and Community institutions that have mandate to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate the developmental plans and strategies.

Nigeria’s MDGs Progress

Since inception of the MDGs in 2000, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; the achievement of universal primary education; the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; and the achievement of a global partnership for development.

 

Key Challenges

Incidentally, with less than five years to the 2015 MDG deadline, Nigeria is yet to achieve the MDGs as a result of the following challenges: Systemic (Data, global economic crisis and declining inflow of Aid and own resources for intervention, time, dealing with wide Regional disparities on outcomes); Goal specific challenges (Poverty reduction: Improving the quality of growth – recent growth not sufficiently pro-poor, accompanied by high inequality (NHDR 2009). Health related goals present the greatest challenges to Nigeria (Infant Mortality and Maternal Morbidity; Cultural barriers - cultural beliefs that limit health seeking practices; Personnel; Weak health-systems management across all three tiers of government, etc). Another key challenge is localizing and translating the MDGs into operational objectives for all stakeholders to bear primary responsibility for their achievement.

 

Post-2015 Development Agenda (Nigeria's Countdown Strategy)

As a way of facilitating and fast-tracking the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria, the Nigerian Government developed the Countdown Strategy to consider such factors as funding, coordination of efforts and alignment with the global agenda within five years scheduled into shorter terms with measurable milestones.

 

The Countdown Strategy is closely linked with Nigeria's 7-Point Agenda for the country's development and Nigeria's vision for becoming one of the World's top 20 economies by 2020 (Vision 20:2020). It outlines the country's roadmap for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, identifies the mechanisms and interventions that have been most effective to date, and emphasizes the need for stronger partnerships with key stakeholders. It also underlines the constitutional roles and responsibilities of state and local governments in achieving the MDGs. In addition, the Strategy provides a guide for the institutional improvements, policy reforms and human resources required for progress on the MDGs, while charting the trajectory of MDG financing and investment to 2015. Finally, it spells out focused strategies for scaling up the implementation of interventions that will accelerate progress on the eight MDGs, and stresses the need to nurture a combination of public and private investments to ensure faster progress towards achieving the MDGs by 2015.

 

The Countdown Strategy highlighted four strategic imperatives that are critical to accelerating Nigeria's achievement of the MDGs by 2015:

(i) improving the governance and accountability environment

(ii) strengthening coordination and cooperation among the three tiers and arms of government

(iii) mobilizing and committing all communities and key stakeholders to the MDGs

(iv) ensuring effective mainstreaming of MDGs into overall national and sub-national development visions and plans.

 

Making the Case for Youth Mainstreaming

Nigeria has 100 million people under 30, the rough equivalent of the populations of Egypt, Tunisia and Libya combined. Young people constitute over 60 percent of the total population of Nigeria. Young people face many challenges that affect their development and social integration. Many youth are involved in acts of terrorism, kidnapping and other crimes. Unfortunately, the Countdown Strategy makes no provision for youth mainstreaming, thereby making it imperative to seek ways to address emerging issues for youth: Green Enterpreneurship; Capacity Building & Technological Development; ICT and Social Media; Finance, Mentoring & Volunteerism; Agriculture & Food Security; Education; Informal Sector; Youth in Policy & Decision Making; Peer Review Mechanisms; and Security.

 

Youth Employment

With the recent 2011 unemployment rate in the formal sector put at 23.9% (source - NBS), Nigeria is obviously yet to combat fully this menace in spite of several interventions and programmes of Government. Out of 6 million employable young people that enter the job market, only 10% get a job.

 

The issue therefore is to identify not only the challenges but sustainable solutions to combat unemployment adequately. In order to achieve this, it is imperative to:

 

  • Develop policies that will encourage public works programs in partnership with states and local governments to mop up a high number of unskilled-unemployed youth.
  • Promote investments by Governments in non-oil sectors especially concentrating on agriculture, Innovation, technology and the creative industries.
  • Unbundle bureaucratic procedures that complicate business registration processes.
  • Develop systems to ensure greater ease of doing business and improve the process of enforcing agreements.

 

  • Reduction of age into elective offices to encourage qualified youth contest for positions
  • Government, development partners and CSOs’ role in re-orienting Nigerian youth on their civic responsibility
  • Youth Empowerment centres: Government should work with stakeholders to deploy youth innovation and skills centre across the country to provide a platform for young people to learn, build critical skills, and attract resources and opportunities
  • Embark on a National Public Works Program that will mop up a large number of unskilled unemployed youth. These public works program will provide a platform for youth engagements, skills acquisition and income for youth.

 

Green Enterpreneurship:

In the 15-24 year age bracket, unemployment is estimated to be 37.7%. If young people are provided with employment opportunities they can become  productive assets and take their part in mainstream society offering the best of their skills and talents.  If this opportunity is not forthcoming, there is a chance that disaffected youth will quickly turn to crime and violence in order to survive. We note the urgent need to recognize child and youth led initiatives aimed to improve the informal sector to generate employment. We therefore recommend that the Government:                                                           

 

1.       establishes the Sustainable Development Fund for young entrepreneurs to have access to financial, technical and material support especially in the areas of mentoring, volunteerism, internship and entrepreneurial development;

2.       Create more scholarship and funding opportunities for young people interested in pursuing research and academic work in the field of sustainable development and Green Jobs;

3.       Undertake a Technology Needs Assessment (TNA), and press for market development strategies in utilizing youth Green Jobs.

 

4.       invest in Renewable Energy, Carbon market and Green Industry to guide Nigeria’s response to rising unemployment among the youth. We also call on our Government to establish a fully equipped renewable energy resource and development centre in schools and communities where we can be trained to develop renewable energy sources to reduce green house gas emission and create Green Jobs;

5.       promote agricultural policies and practices that are eco –friendly and sustainable.

 

Policy & Decision Making Process

We reiterate the need to involve children and youth in policy decision and implementation of any critical infrastructure because we are the heirs to such facilities and be encouraged to make inputs.

Education:

With only three years to 2015, the deadline for Education for All (EFA) goals, MDGs and the African Union second decade of Education for Africa (2006 – 2015), Nigeria is one of 22 African countries that will miss key education goals. There is therefore an urgent need to:

  • Place special emphasis on early child education by harmonising policy, developing standards and advocating for early child education nationwide.
  • Prioritise inclusive education at all levels of education to achieve equitable access, especially for girls, children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
  • Identify educational priorities that focus on the manpower needs of the nation
  • Cost and quality of education needs to be well managed in order not to create inequality especially between rural and urban areas.
  • Facilitate the provision of capacity building (training and retraining) as well as improved welfare conditions for teachers

Realizing the importance of Education and its role in promoting sustainable development, we hereby affirm our resolve to work with our Government and partners to;

 

  1. improve the quality of Education in Nigeria through volunteerism, mentoring, and the use of ICT in school and community based education;  
  2. integrate Green Entrepreneurship into educational curricula while Green Enterpreneurship be introduced into pre-existing Clubs in our Schools;
  3. encourage proper monitoring and evaluation in reviewing performance in our education system;
  4. Mainstream children and youth into educational initiatives developed by Governments and other non-governmental organizations for young people. The importance of for-youth-by-youth education must be recognized by all stakeholders working on education for sustainable development.

Peace and Security

  • High rate of unemployment, high youthful population and increasing poverty all lead to insecurity.
  • Regional violence especially in the south (Niger Delta Militants) and the North (Boko Haram) leading to threats on security
  • A regime of violence will push back some of the gains already made with the MDGs as it will discourage infrastructural development, investments and deployment of professionals especially in the health and education sectors to violence-prone areas
  • Adopt best global practices in accelerating development in conflict prone areas
  • Work with development partners to develop a holistic and multi-sectoral plan to deal with emerging security challenges.
  • The Role of CSOs and the Media should be strengthened to provide robust monitoring and evaluation.

 

Finally, we pledge our commitment to work with our Government and partners to effectively mainstream youth into the Post MDGs 2015 Development Agenda.

Dr Ozuzu Promise

Country Chairperson

International Youth Council Nigeria Chapter

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World Future Energy Summit - a report

The World Future Energy Summit 2013 was a much bigger event than the one held a year earlier.

The opening ceremony of WFES2013 saw eminent speakers such as the French President , the Argentinian President and Queen Rania of Jordan who all spoke eloquently on the theme.

The venue also hosted the International Water Summit which , too , I attended. Several workshops on alternate energy were organized to showcase the technological advancements in this field.

 Fossil fuels will run out one day leaving behind a world full of carbon dioxide – thus one must propagate usage of alternate energy. This year’s event highlighted the fact that the technology for alternate energy exists – the challenge is to make it commercially viable for developed as well poor nations to afford the same.

I also visited the IRENA area . The IRENA summit actually started a day earlier than WFES but was basically for high level ministerial delegations.

I was interviewed by a TV news channel and it was aired on prime time in the evening, across the country. I spoke on the youth’s demands to move to  sustainable alternate energy.

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Climate Change is real. Whether or not you agree that human civilization is contributing to the warming of the Earth, there is really no disputing that we are facing a changing environment. We must meet this shared challenge.

 

The planet is growing warmer at an alarming rate and oceans are rising. This is leading to an increase in the intensity of storms and hurricanes. Don't believe me? Just look at recent history. This has been a year of unprecedented weather events. And just last week, Superstorm Sandy hit and caused remarkable devastation across the entire Northeast of the United States.

The devastating effects of global warming are real. As a New Yorker, I’ve seen my fair share of blizzards and a few strong Hurricanes, but NOTHING even close to what Sandy has brought to our shores. Where my Grandparents live on Atlantic Beach in Long Island, “the ocean met the bay” as my 92-year-old Grandfather said from the hospital to which he was evacuated. This means that the ocean completely overcame a one mile stretch of land to meet the bay on the other side. The thousands of homes and lives in between were left mostly destroyed. In the Rockaways, the devastation was catastrophic as hundred of homes burned to the ground and lives were lost. The most shocking part is the havoc here in the urban center of the planet, New York City. Even 10 days after Sandy hit, there are still many thousands of people without power in the cold.

 

I spent this morning going around to senior centers in Manhattan where elderly people are living without any heat, not enough food or water, and little companionship. After Sandy hit and the power went out, the elevators shut down and trapped elderly people on the top floors. Having no food, no running water and no telephone is a potentially life-threatening situation for these elderly people. And to make matters worse, just 9 days later – still without heat – Winter Storm Athena hit, dropping the temperature below freezing along with several inches of snow. The next day – today – I delivered much needed blankets. This was partially inspired by the work of IYC's Chapter in Bangladesh to collect and distribute blankets last winter in their "Spread the Warmth" campaign.

Here’s the story.

 

I first met with a local community leader organizing the effort, Julie Menin, down near Chinatown. The streets looked like any others in Manhattan, and I could see the East River just two blocks away. The water was glittering with the reflection from the afternoon sun. It was hard to imagine those same waters rising 14 feet at high tide and sweeping across the entire area, ruining lives and leaving so many in the dark. As I approached, a group of people had an assembly-line running below a sprawling apartment complex that still does not have any electricity. One person was managing the supplies kept in a basement room with everyone else grabbing as many boxes of blankets as possible and stuffing them into the private cars brought by other volunteers.

Every few minutes a passer-by would come up and talk to us. One elderly woman approached me, walking very slowly and precariously with the help of a cane, “You know I live on the 7th floor of this building (pointing to the huge powerless complex above). Do you know how hard it is to get up and down those stairs? I have no food and no water. I’m cold. My two dogs are freezing to death. I actually think they are going to die. I just don’t know what to do. Can I have a blanket?” And so we gave her a blanket.

 

I ended up riding in a car along with boxes of 100 blankets to an apartment complex, The LaGuardia Houses – a huge complex named after a great Mayor who worked closely with President Roosevelt to deliver federal aid for the urban poor. The woman driving me in her car was a resident from the West Village. She told me how she had been without power for 8 days. She also explained how 3 years ago there was an unrelated major flood in her home, and that, along with her husband and children, they had been living in a hotel ever since. All of the family’s possessions had been kept in a storage unit in Jersey City, which was washed over with flooding with Sandy. “I haven’t been able to check, but I’m pretty sure everything in there is destroyed. I mean, they’re just physical possessions, ya know? But it’ll just be sad to go through all the damage next week... and need to throw everything away.”

 

When we arrived at the complex, a community leader who was directing us pointed me to a large gray building, "That’s a huge senior center. Go see if they are alright.” And so I jogged over to the complex, which was dark and locked. Two very frail Chinese women came out of the front. They didn’t speak any English. I tried to ask, “are people here cold? Do you need blankets?” but they didn’t understand – the language barrier was too strong. I started rubbing my shoulders to describe cold, and motioning covering myself with something to describe blankets. I was always very bad at charades. I felt helpless. Just then I heard a service door open a few feet away and a man came out. “Do you speak English?” He motioned to me that he didn’t understand, but that I should follow him. I went through the service door and found two young women sitting at a folding table, looking hopeless and despondent. “Hi there” I said with a smile, “do you speak English?” Looking very surprised and confused to see me they said “yes”. I then asked, “Do seniors in this building need blankets? I brought a car full of blankets…” at which point they both jumped up and started hugging me “It’s a miracle! I knew someone would come!” They had been sent by a non-profit that helps senior citizens, but had no resources or support. We unloaded the blankets and handed them out to a room full of elderly and tired-looking Chinese-Americans. It felt great to know that these unlucky people would be just a bit warmer.

 

While those in lower Manhattan are certainly in great need, the devastation in the Rockaways is on an entirely different level. Tomorrow, if my friend and I can find gas, we plan to drive out there with all the supplies we can find and to help in any way we can.

 

I hope you’ll join the relief effort, and understand that the effects of global warming are REAL.

 

Make a donation to Sandy Relief Efforts and join the fight against climate change!

The IYC is currently planning its own climate change campaign,

For now join the great organizations 350.org  or tcktcktck

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The power of Youth & Volunteerism: The spirit that makes a difference!

                                                                                                            By Syed Mahmood Kazmi

I am a youth amongst almost 67 % of whole Pakistani population. So I will surely focus my blog about youth. In my point of view Youth are like the running water that can tore any hard rock coming its way. Youth are a supremacy that can really make a difference in any circumstances. Youth are the backbone of any country. With this high percentage we should not forget there is a chance of either falling to dark results of failure or the golden opportunity towards success. It’s not only up to the State of Pakistan who will provide a right path to the young generation but a lot of that responsibility depends upon youth’s shoulders itself.

Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal thoughts about youth:

"Your world is (only) the one which you create yourself,
not these stones and bricks, which are in sight"

"I have love for those youngsters who pull the stars down"

These are the lighted words of our National poet, a great philosopher, a great leader and a great Muslim. If we only follow them then no doubt we will not be the one what we are. We will be a responsible citizen as well as successful person.

Now what to do to change the Youth’s attitude & behavior for success? This is a very important question that doesn’t belong to youth only but to whole Pakistan’s prosperity.

Youth should be the agents of behavioral change to bring a change in society. It’s only possible if they bring change in themselves first then they can influence others with their positive attitude and behavior.

Attitudes can change majorly through personal contributions to Pakistani society by the youth and adult population of Pakistan. Attitudes grow in and make trends and these trends get so deep rooted in the society that it is very difficult to change them. Societies are not perfect. Why? Because the wrong attitudes continue to be experienced without curious, without the willingness to bring change, without thinking about improvement and without reflection.

We all have to do something for this uncountable power of youth. Youth are the future of Pakistan.

Experience is something that you collect, a one valuable asset. Experience is neither good nor bad. It is just Experience. It is a result of growth. Pass your experience to those who will mostly likely be involved in benefitting from it. Pass it to children, youngsters and the youth. Adult learning in our society is not appreciated. Change that. You don’t have to give classes and trainings to achieve this. When you meet some-one casually, at parties or other gatherings, bring up the discussion. You will find changes in yourself within some days.

Media needs to focus more on airing free programs such as distance learning and adult learning to bring about change by discussions, by free sessions on TV focusing on changing societal attitudes in Pakistan to build cognitive and intellectual skills of Youth. They should invite youth from all segments of life in a roundtable conference or a show and let them discuss about issues of Pakistan. Go ahead and AIR ON their discussions so that the one who are in power and the one who are in dark can come to know our thoughts.

Volunteers and councilors can set up free courses by asking the youth of the area to participate to educate the women in their area making them realize the importance of building a child’s wide-ranging comprehensive abilities. Volunteers should inspire others with their good work. Volunteerism is a great spirit that can really make difference.

Teachers should encourage students to ask questions during lessons and also ask students analytical and opinion based questions at the end of the lecture.

Adults should encourage youth to ask questions not vice versa. And the youth should also remember to ask questions with respect for elders in mind.

Make the youth in the society realize that bringing a change towards a positive direction is essential. Letting go of old ideals and attitudes is very difficult but reflecting on them will make them realize that they are wrong. Positive learning to change mindset is as important as youth’s change of perspective and realization of a collective vision and drive.

Volunteer is any person who helps others without any personal gain and profit. One of my favorite saying about Volunteerism is:

“Volunteers are non-paid not because they are worthless,

It’s just because they are priceless”.

I request youth of world to volunteer yourselves for your own future and save world from these corrupt ‘political robbers’. I used this term because I have serious concerns on them due to their character showed to fool the nation by them. They are the one who ruins the future of youth. They are just exploiting youth for their political benefits. What are we youth getting from them?? Any benefit as individual or as a whole??

This is not a one handed show. We all have to contribute our part for a positive change within ourselves and a country that blessed us with so many things. Humans have the power to influence, power to reason, power to bring about positive change. We should focus on how to change attitudes to build intellectual and leadership abilities.

In the end, as they say the only constant in life is change. Change is happening the very moment I am writing this, the very moment you are reading it. But to determine the direction of change, whether positive or negative is in our capacity and on the shoulders of the youth of Pakistan. Actions can bring attitude change and over a period of time, the change would be visible and measureable in the form of a trend. Be the Trend setter, be the change. Act Now for this is the only moment you have. Live the moment, they will be memory tomorrow.

For more please visit: www.syedmahmoodkazmi.wordpress.com

Or connect through: www.facebook.com/s.mahmood.kazmi

Or Follow me on Twitter: @SMahmoodKazmi

 

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Since this my blog first post ever, I feel it would be best to start with an anecdote. 

This past summer, I spent a few weeks in August in an AIDS clinic not to far outside San Jose, Costa Rica. As a student of public health, my goal was to explore a world of medicine unfamiliar to me where I would be completely out of my element. I have always been interested in global issues regarding health, particularly those of the third world. Last year I worked in a cardio-physiology center in Jerusalem, Israel, which is far from being a developing country. So I schlepped off to Costa Rica really not knowing what to expect or how I would react to such a situation. That was kind of the point though. 

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a broad-smiling taxi driver who didn’t speak a word of English and then, as I walked outside, by the moist warm air. I was expecting the tropical climate but not so much the lack of English spoken throughout the country. A couple days after settling into my host family, my Spanish skills grew from absolutely nothing to passable after a few intense lessons. I was ready to be placed in the clinic. 

My first view of the clinic was a concrete yellow-cream building surrounded by high barbed-wire fences. I had to buzz a large garage-like door in order to even get in. Once I entered I was perplexed by the set-up. The entire clinic was a long hallway of rooms enclosed by sky blue concrete walls with a large rectangular hole in the shallow roof which was created purposely to feed sun to the garden placed beneath it. I had been there less than a minute and already I could tell that rectangle of sunlight must be the majority of the patients’ exposure into the outside world. How depressing. 

I was introduced to each patient, 14 of them to be exact, and then to the nurse. She was the only nurse for all 14 patients and she was a seriously tiny person. Each of the patients varied in terms of their abilities due to their individual disease progress and to the degree they were affected by ancillary illnesses. The best patient, Rita, looked as though nothing could stand in her way. She was bright and bubbly and dressed in the most garish yet cheerful garb. She spoke a fair amount of English so we were able to communicate rather well. The worst off patient, Randall, was bed ridden. He could not speak nor eat properly and was so arthritic that he was almost permanently in the fetal position. Also he had decubitus ulcers or bed sores right down to the muscle from his lack of movement. I knew Randall, along with some other similar patients, would be a real challenge for me. 

While I am no physician and not necessarily an expert on the AIDS epidemic I am rather knowledgeable about the topic of malnutrition. I would go as far as to say half of the patients at this clinic were severely malnourished. According to Gary Cohan MD there is usually a combination of reasons why people with AIDS become malnourished. 

First of all, HIV itself changes the body’s metabolism, which can cause it to burn calories much more quickly. If a patient is not in-taking enough nourishment to make up for the high caloric burn rate, then naturally weight will be lost and eventually muscle will deteriorate. Another metabolic deregulation that is sometimes found with HIV is cachexia. Normally, when someone is malnourished, their body burns fat and preserves the lean tissue mass. With cachexia, there is accelerated tissue loss, with an almost immediate depletion of lean tissue mass. This speeds up the wasting and brings on immediate threats. Furthermore, diarrhea is a common symptom of HIV which prevents the body from absorbing the calories it requires after consumption also leading those who suffer from it to eat increasingly less due to sheer discomfort. If you’ve ever had food poisoning you know what I am talking about. Other symptoms that prevent those with AIDS from eating are nausea, lesions/ulcers in the mouth of esophagus and last but not least - depression. 

All in all it is apparent that when left alone, AIDS patients can often be at risk for malnutrition and from what I can guess (and only guess because I was only at the clinic for a month) this is how many of the patients at this clinic lose their lives. Not infection, not cancer, but a simple lack of sufficient nutrients. 

After meeting all the patients I was extremely curious to decipher why they appeared so underfed. It came time for lunch and I got my answer: saltines and coffee. I was astounded. From everything I have read on malnourished children in African countries it is evident that proper food can be hard to come by. But not here, not in Costa Rica where food is extremely cheap, fruit grows a plenty and beans are served for breakfast. 

That day I insisted that I stay for their snack and dinner as well. I should make it known that there was a slight difference between patients in terms of their consumption. Those who were up and about ate some basic soups, rice and beans with lettuce, and an assortment of cookies. Not what I would call balanced but one could get by on that for sure. What I didn’t understand was that it was those who couldn’t feed themselves, those in the most need of nourishment, that were given just coffee and crackers (or a variant carbohydrate) throughout the day. Not to mention giving these patients coffee was an obviously vicious cycle. I would know since one of my many responsibilities was to wash them after they had wet their beds. 

This issue in general also really hit close to home. Growing up as a ballerina I was surrounded my young woman desperate to be thin all the time and who took drastic measures to make that happen. Now I was watching these young men and women desperate to be anything but thin and there was nothing anyone was doing about it. Awful. Unfortunately, having been there for only a few weeks and not knowing Spanish limited my clout in making a change at the clinic. At the very least I made sure I left my ideas with someone. I spoke with a group of men from Texas who came every week to take a few of the patients for an outing (yes, they only went out once a week if that). I advised them on what I thought should and needed to be done. They were the only ones I could communicate with who might of had the potential to make something happen. Plus they spoke Spanish. 

One recommendation was to bring in a fortified food for them to eat. Last year I researched Plumpy’nut, a recently developed “Ready-to-Use-Food,” (RUF) that has revolutionized the way severe acute malnutrition is treated in several African counties. For instance, when recently used in Niger, children given Plumpy'nut had between an 81% to 95% recovery rate (MSF, 2008). It costs 5 cents per package, each with 500 calories, and, best of all, it’s just like sweet peanut butter paste. Now, unless you are allergic to peanut butter it is a simple and brilliant solution to acute malnutrition. If brought to the clinic, the patients could easily eat and even enjoy it perhaps with a nice glass of milk (well, I saw some in their fridge at least). Plumpy’nut alone would save those patients from a death of starvation and in the case of AIDS would most likely prolong their lives substantially. But like I said, I couldn’t make anything happen myself, and who knows if those Texans actually took my advice. Lesson for the future: learn the language of the country you’re visiting and prepare to make change!

Malnutrition is like a silent epidemic because too many people with AIDS are dying from it and too few health care providers are doing something about it. What I witnessed at the clinic, (also known as the best clinic in San Jose by the way) is a situation that must now change. Patients cannot be left to starve to death. Nutritional analysis and nutritional intervention, if called for, should be a part of the treatment program for anyone with HIV disease. Even for those of low economic standards. There is simply no excuse for such treatment. 

My mother brought up some possibilities for why the patients were being fed so poorly. She hypothesized that, for the same reason they were being given sleeping pills instead of AZT drugs (yes, I am serious) they were being given crackers and coffee; to lessen the burden of care. While this may be the reason behind it, it doesn’t make it remotely ok. Truth be told, there were dozens more issues with the clinic other than malnutrition but unless you care to know more I think I will stop here for now. 
__________________
Global health is a substantial aspect of medicine and health science that is on the rise. Considering the world is incrementally shrinking, it is important that we as part of the population of this world are made aware of what is going on and what is being done or what can be done. 

My purpose here in this blog is to inform and discuss with you issues through global news, anecdotes, research and opinions covering topics on disease, health care policy and systems, narrative medicine, food, water, drugs, etc. While much of what my interest stems from the issues in the developing world, I will also be concentrating on the Western world and how our cultures can be improved in terms of our life styles. Furthermore, I am particularly interested in nutrition and its influence on countless aspects of our lives (as you can see) so I will be most likely alluding to the topic on a regular basis. 

Just to end on a personal note: I am currently a senior at Sarah Lawrence College studying psychology and pre-health (graduating in May with a BA) and within the coming year I hope to begin my Master’s in Public Health hopefully, leading to a MD and/or PhD focusing on nutrition. But we shall see. 

I would very much like to have a post up each week, perhaps more HW permitting. The exact day of the posts will be confirmed at a later time. For now that is all. 

Care and be aware. Stay healthy and happy. 
-Eva

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the Global Arena

Yesterday, Sam Richards of World in Conversation at PennState used the term “global arena with the youth moderators.  I often use “global stage” (probably because of my theatre background), but this idea of an arena intrigued me.

Because Sam is right: we do not exist on a stage where we perform for one another, we exist in a competitive and collaborative world in which we must find ways to build teams in order to ensure our survival.  Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon today spoke about dwindling resources, and his point is well taken.  As Gloria Anzeldua and others have argued, there is no more time to be fighting one another for rights that we deserve.  It is time to create a global coalition of young leaders, world leaders, and concerned citizens of the world that can communicate across cultural borders to create effective solutions to a world in crisis.

Which leads me back to this idea of an arena; an arena where competitive sport can be played, where ideas can be shared, where art can be displayed, where we can work together or in competition towards a concrete goal.  An arena is not a stage, not a representation of life, but rather a specific performance of life and culture for a people not your own.  Of course art can change society, but I am working here with Shakespeare’s definition because I am a sucker for the Bard.

I know I get overly intellectual at times, but I hope this linguistic distinction makes sense.  It is time to stop thinking of global events as a stage.  We are not reflecting society, we are working to change it then and there. 

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Last Friday, December 10, 2011, I had the pleasure of moderating for the youth preparatory event where we aimed to compose 2 final messages for each theme. These messages will be presented to the heads of state at conference. 

Theme 1: How Does Cultural Diversity Matter to Development? The Missing Link

2 key questions were asked to start off the dialogue: 

1. What does development look like in your culture?

2. How would this vision be different if it were powered by the diversity in cultures? 

My group was very diverse, composing of youth from Sweden, Pakistan, Qatar, India, Australia and the Philippines. The group shared their opinions on development in their respective countries. As the discussion progressed, we realized that the definition of development was very relative to each country, depending on their status quo. For example, in countries that are less developed, the discussion focused a lot on providing people with the most basic needs necessary for survival, focusing on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. On the other hand, for more developed/advanced countries, development meant advancing on the international arena: innovation in education, technology, etc. 


SOME DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The importance of being open-minded and think non-conventionally
  • Investing in education leads to the development of citizens.
  • Changing the mindsets and the way people think now enables posterity to grow in intercultural understanding.
  • Development can also mean changing the decision-making process to adapt to the current situation.
  • It is important to always think critically and be educated. Do not believe everything you are told. Do your research and make an effort to educate yourself.
  • Development means catering to the most basic needs of people first, especially the marginalized. 
  • Education, healthcare, sanitation are just some of the most basic needs that need to be met. 
  • It is important to define standards and set goals for development.




This was my first time moderating and I found it to be a great learning experience. I never thought that moderating could be so challenging. It was mentally exhausting at the end of the day (especially after three sessions), but it was worth it, especially after seeing the youth recommendations delivered at the opening session.

Here are some photos from the moderating session: 


 

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Sharing Ideas and Excitement

By far the most exciting part of the UNAOC Forum and in particular the Youth Event is that we will be collaboratively generating concrete ideas for involving youth in development.  In an increasingly global world, it is still so rare to get to interact with other youth leaders to develop goals and then work together towards achieving them.  For four hours tomorrow and three days after that, I will have the brains and heart of twenty other young people committed to making a positive difference: I can already feel all that energy permeating my body.

It is starting now.  On the plane, during dinner, in the lobby of the hotel, walking around the city: everywhere I go, we start to have conversations about what we want to do.  About what needs to be done.  About our vision for global development.  All the young people here and those who contributed online are unafraid to share their passions and their thoughts.  I know that this group of people has the talent and perspective to come up with solutions, not just suggestions, and I am looking forward to just that tomorrow.

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'Up with Justice, Down with Hunger.'

16th October, 2011 is WORLD FOOD DAY (WFD). So, ACTIONAID ACTIVISTA & International Youth Council Bangladesh (IYCB) is coming together to spread awareness and contribute to the importance of World Food Day (WFD). Together we work for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) set up by the United Nations.On WFD ACTIVISTA and IYCB are uniting to raise their voice against such injustice. It’s a chance for you to be a part of this International Campaign. It is an amazing opportunity for YOUTH like YOU to say something for the betterment of the society. Our program would consist of many interesting activity including a FLASHMOB, its fairly new and a very unique way of spreading awareness among people who are less interested in Global Issues. On that day, our week long Signature Campaign being held in Universities in Dhaka will be counted and concluded by thousand Candle Lighting Ceremony.On 16th we are going to be there, and if you are someone who believes in change, someone who wants change and someone who wants to be a part of Global Youth Network, can join us at Central Shaheed Minar. It’s your chance to spread awareness and say:
“Until You Wake Up, We will fight for You.”

JOIN US:
On 16th October 2011
2:00pm – 7:00pm
CENTRAL SHAHEED MINAR
DHAKA, BANGLADESH

More info can be found in our event page created by Farah Maliha.
"Certificates will be provided to all the registered participants."

Interested youths are requested to be registered through the following link- https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGNXR0owM041cWt3Q3BFVDlPYjc0REE6MQ

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Floods in Pakistan & IYC-Pakistan

Summary

Victims of last year’s floods have been hit yet again with another catastrophe as livelihoods and homes have been destroyed in torrential rainfall on-going since August 2011. Approximately 5.3 million people are affected, of which half are children. A land area of 1.7 million acres, 1.2 million homes and 64,000 livestock have been lost to-date. Of those affected, 150,000 are in relief camps while others wait on the road-side. 

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Immediate assistance is needed for the 4 million displaced by the floods. These refugees are at risk for of starvation and water-borne disease. There is an urgent need for safe drinking water and medical attention. 

The international Youth Council Pakistan along side its partner organizations namely " Juvenile DIgnitaries " is trying to raise funds for the Flood victims and trying to help the affected people in each and every possible way .

Immediate assistance is needed for the 4 million displaced by the floods. These refugees are at risk for of starvation and water-borne disease. There is an urgent need for safe drinking water and medical attention.

International Youth council Pakistan chapter along side its partner organization is trying to provide the flood affected people with Food items , clean drinking water , Medicines , Dry food , Clothing and Tents .

As the Chairperson International Youth council i have got in to collaboration with " Shine Humanity  " for the flood relief efforts . And we are preparing medical teams to be sent to the flood affected areas so that treatment could be given to the flood victims . The situation in the flood affected areas is getting worse day by day and winters are approaching , hundred thousands of people are living under the sky . we request the world to Help us in Helping our country men .

Willing people can Help us in following ways .

Donate to our Flood relief Campaigns Online by visiting the following link :

http://www.globalgiving.org/dy/fundraiser/prevfund/gg.html?regid=6333&uauserid=528303&from=myreg

Our Account Details :
Account Title : Juvenile Dignitaries Org
Account # : 2002571636
Branch Code : 0075
swift Code : SAUDPKKA

SILK BANK F8 Markaz Branch , Islamabad , Pakistan.

Regards.

Naseem Khan Achakzai
Chairperson IYC-Pakistan

 

 

 

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Official Youth Delegate Declaration

Official Youth Delegates Declaration
No decisions about us, without us
NEGOTIATING OUR SURVIVAL:
A picture of representatives from countries vulnerable to sea level rise sit at a negotiating table submerged in the waves. (from 350.org)
As official youth delegates of our country delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, we have been given the opportunity to represent our country and the voice of youth. We came together and drafted and signed the Official Youth Delegate Declaration, to support other young people to become representatives of their country and encourage their governments to support them. As stakeholders, it is important for governments to fully consider the concerns of youth in negotiations that concerns our future.
OYD Declaration Final
Sena Alouka from Togo signing the Official Youth Delegate Declaration
Esperanza Garcia, delegate of the Philippines with Nene Manizana, delegate of Democratic Republic of Congo
Philippine Youth Delegation, Esperanza, Desiree Llanos Dee, Kester Yu, Vivienne Zerrudo, Anna Oposa (from 350.org)
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