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New York, 30 Jan 12
UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has pledged to engage more firmly with young people around the world saying he will appoint a UN Special Representative on Youth.

"Our Agenda starts with economic empowerment for women and expanded opportunities for young people. I will appoint a new Special Representative for Youth to engage young people and spearhead our efforts," he told a news conference last week after giving the General Assembly an outline of actions he believes the global community must take over the next five years to build "the future we want." The idea of a special representative for youth is an initiative long advocated by UN-Habitat.

"We are honored that the Secretary General has made this commitment to youth," said Joao Scarpelini, UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board member. "The appointment of the Special Representative for Youth is a huge step forward in assuring that youth concerns are heard and acted upon internationally. We encourage the Secretary General to follow-up on the further recommendation of the Youth 21 initiative and assist youth in creating a UN Permanent Forum on Youth. It is critical that these new mechanisms become a platform to address the youth situation in the world, their struggle for democracy and basic needs."

The Youth 21 initiative was a report discussed in Oslo last month which called on the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on youth, and to support Member States in establishing a United Nations Permanent Youth Forum.

A larger meeting on the Youth 21 initiative is scheduled 15-17 March this year in Nairobi, Kenya at which delegates will discuss the mandate for a Special Representative for Youth, and the steps needed to engage young people in decision making meaningfully through the creation of the Permanent Forum on Youth.

For further details, see: to: http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/01/press-conference-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moon-5.html

To get involved in the Youth 21 process, please sign up and participate at http://edebates.globalyouthdesk.org/Home/Index.aspx

The Youth 21 report: http://edebates.globalyouthdesk.org/Download/Download.aspx?fcat=doc&fname=Youth.pdf

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