Since 1981 the United Nations (UN) recommend Member States to include Youth Delegates in their national delegations in order to ensure direct youth participation. The inclusion of Youth Delegates in the work of its Mission to the United Nations gives a country legitimacy in representing the views of its young population and promotes the voice of young people in global decision making.
In fact, a youth policy designed involving young people themselves stands a much greater chance of success as it will have greater legitimacy amongst youth.
Youth Delegates have demonstrated themselves to be of great value to their Governments and Foreign Ministries who benefit from their fresh perspectives, creativity, energy and idealism. Furthermore, are experts on the issues that affect them and are integral to achieving effective and enduring solutions. They have much insight to offer policy-makers.
That is why the ‘World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond’ calls upon Member States to: ‘Include Youth Representatives in their national delegations to the General Assembly and other relevant United Nations meetings, thus enhancing and strengthening the channels of communication through the discussion of youth related issues, with a view to finding solutions to the problems confronting youth in the contemporary world.’ The idea of youth participation in UN decision making has been reiterated in several resolution, such as A/Res/50/81 and A/Res/64/130.
Since 2005 two German Youth Delegates accompany their Delegation to the UN General Assembly to New York every year. At the UN, we give a voice to the young generation by advising diplomats as “experts on youth issues” on the perspectives of youth.
Please find a presentation on the youth delegate programme here.
A plea for Youth Delegates
‘Educating Australia’s young people in disadvantaged circumstances about their right to be heard and to participate was an enormous privilege, because it is our awareness of the power of our voice that moves us from feeling powerless to empowered. To see young people’s horizons broadened by the mere knowledge that their best interests are expounded and protected under the framework of a family of nations known as the UN was incredible. I learned that there is a special synergy between the UN and young people, since each is the other’s greatest asset.’
Chris Varney, Australian Youth Delegate, 2009