By : Ms. Mistika Idris

Chairman Youth Taskforce for International Affairs and Diplomacy MBM

The UN Youth Townhall gathered over 10,000 youth representatives from around the world to participate in discussion as to how the novel COVID 19 is affecting youths and the world. During the townhall, we were given the opportunity to hear the thoughts and sentiments from the Secretary General Envoy on youth as she advocated for addressing the needs and rights of young people. The Townhall was organised by the Youth Envoy to highlight UN75 and to bridge the gap between the United Nations and youths of the world.

The Townhall brought together a diverse group of civil society, passionate individuals and other stakeholders to impart recommendations for the declaration on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary. The declaration would effectively reflect our commitment to the principles expressed in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to the objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This served as an opportunity for an inclusive process to examine global risks and trends, develop a global plan of action to address them, and promote partnerships for climate action, peace and security, human rights, democracy, sustainable development and disarmament.

The unifying theme of the discourse was in advancing a people-centered multilateralism, and the focus centred on both addressing global risks as well as revitalising the United Nations. These discussions were aimed at being a part of further UN75 global dialogues. It also sent a powerful message about stakeholder engagement and support to the global priorities on youth, women and inclusion.

A few recommendations highlighted were calls from the youth asking the world leaders and governments to establish a mandated post 2020 followup mechanism to undertake a detailed examination of the global challenges we have and identify options to make the UN more fit for this purpose. To develop a civil society focal point in the UN Secretariat that would enable deeper partnerships with civil societies working on the ground and the UN and to take urgent climate action

The session also highlighted issues and opportunities for meaningful engagement in decision-making processes that affect our lives and called for an increase in youth participation in the governmental space. Giving recognition to the positive contributions made by young people to advance sustainable development, peace building, upholding human rights and facilitating the maximisation of the impact of those contributions.

The Townhall which was co facilitated by the Embassy of Sweden and Qatar was joined by youth advocates such as Aya Chebbi, Juliet Grace, Ehab Badwi and Dana Maza who discussed the health crisis, climate crisis, entrenched indignities such as social, gender and racial inequality coupled with the absence of sufficient coordination and emphasised the need for intergenerational co-leadership, governance, transparency and also fighting against social injustice that affect us all – however disproportionately.

Through discussions, recommendations were received calling for more political willingness, effective multilateralism, intersectionality and intergenerational work to tackle the crisis at hand. Sharing one screen and an audience from around the world, borders and distance were unrealised as advice, comments and greetings were shared between delegates. An important note brought forward was that inclusivity was of utmost importance – not for the people who were a part of the Townhall but more urgently for those who did not have the opportunity or resources to be a part of it.

Through this, a coherent civil society vision for a strengthened UN system appeared. The Townhall symbolised a step forward in responding as one people, united in vision while diverse in approach. The voices of the youth signified a time that has come for a rigorous , nonpartisan, transparent and inclusive process to access global governance gaps and to develop a coherent strategy to fill them.

Date : 18th May 2020

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