UCPSARnet participated in the International Solidarity Forum (ISF) organized by the World Youth Alliance. United Nations, New York City. April 16-19, 2012
Dr. Wosinski (Facilitator of UCPSARnet) and Osee Romeo (Associate Faciitator) had meetings with the UN Peace Building Office, UN Foundation, World Youth Alliance, GAID, and "Funding for NGOs.org".
Osee Romeo had completed WYA's Track A training program, and is certified by the regional director. From April 16-19, he participated in the 9th International Solidarity Forum orgainzed by World Youth Alliance (WYA). Hosted at the United Nations in New York, the ISF brought together WYA members from each of the five regions, international advisors to the World Youth Alliance, and members of the UN diplomatic community. Each ISF examined particular themes of global importance through lectures, workshops, and cultural activities.
The International Solidarity Forum focused on four areas:
- Expert Lectures: Experts in the field of the theme topic, including diplomats, researchers, and scholastics, present global issues to participants. This expertise influences the positions expressed in the ISF outcome declaration.
- UN Training: Hosting the ISF at United Nations Headquarters allows participants to learn about the UN system by experiencing it through attendance at concurrent UN Commissions or other meetings.
- Language Negotiation: Each ISF produces an outcome document which serves the purpose of training participants in UN style language negotiations as well as drafting WYA position statements on global issues.
- Cultural Events: ISF participants came from all regions of the world; cultural events allow them to share their respective cultures. Major cultural events, such as the WYA Film Festival, demonstrated how core ideas are expressed through culture.
ISF 2012 | Sustainable Development: The Priority of Persons
This year's annual theme examineD the centrality of the human person in achieving human development, particularly in relation to the idea of sustainable development. Sustainable development is the United Nations' overarching concept for development and human rights; it includes social, economic and environmental areas of focus. In June, 2012, the United Nations will host an international conference in Rio, in order to revisit commitments made 20 years ago, and to reset the sustainable development agenda for the future. Given the overarching compass of this theme, the commitments made at Rio will influence each area of WYA's work at the UN in an ongoing way.
WYA Represents the Real Needs of Youth at the 45th Commission on Population and Development
May 01, 2012
(New York, May 1st) -The World Youth Alliance approached the 45th Session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) with one primary aim-to see the creation of a more balanced document. The theme of this year's Commission was "adolescents and youth". The initial draft of the document placed an overwhelming emphasis on the areas of health, and sexual and reproductive health, and failed to give sufficient emphasis to the real concerns of youth. These concerns include access to employment, education, vocational training, and the importance of basic health care, sanitation, and nutrition. The voice of WYA at the CPD was clear-we care about a wide array of issues, and reducing the scope of the outcome document to one such issue would constitute a real disservice to the world's youth.
Throughout the negotiations, many Member States, especially from the Arab and African groups and some Latin American countries, highlighted the importance of creating a balanced document. Tensions arose over controversial reproductive rights language, as well as references to privacy and confidentiality for adolescents and youth. There is no internationally recognized definition for the term adolescents, and a variety of definitions exist that include children from the age of ten as adolescents. The term adolescents may thus apply to children, and as a result not all of the commitments within the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development may be applied to the context of adolescents. Given that the purpose of the CPD is to revisit the Programme of Action, this was the cause of much controversy. For example, the document cannot call for the provision of employment opportunities for adolescents, which by definition would mean calling for child labor.
Although these sorts of controversies dominated much of the Commission, we saw the emergence of a more balanced document as language was added on employment, education, and other critical areas that are of importance to youth. WYA proposed language to emphasize the tremendous potential of young people as drivers of economic development. The insertion of this language was essential in order to combat more negative portrayals of population dynamics. We celebrate the inclusion of the following sentence in the final outcome document: "Recognizing further that adolescents and youth in all countries are a major resource for development and key agents for social change, economic development and technological innovation…" [Paragraph 8, CPD Resolution 2012]
Despite progress toward the creation of a positive document, the World Youth Alliance objects to the three references to reproductive rights within the document, given that this term is not defined by international law. Also, we take a firm stance against the inclusion of language on the right to privacy and confidentiality of adolescents, which implies the deletion of parents' rights. Lastly, the references to reproductive health services, which may include abortion, are objectionable and cannot be accepted by those Member States that have constitutions that prohibit abortion.
A major victory for developing countries in the negotiations was maintaining the inclusion of the "sovereignty paragraph" from last year's document. This paragraph makes note of the following: "the sovereign right of each country to implement recommendations of the Programme of Action [of the ICPD]…consistent with national laws and development priorities, with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people…" The effect of this paragraph is to render all of the controversial references within the document subject to the national laws of UN Member States, which may have critical implication for upholding the dignity of the human person. http://www.wya.net/news/index.html?pressid=555