Day 1 : UN High Level Meeting on Youth

Post by Warime Guti, Papua New Guinea

“Are we doing enough for the Youth!”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked
“NO”, delegates responded
“Are we going to do something now!”,  Ban Ki-moon asked again.
“Yes”, delegates responded

That was Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s, the Secretary General of United Nation’s closing words moving the delegates to respond with zeal in his statement at the opening plenary.

It was a long and interesting day for us at the UN High-Level Meeting on Youth yesterday at the UN Headquarter, New York. We began in the nice cool morning at 8:30am on a long queue outside the UN main gate to go through the security checks and to collect our delegate pass into the UN General Assembly Hall. With about 400 youth groups registering, it took quite a long time on the queue before we got through the process.

By 10:15am we gained access into the fourth balcony of the Assembly Hall. From the fourth balcony we were looking down to the main Assembly Hall where each of the countries were labeled on desks put in rows. The Government Delegates are the only permitted people to sit there.
The meeting started with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the two recent terror attack in Norway on Friday where 75 people were killed; that included the young people as well.
“I am particularly saddened that this murderer singled out young people keen to engage meaningfully in the future of their country,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the gathering. “This atrocity stands in stark opposition to the theme of this meeting, which is dialogue and mutual understanding.”

The theme of the meeting is centered on “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”. This High-Level Meeting on Youth is to mark the end of UN International Year of Youth from August 2010 – August 2011.
The opening plenary began with Statements made by President of the General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, International supermodel, humanitarian and author (UK/South Sudan) and YMCA (Brazil), Mr. Romulo Dantas.
After the opening plenary we went straight into the “Thematic panel discussion One” and continued on to “Thematic panel discussion two” after lunch. The panels were made up of UN Representatives and Civil Societies Representatives. Between the two panel discussions we had Side Events.

The panels were lead by a co-chairperson. Each person in the panel were given turn to speak on the theme and later the Government Delegates were asked to respond. The government delegates include Presidents, Prime Minister, Politicians and/or Government Bureaucrats from the respective countries.

Reflection:
Generally, almost every person in the panel and the government delegates who were speaking; spoke positively supporting the theme. In fact all the four points in our Statement we sent earlier were captured in at least one of the person who was speaking during the two thematic panels. The four points on our statement were 1. Youth Participation, 2. Education 3. Access to the job market 4. Religious freedom and understanding.

Most of the speakers began their talk by passing their condolence messages to the people of Norway for the loss of their young future leaders on Friday.

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