Blog Post: Mutual Understanding or Parallel Worlds?

By Perla Vazquez

Over the past few days the United Nations held the first high-level meeting on Youth in New York City, which marks the end of the International Year of Youth, from August 2010 to August 2011.

The theme of this meeting was to bring young people and decision makers together to discuss the impact of the policies that affect their communities every day.

As part of the youth movement two FRIDA advisors attended the meeting: Rachel Arinii Judhistari and Perla Vazquez from Asia and Latin America.
Throughout two days of presentations from governments around the world on their actions in the field of youth and parallel events organized by international organizations and the UN system, the activists that participated in the meeting felt that we lacked the space to discuss, debate and propose alternative strategies.

What we were able to determine in the corridors and informal meetings, is that initiatives led by young activists and environmentalists in justice, security, health, the afro-descendent movement, indigenous, LGBT, sexual rights, and others have generated a lot more progress than the strategies and actions of governments.

Only those of us from Latin America had a specific meeting place, where we could appreciate the need to strengthen the youth movement using comprehensive, interrelated, common agendas that allow us to improve the quality of life for the youth of our region. It was only from this region that the participation of feminist youth was most visible. Even though there was much more participation by young women in this meeting, there were no speeches from governments considering them as individuals with rights.

Although very little progress was made in the dialogue, it is evident that the youth movement has survived with a lowest level of resources. The agencies and international organizations continue to deny resources to youth-based organizations but offer them to international organizations that have the infrastructure to implement these resources. The bottom line is that youth around the world need more investment, support, public policies and recognition of their rights. The youth movement has a lot to offer the world’s governments, to strengthen local strategic support.

For more Information on the meeting: