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"Many governments are far behind" - An Interview with Erik T. Wedershoven Part II Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Franziska Seel, Germany Oct 1, 2005
Child & Youth Rights , Civil Society   Interviews
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This is part II of an interview I conducted with Erik T. Wedershoven, the official Youth Delegate of The Netherlands to the United Nations General Assembly. In part I, I talked with him about his participation in the Millennium Summit, about lobbying and the role of young people in achieving the MDGs.

Erik, next week you are going back to New York for the UN General Assembly segment on youth. Can you tell a bit more about what is going to happen there and why is it such an important event for young people?

It’s the World Programme of Action for Youth that is going to be commemorated. It’s the youth policy paper of the United Nations, basically the best paper we have internationally about youth development and the role of youth in international co-operation.

Why is that important for youth? It’s basically covering all the main youth issues like employment, education, environment - and we hope that to the ten older priority areas we’ll also add five new ones: HIV/AIDS, intergenerational issues (which is a very important issue in Western Europe) ICTs and technology, youth and children in armed conflict and globalization. These five new priority issues are really important these days and especially HIV/AIDS is not longer just a health problem, it is so important to look at the social aspects as well.

So for youth it’s the most basic lobby toolkit, it’s everything you need to lobby your government about sending youth delegates, investing more in youth-led development programs, investing more in youth organizations – it’s all in there. It’s the first piece of paper you want to look at it if you want to lobby your government, if you want to work on projects.

This week it’s going to be reviewed and we have two plenary sessions at the General Assembly devoted to it next week. So we need to use this momentum to get these youth issues higher on the agenda. Because what is happening with the implementation of the World Programme? Many governments are really far behind with their youth policies - a lot of governments still don’t even have a youth policy. But this is strange, because the situation of youth basically just isn’t the same as the situation of older people or of children, it is really a very important stage in life - being young, being youth. And raising awareness on youth policies, looking back what governments did and especially looking forward to what governments can do – this is what is going to be discussed next week. Also what youth and youth organization can do. What issues are important right now? What should we focus on? What do we miss right now?

Do you know how many young people, how many youth delegates will be there next week?

We already have 3o youth delegates that are definitely going to come and 5 probably. So there are 35 now, but we expect to have 40-45 youth delegates – and we never had more than 11 youth delegates. So going to 40-45 is a lot and that’s a victory for youth policy and for young people from all over the world. We even have youth delegates from Africa now, a couple from Asia, a couple from South America. And there are a lot of youth organizations that will be there during that week, that will try to influence and try to lobby for things.

Can you explain how you become a youth delegate, how is the usual process? If I’m a young person, what shall I do if I want to become an official youth delegate?

In about 25 countries now we have elections. Some of them were closed within the commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that happens in a lot of countries. If you have existing structures (more and more countries have these structures of youth councils or UN Associations) then you just have young people apply to become the official youth delegate.

If you don’t have these structures, but you still want to have a youth delegate or you want to become a youth delegate yourself you have to lobby your government and relevant organizations. The first organization you can look for, for example, is UNFPA that strongly supports youth participation.

But you can also go to your government and talk to them, especially get in contact with your Minster of Foreign Affairs. In the UK for example, a couple of youth from the UN Youth Association just went up to their Minister, had an appointment with him for one hour and the next day they were told that they were going to send 3 youth delegates. It can go very fast, but again it’s lobbying and it is important to get a lot of organizations behind you. Every organization has to come to your Minister of Foreign Affairs and ask: ‘why don’t we have a youth delegate, isn’t it important to involve young people?’

Also, you can get in touch with the UN Youth Program, they are really supporting youth delegates and trying to get more. Also get in touch with youth delegates from other countries. On the website of the UN Youth Program (www.un.org/youth) you can find a lot of information about youth delegates from the past and how you can lobby your government. Get in contact with a youth delegate and show your government how important it is to send youth delegates, show them how useful it has been in the past and what a shame it is that they are not sending a youth delegate while 45 other countries are.

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Franziska Seel

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elizabeth kibalama | Feb 14th, 2006
hallo Seel I just read ur report. Its nice to hear a youth working so hard. Now i need your expert advice. I have a degree in development economics but lack experience. I wish to work in development/international cooperation to give me a chance to grow in the field i love dearly. I have sent many CV and open applications to no avail to Uk, Netherlands and even some in Africa. Could you help by advicing? elizabeth (netherlands)

max albert remon torres | Oct 6th, 2005
cool how can i do the same ???????????

meddahi | Jun 6th, 2008
Re: جائزة العلامة عبد الحميد بن باديس رحمه الله.....مــــــــــداحي العــــــــــيد (التقييم: 0) بواسطة زائر في 2-6-1429 هـ الشاعر العصامي مداحي العـيد هذه القصيدة الوجدانية من البحر الوافر 05/06/2008 .. المتنبي الصغير شعرت بوحـــدةٍ ثقلت جروح لقـد تــركــت أنــيــستها تروح قد امتلأت بكــربـــتها صُنوف من الحـزن قـد اجتمعت تبــوح إذا خلا الفــــــؤاد من الغرام العفيف فهـلْ سيقتحم الطََّموح وقلبه خـــاليٌّ من كل شوقٍ كما الأزهــــــار عـــطـرها يفوح وما؟ الدنـــيا بغـــير حبيبةٍ قد تشــع بحــــــــبها الـذي يسيح وما الحــــــياة؟ دون محبّةٍ قد سمت بصــــفـائها فــلها جموح ترى ذا العشـق مُضطربا فبعد لكانـــتـه الــتي لـحـــنت يصيح بفُصحــــــــته التي ملأت قلوبا بوهــــــج محـــبّةٍ كــادت تنوح إذا ما فـرّت الغــــــــــزلان منا فحــبـنا الــــذي لـــمح كسيح إذا انقشع الظلام سمعت ديك المبـــادرة الــــذي نادى يصيح إذا بضيائـه يـــبـــــــدو صباح أشعــــــــــــته لقد فلتت تلوح إذا بالكائـــنـات جمـــــيعها قد بدا انشـــراحـها نزحت فسيح لقد مكثت تُـــؤانسني زمانا فبـــعد دُنـــــــــوّها بعُدتْ تريح نأت بمحــــــبّةٍ قــد عذّبتني أنا الآن بكــــــربــــــــــتها أبوح نأتْ بأنيـــــــــنها تــلك الفتاة وقلـــبها بــذكـــــــــرهم يصيح لقد عشقت جوارحها التي لم تكن قاصــــــدةً عـــشقا يُطيح عناء محــــــــــبةٍ ثقُلتْ عليها فصار غــــرامُها أبـــــــدا ينوح تقول بحسرةٍ وفـــــــؤادها قد تراكمتْ مواجــــــــــــعه جروح ودمع عيـــونها يجــــري كنهر الفرات لقد تدفــــقت السطوح أيا زوجـــــــــــي قد أبدلتنا يا فــتى أبـــــدا بـشــــعـرٍ مبروح فقلتُ لها دعي أمــري فإني فتى يمشي وفي قلبي جُروح لأنثرَ عِبـْـق أزهــــارِ الشمال التي أسعــــدت القلـبَ صحيح

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