Our Work

The United Nations is the world’s major international organization comprised of every internationally recognized sovereign state in the world. Founded in 1945, the UN currently provides a platform for 193 member states to pursue common actions in the areas of peacekeeping, human rights, and social and economic development. The goal of our advocacy work at WYA is to ensure that all outcome documents respect and affirm the dignity of the person and represent a positive view of the tremendous value of human life.

World Youth Alliance at the UN

WYA is an accredited ECOSOC Civil Society Network NGO. WYA can thus access UN grounds, attend meetings, and at times, can take the floor to speak as a civil society representative.

How does the UN work?

6 principle organs make up the UN: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Secretariat, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Trusteeship Council.

Because WYA’s work lies in promoting the dignity of the person, most of our involvement happens at the General Assembly and within the Economic and Social Council.

The General Assembly (GA):

  • The GA is the deliberative, policymaking and representative body of the UN. Each Member State of the UN has one vote in the GA— every country, no matter how small, has a voice at the GA. Since every vote counts, WYA works to assist any Member State with the development of person-centered policies.
  • WYA monitors the regular annual session of the GA, which occurs the third week of September until December. The GA is made up of 6 main committees and our focus is usually on the 3rd Committee (Social, Humanitarian, & Cultural).

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC):

  • The ECOSOC coordinates the economic and social work of the UN, and is made up of functional commissions
  • Since its founding in 1999, WYA has been present at all major UN Conferences and Commission meetings affecting the dignity of the person. The implementation of the outcome documents that result from these high-level conferences are monitored and assessed by the ECOSOC commissions that we attend each year.

UN Commissions

Commission for Social Development
Commission on the Status of Women
Commission on Population and Development

What is a commission?

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN is made up of 10 commissions. These commissions monitor, review, and assess the steps Member States have taken to implement the outcome documents from high-level conferences. The role of the commissions is to ensure that the actions specified in the outcome documents are being followed at the local, national, regional and international levels.

The commissions produce resolutions that are formal expressions of political will. The resolutions interpret and relate to the agenda determined at the original high-level conference. The Commissions and their corresponding resolutions are organized around a specific priority theme each year.
World Youth Alliance at the Commissions

WYA is present every year at the commissions to advocate for policies that respect the dignity of the person. Because each resolution builds the body of agreed upon human rights language, it is important that we are there in order to encourage the adoption of good language.
WYA closely follows the following issue areas: health, maternal mortality and morbidity, education, sexual education, population concerns, minority relations, discrimination, religious freedom, and the environment. We focus on 3 main commissions: Commission on the Status of Women, Commission for Social Development, and Commission on Population and Development.

Members can participate at the commissions by: Contacting your regional office and checking our Youth Voices at the UN Program for current opportunities.

Social Development

The Commission for Social Development is the body of the Economic and Social Council charged with a whole range of social development policy. Its primary task is the implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, which were agreed upon at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen.


The Commission on the Status of Women sends recommendations and reports to the Economic and Social Council on women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. Its aim is to promote equality between men and women. The CSW reviews areas of concern in the Platform for Action, which was developed at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.


The Commission on Population and Development is an Economic and Social Council body that oversees the implementation of the Programme of Action developed at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

Click here for information on member participation at the commissions.