Advocacy – I LOVE IT!

The past two days feel like a week – I WANT TO SLEEP! We’ve met so many people; an important part of our work has been introducing ourselves to as many delegates as possible. I think I’m now known as the most sociable French girl in town. The main commission sessions of consisted of presentations by countries, UN agencies or non-governmental organizations illustrating the way they implement the concept of social integration. During these presentations we took any opportunities we could to meet with delegates and discuss our ideas – I met with Morocco, Algeria, France and Ireland – it was an exciting process. To be strategic, I mostly met European and French speaking delegates – the French-speaking delegates were happy to speak French. You might wondering how we knew who was from which country… it’s not magic … each delegate has a sign at the place where he or she sits. Today was a bit different. We attended an NGO youth breakfast/briefing on Wednesday and found out that a resolution on youth was going to be adopted during the Commission. After reading the proposition, our UN Advocacy Specialist decided to propose an important language change – that’s when the action started. The advocacy work really picked up and we approached as many delegates as we could to support this change once they entered negotiations in the afternoon – these are not open to us. Most of the delegates were very happy to hear from us; what we had to say was breath of fresh air. I discovered that it is not difficult to approach delegates and that as a young person I have a huge impact just by being there.

Stephanie – age 23
France