Last April 19 – 23, 2021, selected World Youth Alliance members had the opportunity to represent the organization at the 54th United Nations Commission on Population and Development. Held online (save for the opening and closing sessions), this year’s UN CPD tackled the theme “Population, food security, nutrition and sustainable development”.
Thomas Sarrouf, a WYA Chapter leader from the United States, delivered a statement on behalf of WYA. His statement focused on WYA’s proposal of putting human dignity at the center of the conversation on sustainable development, particularly the role of the family. “I am proud to represent WYA’s values at the UN because WYA presents a holistic view and understanding of human beings and human dignity, which is often lacking at the UN. It was an honor to offer alternative viewpoints that captured a more complete understanding of the human person,” shared Thomas.
WYA representatives had the opportunity to learn from speakers during the Commission. Zainab Al Ramlawi, WYA Middle East and North Africa Regional Programs Assistant, was a WYA delegate from Palestine. She shared that her favourite part was attending the expert panels. “It was very exciting to hear various perspectives from different specialists on the theme of this year’s conference. Also, it was very interesting to hear the positions, contributions and recommendations of the different member states and civil society organizations on the discussed topic.”
Members from the WYA delegation also witnessed the significant impact of how young people can participate in UN processes. Dijana Kovačević, WYA Croatia’s Director of Advocacy, describes this aptly: “Such involvement gives us some influence on the content of the final documents, gives us the opportunity to articulate positions before a large number of state and government representatives, and NGOs, as well as the opportunity to network with other actors with whom we share goals. At the UN commissions, we can act in a specific way, which certainly does not exclude our task of being proactive all other days of the year.”
Bogotá D.C. Chapter leader and WYA UN CPD representative Laura Rodriguez poses this challenge to WYA members who want to be involved in advocacy:
“We, young people who advocate for human rights and dignity, are not only the future but the present of the world. So, we must be actively involved in this kind of events which may create customary law, always seeking the creation of the best conditions and policies for humanity. I do really think that nowadays, we all need universal truths and values, one of them is the human dignity, and that’s what we advocate for in WYA, that is the importance of being there, soldiering for human dignity.”
WYA would like to thank the active participation of its chosen delegates to the 54th UN CPD. Contact your regional office to get more information on how you can be further involved in WYA’s global advocacy work.