On 14 June 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 73/299 to commemorate in 2020 the 75th anniversary of the establishment of United Nations under the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.
The resolution emphasized the need to engage young people in all commemorative activities and decided to convene a youth plenary at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session and the President of the
Economic and Social Council, in conjunction with the youth forum of the Council in 2020. The Youth Plenary, an inclusive, forward-looking, youth-driven global dialogue on the theme of the 75th anniversary of the UN, was to take place on March 31, 2020, followed by the ECOSOC Youth Forum,
April 1-2, 2020. As per the GA Resolution (73/299) youth representatives from the Youth plenary are expected to address the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the UN 75 anniversary on 21 September 2020, sharing a summary and outcome of the discussions. In addition, the outcome of the discussions will be shared during the HLPF on 7-16 July 2020.
The youth plenary is also seen as an opportune moment to support and amplify youth voices for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world as outlined in the priority area of the UN Youth Strategy: Youth 2030, which the UN Secretary General launched in September 2018 to strengthen UN’s position as not only working “for” young people but “with” young people.
As the preparation for the UN75 Youth Plenary in conjunction with the 9th ECOSOC Youth Forum were in full swing in February 2020, the world was hit by the coronavirus pandemic which has affected the lives of people in over 199 countries and territories. Due to the crisis situation, in early March, the convening bodies of the two events, the ECOSOC President’s Office (PECOSOC) and the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), in collaboration with the co-organizers, the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) decided to postpone the events for later in the year. Discussions on possible dates for the UN75 Youth Plenary are underway, while the ECOSOC Youth Forum will be either canceled or scaled-down and organized in a
different format which will still allow for youth input into the HLPF in July.
Despite the current circumstances, the two Member States co-facilitators for the development of the Member States Declaration for the UN 75th Anniversary, namely Qatar and Sweden, through their Permanent Representatives to UN in NY, consider youth input into the UN75 Declaration important and valuable, and have reached out to OPGA and OSGEY to collectively elaborate a plan for making this possible.
To gather youth input into the Member States Declaration for the UN 75th Anniversary which will be adopted at the high-level meeting in September 2020, through engagement of key youth organizations and networks.
To organize an online townhall meeting with young people representing diverse youth organizations and networks from all regions of the world during which they will present their constituencies’ input to the two co-facilitators of the intergovernmental negotiations on the UN75 declaration.
The discussions will revolve around the elements paper that the Permanent Representatives of Qatar and Sweden as co-facilitators of the intergovernmental negotiations on the UN75 declaration has circulated to Member States. Key questions and guidance to be used for gathering youth input will be developed to guide the process. These will be shared with the youth organizations and networks who in turn are to gather input from their membership (i.e. hold virtual consultations, survey, polls, etc.) based
on the guiding questions using formats which best suit their capacity in the current COVID-19 pandemic context. Youth organizations and networks will summarize the discussions in short and concise manner to be shared as input by young people during the Townhall Meeting with the two co-facilitators of the intergovernmental negotiations on the UN75 declaration.
Youth input into the Member States declaration for the UN75th anniversary contributing to the shared vision for a common future and the commitment to multilateralism in tackling world’s greatest challenges.