United States of America Worldwide
Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council. The youth delegate programme is coordinated by the Focal Point on Youth at the global level, but it is the responsibility of the Member States to establish a youth delegate programme at the national level, and to decide who will represent the young people of their country. The roles of a youth representative varies from country to country, but normally includes providing input to their delegation on issues related to youth and participate in their delegation’s general work through attending meetings and informal negotiations.
To determine if your country has an existing Youth Delegate Programme check the list of youth delegates of previous years.
If your country does not have a programme in place to select a youth delegate, your task will be two-fold:
- First, you have to convince your country on the importance of having a youth representative in its delegation to the UN General Assembly.
- And secondly, once they’ve established the position, you will have to initiate a selection process.
Youth delegates can participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. Most official youth delegates participate in the General Assembly, but some also attend functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.
Some steps you may consider include:
- Determine whether or not your country currently has a youth representative programme. If it does, inquire through your department of foreign affairs or a national youth council about how the application process works.
- If your country does not currently have a youth representative programme, you will have to lobby to have one created. This can be done most effectively by working in cooperation with existing youth organizations in your country.
- Sometimes the process may work very quickly, and sometimes it may take a greater effort to have youth delegates become part of government policy.
- Some steps you might take would include:
- Write to your minister of foreign affairs (or equivalent), outline the merits of youth delegates, and offer to meet to discuss it further.
- Contact the Minister for Youth (or equivalent), senior public servants, the Ambassador to the UN, or even the Head of State.
- You might also try to get letters of endorsement from all of the above, plus key civil society leaders, national and international.
- After the proposal has been accepted, and a nomination and selection procedure established, the next step would be to apply for the position.