The Urban Youth Assembly at WUF 10 is being held at a critical point in time for sustainable urbanization. The Climate Emergency has meant that young people, led by Greta Thunberg, have protested globally against climate change inaction, with a focus on inequality and the failure of governance at all levels to address the issue. Youth and their use of culture in all its forms have been a driving force for change.
Climate change also threatens human security because it undermines the environment, livelihoods, communities and the ability of states to provide the conditions necessary for sustainable peace. Young people’s voice, agency, and leadership have played a crucial role in advancing climate action and climate justice. This is especially relevant in urban settings. Cities have become younger – most of the three billion people under the age of twenty-five live in urban areas, and it is estimated that 60% of urban populations will be under the age of 18 by 2030. This is happening in parallel with intensifying climate crisis wrecking unprecedented and irrevocable damage to the environment - driving an increasing number of young women and men to urban areas
The Youth Assembly will serve as a space to share, report, and galvanize youth action and youth culture for sustainable urbanization. Key to youth culture is innovation, whether it be in the arts where youth push the cultural norms to bring forward new ideas and concepts such as the Cities 4 All concert at the UN-Habitat Assembly, or whether it be youth’s utilization of technology such as our very successful use of Minecraft to engage youth in planning and governance.
Promoting participatory dialogue will be important to the Youth Assembly, which will host training, plenary sessions, networking opportunities, and bring together youth and youth organizations engaged innovation in sustainable urban development globally, including the local and national government, academia, civil society, and the private sector.
In order to both promote participatory dialogue, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the Assembly, UN-Habitat will also host a series of virtual youth seminars and web dialogues on the key thematic areas of the Assembly. This work will as well inform the Youth Assembly’s Outcome document which will be presented at the end of the conference.
- Highlight culture and how youth can advance sustainable urbanization
- Develop capacity amongst youth to address pressing urban issues such as:
- Climate change
- Public space
- Migration / refugee
- Peace and security
- Advocate for youth-led solutions and celebrate youth leadership
- What are the needs of young people to become engaged as leaders in sustainable urban development? How can they be addressed?
- What best practices are there for youth engagement in sustainable urban development – especially in the area of culture and innovation?
- What role does culture play for youth in relation to achieving sustainable urban development?