International Youth Day 2016

Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production

Every year on the 12th of August, the world commemorates the International Youth Day to celebrate 1.8 billion young people all over the globe. At a time that the youth population is larger than ever, the challenges and opportunities for economic and social progress facing this age bracket (10 – 24 years) are more critical than ever. Needless to say, our common future will be defined by how we meet the needs and aspirations of young people today. To ensure that the future for this demographic dividend is not compromised, it is essential to achieve sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. It is for this reason that the 2016 Theme is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”.

With the world’s environment continually being polluted and degraded, the earth’s resources face a risk of being completely depleted over the next 50 years. To control this, sustainable consumption and production methods, which entail the use of products and services that meet the basic needs of communities whilst safeguarding the needs of future generations by minimizing waste and pollution, have to be adopted and promoted globally to achieve this.

It is thus not only those in policy and decision making positions responsible for this mammoth task of ensuring sustainable development, but also the youth themselves to be agitators of sustainable development. Activities for this year’s commemorations were focused on engaging young people with duty bearers and decision makers. To harness this, Eye for Development, among other things, in partnership with Network for Youth Development launched the “Timvereni Campaign”.  Looking at the momentum that is being created by the ongoing discussions on young people, a great opportunity emerges for their further integration in the development processes.

The campaign, led by a consortium of youth organizations, young professionals, youth activists, and advocates has been set to harness youth voices and actions towards the implementation of promises, commitments and agreements embodied in local and international instruments including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Youth Charter, and the National Youth Policy. The campaign will among other things help to significantly build and improve upon already existing interventions currently being implemented by different stakeholders through policy dialogue on youth empowerment between youth actors and policy makers.

Speaking at a Press Briefing on the eve of the commemorations, the Executive Director for National Youth Council of Malawi, observed that young people’s participation in processes for local or national development has largely been limited to inviting small groups to take part in one-off meetings and events, essentially making their participation tokenistic if not cosmetic. “It is key that the youth are given opportunities to meaningfully participate in the social, economic and political life of the nation and contribute to the sustained development of the country”, he explained, whilst highlighting some of the recommendations in the National Youth Policy. Today, we have an opportunity to define a post-2016 sustainable development framework, built on lessons learned to meet specific indicators and targets on education, skills development and employment, health, especially sexual and reproductive health, youth participation and leadership, with the youth at the center of it all.

 By changing the way we produce, consume, behave, and communicate, together, we can ensure a sustainable future for the most connected, the most outspoken and the most open-minded generation the world has ever seen. 

National Youth Council of Malawi Tenth Annual General Assembly

Every year, the National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) runs a General Assembly of its affiliates, which provides a platform to hear youth’s perspectives on development in Malawi and listen to their input on how the Council can serve them better. In this our tenth assembly, NYCOM is hosting more affiliates than ever before to discuss how the Global Goals can be a driver for youth development in Malawi.

The National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) is the statutory organisation responsible for coordinating youth work in Malawi, with its theme being “Uniting Youth for Development”. Established by Malawi’s Parliament in 1996, NYCOM coordinates youth organisations in every district of Malawi; conducting trainings, giving advice, promoting advocacy and providing supportive linkages to our network of over 200 youth organisations. NYCOM’s vision is to help build a Malawi where young people are able to develop their full potential and contribute to sustainable development of their country.

General Assembly

Driven by a desire to hear youth voices and mandated by section 28 of the NYCOM Act, NYCOM is proud to be hosting our Tenth Annual General Assembly (AGA) this coming March. The General Assembly is a platform where youth representatives from each of NYCOM’s affiliates come together to voice the issues concerning their organisations and youth in Malawi as a whole. It also serves as an opportunity for NYCOM members to propose resolutions for us to adopt and approve the council’s budget.

Last year, the assembly had about 370 participants from several youth organisations and stakeholders. Over the last few years, youth have come to NYCOM’s General Assemblies to lobby for accountability from the Ministry for Youth, increased number of testing centres, funding from national and international donors, and training to be able to serve their communities better.  

Theme: Domesticating the Global Goals: Putting Youth First

On September 27, 2015, world leaders came together to sign on to a set of goals which aim at ending extreme poverty, fight inequality, and fix climate change. With 17 goals, 169 indicators, and 15 years, it is hard to know what this resolution means for youth in Malawi. In order to set up our the youth of Malawi for success, NYCOM plans to use this gathering as an opportunity to explain each of the goals in fuller detail and demonstrate how youth organisations can grow through partnership in the sustainable development agenda.

At the same time, the UN is launching its Youth Gateway, “a platform for young people globally to mobilize for taking action on implementation of the bold new global development agenda”. The Council hopes to make this year’s Assembly a part of the launch of the Youth Gateway in Malawi, leveraging our unique position to connect global institutions with local change-makers. NYCOM believes that this will have significant and lasting benefits to youth organisations and youth in Malawi.

The main objective of the AGA is to provide a forum for affiliates of the Council to discuss development issues, share best practices, and evaluate NYCOM’s position and performance.

Specifically, the general assembly, as per the Act, section 28(2), must:

  1. Receive and to adopt a statement of the Council accounts to the end of the preceding year;
  2. Deal with any special matter which the Council desires to bring before it and other matter or suggestion which the general membership may bring before it: Provided that no such suggestions shall be considered by the General Assembly unless two weeks prior notice in writing is served on the members before the meeting is held.

Logistical Arrangements

NYCOM plans to hold the AGA between 4 and 8 April, 2016 in Lilongwe. It will invite three representatives from each organization. Depending on availability of resources, NYCOM will some costs with the affiliate organizations. This will also work to encourage affiliates to develop the spirit of self-help. In this case, therefore, the Secretariat intends to fully support the participation of two delegates per organization while the affiliates cover the costs for the third delegate. As a rule, at least one delegate per organization will be female.

Required Resources

While NYCOM has high hopes for this gathering, the Council believes that we cannot achieve them alone. As it has for the last decades, NYCOM is actively seeking out partners who believe in Malawi’s youth and want to stand behind them as they share their voices.

NYCOM is in need of resources for several aspects of the AGA namely: communication (airtime); hiring of video camera; transport refunds for affiliates, board members and observers; accommodation/subsistence allowances for delegates; stationery; conference facility (including venue and food); fuel for local running; and media and publicity. The Council will engage different existing and prospective partners to acquire support for these resources.

NYCOM exists to help youth organisations be the best that they can be. Hosting this general assembly is NYCOM’s way of building the capacity of our affiliates, and allowing them to shape and govern the council.  By focusing on the Global Goals, the Council hopes to inspire and strengthen our network with the information and connections they need to achieve the goals here in Malawi. The Council hopes to make this a reality, and anticipates your partnership in our efforts. 

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