With the UN Headquarters in New York, we are in a unique position to expose young people to the UN process and to inspire them to take part in sustainable development action. Additionally, we want the youth of the world to have a strong, organized position at Rio+20, and to be able to deliver a clear message of needs to be in the final outcome document.
NY+20 is the perfect opportunity to educate the public on the important issues of sustainable development, to develop new ideas and methods of collaboration through youth, and to raise awareness of the Rio+20 conference in general. Targeted specifically at residents in New York City and its surrounding areas, this event will inspire a new generation of social and environmental leaders to take action in their communities.
NY+20 will not engage its participants through “Model UN-style” mock negotiations, but will instead allow the students to learn about sustainable development issues and to advocate for their own opinions. We are working with 4 Key Topics from Rio+20 negotiations that are particularly significant for youth:
- Green Jobs, and their potential for young people
- How youth will fit into a new Global Governance design for Sustainable Development
- Developing specific Sustainable Development Goals
- The creation of an international Ombudsman of Future Generations
Over the course of the day, participants will be broken up into four groups, each dealing with one thematic issue. After a beginning presentation on the topic by experts in the area (Ambassadors, federal negotiators, academics, civil society representatives, etc.), the small group of young people (facilitated by event staff) will work with each other and their “experts” to draft their opinions on the topic. These positions will be modeled in the form of the UNCSD Zero-Draft, but with an emphasis on producing an innovative document, with a pre-defined structure (no more than 1 page of clear principles and commitments). This allows for participants to understand the real challenges in the UN negotiating process, and to develop creative ways to work with the issues.
At the end of the day, the participants will come together as a large group and discuss the opinions that each thematic group formed. Joining all of these ideas together, a NY+20 Youth Statement will be produced. This statement can then be broadcast to larger audiences of American and International youth to inspire and educate them on the topics. Together with the outcomes of other MyCity+20 events we will bring the NY+20 outcomes to the Rio+20 conference in June, to be an active part in the Youth Blast, a side event, and the youth engagement in the overall process.