Archive for April 12th, 2005

News from New York

April 12th, 2005

I was going to title this “Yorks from New New”, but Neela says it’s not funny.

OK, so it’s late, we’re tired, the first day was long, but we’re determined to make the most of the next two weeks, and more importantly, do a really good job of involving people back in the UK and keeping you all informed about what’s going on.

CSD 13 is the third yearly meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development since the World Summit in Johannesburg. At CSD 11, the governments decided to focus on a few themes relevant to sustainable development in cycles, each ‘thematic cycle’ lasting two year. CSD 12 last year was the ‘review year’ for Water, Sanitation and Human Settlements – so no new decisions were made by governments. The idea with that was that by having a two-year cycle, the first year could be spent really figuring out what needs to be done, in a more relaxed atmosphere, without the pressure of the formal international negotiations going on.

This year is the ‘policy year’ so it’s all about negotiations. But there’s something else special about this year, and that’s Neela. Of course everyone’s special, but Neela has a red badge. Naaa naaa na naaa naaa. OK, so I should probably explain that. The UN ID passes are colour-coded, and red is for governments. This is the first year EVER that the UK government has let a youth representative join their official delegation to CSD. It’s something that we’ve been pushing ever since Johannesburg, and it’s definitely a step forward for youth participation in the UK.

There’s a bit of a drawback, which is that Neela can’t run around contradicting the UK government positions on things – that’s a compromise we make in getting youth reps on official delegations. Don’t worry though, there are still lots of other people here who can say whatever they like about the government’s policies as publicly as they like. And I’m sure we will.

Today we had opening statements by governments, a couple of meetings with other youth representatives (some official government youth delegates, as well as other brown-badge folk like me) as well as getting settled and orientated. Here’s Neela with a report on the day’s activities…

Today was a chance for me to get to grips with the procedure and meet some of the other youth delegates. I attended the chair’s opening remarks in the main plenary, which was an incredible sight, and then i headed off to the youth caucus. Here we introduced ourselves to each other and divided up groups to focus on different issues. I chose to focus on water, as this is the subject that i have done the most reading on. So i had a chat with the other youth members working on water, and we attended the water caucus meeting, that was a collection of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations). Because I am a government delegate I can only speak the UK official line. So the youth caucus view on the issue of water might be different to the UK view. So, we drew up a few points that the youth caucus would like to see included in final documents. I can now discuss these views with the government delegates. There will be particularly interesting debates on whether water should be a human right: this is something that the youth caucus feels quite strongly about. Tomorrow we will also work on the youth caucus views on interlinking issues: this basically means how we can link policies in water, sanitation and settlements together. For example: good sexual health education is a health and sanitation issue, but it is also important in areas of huge population growth, like slums. Empowering young people with family planning choices, for example, will have effects on more than one issue. But of course this is not just an issue for slums, giving young people the tools to determine their own futures is empowering, worldwide.

Anyway, it is getting late, and i have a meeting at 8.30am. This is so that the NGO groups can co-ordinate their aims for the day. I hope that this has been interesting. It is all as new to me as it is to you. So, please feel to mail in any questions and I, or Matthew, will try our best to answer them.


Matthew –

Neela –

Oh, and there’s wireless internet in the UN building now, so we’ll be online quite a bit. If you see us online, we’ll be happy to chat…

aol: mfc246
yahoo: matthewfcarroll
icq: 24869696

…I’ll try to remember to sign in!

I’m not sure if Julie will have time to post updates to the website, since she’s so busy with Global Village stuff at the moment, but all our updates will be available on Matthew’s own site at:

Blue (sleepy) skies
Matthew & Neela

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