|Contributions of Youth to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HABITAT, 1999, 137 p.)|
|PART I: OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL REPORTS AND LESSONS LEARNT|
The last decade of the Century was the period when the concepts of globalization, sustainable development and participation have been included in the agenda of the international community. These were the years when governments realized their limitations in the search for solutions to particularly social development problems at local, national, regional and international levels and noticed the necessity of establishing partnerships with non-governmental organizations, private sector, research institutes and associations of professionals. Important activities were initiated during these years. The process which began in the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janerio in 1992 underscored the necessity of sharing the problems of the world and the search for common solutions. During the City Summit (Habitat II Conference) held in Istanbul in 1996, the concepts of partnership and participation gained more importance not only in the decision-making processes for current issues but also for overall future planning a future all.
The City Summit (Habitat II Conference) was a cornerstone for the United Nations, national governments, local authorities, and especially for the Non Governmental Organizations and Community Based Organizations to work together as partners. The preparatory process for the Conference and the conference itself offered a great opportunity to integrate the views and demands of these partners on human settlements development in the formulation of the Habitat Agenda which reflected the way the problems of the world should be addressed within principle concepts such as sustainability, participation in decision making processes, gender equality and social integration.
The City Summit (Habitat II Conference) was the most participatory conference of the United Nations so far organized and the organizations of civil society and youth, namely Youth for Habitat, were accepted as partners in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda that was adopted as the final document of the Conference.
Municipal Youth Councils (CMJ) in Colombia
These councils are established according to article 45 of the National Constitution, which creates opportunities for youth participation and involvement in decision making. Municipal, Departmental and National Councils are established under this article and are elected by popular vote of young people. These councils are autonomous organizations serving as a communication channel between youth, the private enterprises and the State to design policies, programmes, and projects concerning youth. In Cartagena and Medellin, these councils were created by the initiative of youth leaders in contrast with other regions where the young people are waiting for these Councils to be created from the government as part of its responsibilities. It is important to note that these Councils are Municipal, Regional and National, whereas in most other countries, there is one national youth council.
Youth for Habitat International Network (YFHIN) is an umbrella organization operating at the international level with the coordination of a secretariat, several youth NGOs active at the local, national, regional levels and with focal points and resource persons in every region. The Network was first organized as a working group during the Social Development Summit held in Copenhagen in 1995 to promote youth participation in the Habitat II preparatory process and to raise awareness on issues of human settlements development. After the satisfactory results achieved in the City Summit (Habitat II Conference), youth representatives gathered in the International Youth Follow-up Meeting held in Eskisehir, Turkey in 1997 and formally established the Youth for Habitat International Network with its operational principles, conditions of membership and modus operandi of its Secretariat. The Network now has member youth organizations in more than 50 countries from all around the world.