1.1.2 HABITAT AGENDA AND YOUTH
Despite the fact that young people are the dynamic and
enthusiastic segment of society, they have become vulnerable due to the immense
population growth in many regions of the world, unresponsive policies and
programmes at the national and local levels and lack of opportunities where they
can demonstrate their potential. Planning for youth is unfortunately not an
integral component of national development programmes in most countries. This
situation is aggravated by insufficient inter-institutional co-ordination, lack
of basic data and research, limited financial resources allocated to youth
issues and lack of training. Youth should therefore strive to improve these
policies and strategies particularly related to the implementation of the
Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21, as specifically elaborated in paragraph 120(a) of
the Habitat Agenda. Principle 25 of the Rio Declaration and paragraph 120(b) of
the Habitat Agenda, further address enabling of youth to play an active and
creative role in building sustainable communities. Bearing in mind paragraph
182(n) of the Habitat Agenda, youth should be accepted as a key partner in the
implementation processes of all relevant activities.
Salient Features of the Draft New Youth Policy in India
The new draft youth policy calls for an integrated approach to
youth development as youth development is considered a multi-sectoral concept.
It speaks about involving the youth in the process of decision making and
implementation. Apart from these, it also defines the privileges and
responsibilities of youth.
The major objectives of the new policy are to provide the youth
with proper educational and employment opportunities; to give access to all
relevant information, create adequate sports and other recreational facilities;
to create among the youth awareness about Indian history, culture and heritage
and to inculcate a scientific temper in them. The draft policy has set out four
thrust areas namely: Youth Empowerment, Gender Justice, Inter-spectral Approach
and an Information and Research Network.
The Policy recognises Education, Training, Employment and Health
as the key sectors of concern for youth, and accords high priority to certain
categories of youth such as, youth with disabilities, rural youth, unemployed
youth and street children. Besides Education, Employment, and Health, the policy
also focuses on Adolescent Health, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases,
Nutrition, Environment, Sports, Recreation and Leisure, Art and Culture, Gender
Justice, Science and Technology, Civics issues and Citizenship
The Habitat II Conference and its preparatory process
constituted excellent opportunities for youth to demonstrate their value as
idealistic and visionary, yet active and energetic members of the society.
Within this participatory process that took place at the preparatory stages of
the Habitat II Conference and the Conference itself, Youth for Habitat
International Network (YFHIN) has designed its objectives to contribute to the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda as: awareness raising about Habitat Agenda
and Agenda 21 (in addition to the global agendas related to youth); to promote
youth perspectives in the implementation of these initiatives at the
international, regional, national and local levels; to facilitate information
exchange between youth organizations; to develop and implement projects related
to human settlements development through mobilizing the potential of youth; to
provide training and formulating models for institutionalization of youth
approaches and; to strengthen international co-operation on youth.
The emphasis on the concepts of sustainability, partnership,
transparency, especially during the last decade of the century, has strengthened
the potential role of youth in the processes for human settlements development.
The themes of sustainable development and social integration have gained new
momentum within the setting forth of the human settlements
development agenda. The Youth for Habitat approach, which has gradually
developed during this period, has been the first example where youth potential
was mobilized within an approach of forming a network in improving living
conditions in cities.
One of the recent examples of replication of the Youth for
Habitat approach was the launching of the youth network for the follow up
process of the International Conference on Population and Development which was
convened in Cairo in 1994, where young people were decisive about taking
concrete actions for their own future. This example is quite important and
satisfactory as it signifies the need for integration of the efforts of Youth in
the follow up process of the global conferences.
Local Agenda 21 Project in Turkey
Local Agenda 21 project is implemented by UNDP-Turkey and
IULA-EMME (International Union of Local Authorities-Eastern Mediterranean and
Middle East branch) in order to develop local agendas in different cities in
Turkey. With a subcontract signed in October 1997, Youth Association for Habitat
and Agenda 21 has started to coordinate youth activities within the scope of the
project. The duration of the project was recently extended to the end of 2001
and the number of cities involved increased to 50.
Youth activities within the scope of this project can be
summarized in 3 categories; networking, promotion of local youth councils and
local Youth Centres. The youth of the cities that are involved in the project
are informed about Youth For Habitat activities and encouraged to initiate civil
platforms in their local communities for the improvement of their cities. After
the establishment of a civil youth platform, the activities are focused on
establishment of local Youth Council and Youth Centres.
As of 1999, Youth Councils in 23 cities have been established.
Their sustainability, ability to reach the local youth and other civil society
organizations however still needs improvement. Moreover, since there is no legal
framework for the status of such mechanisms, their effect on policy making and
implementation depends on the willingness of involved youth to take
responsibility and the authorities willingness to share power with youth.
Replication of the youth institutionalized activities in Turkey
in the Balkan region is another indicator of the success of Youth for Habitat
approach. As a part of the international plan of action launched in the Earth
Summit in 1992 a project entitled the Enhancement and Promotion of Local
Agenda 21s was commenced in Turkey in 1997. The youth component of this
local democratization project has been carried out by Youth Association for
Habitat and Agenda 21. The success of the youth activism in this project which
aims at establishing local youth councils and local youth centres has been
considered as a best practice by UNCHS (Habitat) and encouraged Romania,
Bulgaria and Moldavia to include the youth component in the execution of the
Local Agenda 21