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09 Feb 12
India International

Last week, the United Nations’ Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon made an exciting announcement that he is to appoint a new Special Representative for Youth.

In a speech titled ‘The Future We Want’, Ban declared: “Today, we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known.  They are demanding their rights and a greater voice in economic and political life.  We will do all we can to meet their needs and create opportunities.”

But what exactly is a UN Special Representative?

Appointed by the UN Secretary General, these Representatives act independently of governments to conduct fact finding missions for the Secretary General. Other special representatives include Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union, Zachary Muburi-Muita and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa, Cheick Sidi Diarra.

With the right mandate from UN member states, the Special Representative for Youth has the potential to hold the UN system to account for young people.

How will this representative be appointed and what will their purpose be?

These are questions that Restless Development and young people around the world are currently asking. We hope that the Special Representative will work to put young people at the heart of development. 

By pulling the United Nations together, Ban hopes it will: “deepen our youth focus and develop an action plan across the full range of United Nations programmes, including employment, entrepreneurship, political participation, human rights, education and reproductive health.”   With the International Year of Youth (2010-2011) only just behind us, we think this is ground-breaking recognition that the UN wants to mainstream youth in its agenda!The Secretary General’s announcement is evidence of the growing global realisation that youth need to be a part of developing their future, as leaders of today, not just tomorrow. We want to see a Special Representative for Youth who is a figurehead and champion of what youth can, and do, achieve in development. 

What would you like to see?

You have the opportunity to have your say on what the Special Representative for Youth should be focusing on. Join the conversation online with Global Youth eDebates.