Restless Development attending the UN General Assembly

22 Sep 14

This week a group of youth advocates and Restless Development Global Policy and Practice team are off to the UN General Assembly.


The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it is a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter. The UNGA is a crucial moment for advocacy & influencing around the Post-2015 agenda and making sure young people are meaningfully included in development processes. That’s why Restless Development is facilitating the participation of a group of passionate young advocates.


We will push for youth priorities in the post-2015 agenda and in particular youth participation and ‘Goal 16’ (the current goal on governance, as it stands in the Open Working Group document) to member states, getting as many of them to commit to this goal as possible. We hope to influence UN member states, UN agencies and CSOs, as well as discussions on the Secretary General’s report on the SDGs, to increase support for youth, governance and accountability.

We will be launching our new report on youth, governance and accountability in Post-2015, which Restless Development has been working on with Plan, the Overseas Development Institute and a task team of youth governance & accountability advocates. We will share learnings on challenges and strengths of governance initiatives, highlighting how young people can and are being involved at our side event with Plan and the Peruvian government (see below). 

We will launch our Big Idea: a ground-breaking new programme from Restless Development aimed at empowering young people with the skills to use, analyse and generate data on key issues that affect their lives, so they can take the lead in exercising accountability over their governments – particularly accountability over the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We will be part of key discussions with Beyond 2015, Transparency Accountability and Participation CSO group, and other advocacy networks, shaping plans for the coming year of intergovernmental negotiations on the goals. Finally, we will support the Major Group of Children and Youth in joint advocacy efforts and strategy meetings throughout this crucial week.


Restless Development and our youth delegates will be involved in a number of different meetings and events during the week. These will be hugely exciting spaces for us to advocate for youth-led development and gather additional support for young people’s meaningful inclusion in global development processes.

There will be a tonne of events happening during the week, so we have just highlighted a few to give a flavour of what we’re up to!

The power of youth: Holding the world to account for the post-2015 framework
Restless Development, jointly with Plan and the Peruvian government, will hold a side-event to launch our report on youth, governance and accountability in post-2015. This event will focus on how the post-2015 framework can and must enable young people’s participation in governance and accountability, presenting arguments and new research on the topic. The youth task team members will speak and and facilitate the event, and will be joined by high-level speakers such as Corrine Woods from the UN Millennium Campaign, Ahmed Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth and Patrick Keuleers from UNDP.

MDG Countdown event
This is an annual event, focusing on progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals run by the Department for International Development in partnership with the Governments of Australia and Sweden, and the Omidyar Network. Almost 400 people attended last year’s event. This year the theme of the event is ‘innovation’. There will be a number of inspiring ted-style talks on innovative projects that have been successful in driving forward progress towards the MDGs and beyond. Excitingly we have Sanju re-presenting a youth perspective during this event. She will be speaking on the work she has done as a young person in Nepal on innovative youth-led Post 2015 projects, such as the Big Idea and the youth consultations.

High-level event UK government and Transparency International
We will be supporting a high-level event on post-2015 'Ending Poverty: Why Strong, Accountable Institutions Matter’, co-hosted by the UK Government and Transparency International. We have developed a video which will bring together youth voices on governance and accountability and the role they can play in holding decision-makers to account. Excitingly, one of our youth delegates will be a the key panellist, alongside the UK Secretary of State.

UNFPA high-level event 
Our youth delegates will be part of a high-level meeting alongside Heads of State and Executive Directors from UN Agencies, including UNFPA and UNDP. One of our youth advocates will be facilitating a roundtable discussion on youth and governance, with Babatunde Osotimehin (Executive Director of the UNFPA) at the table. This event seeks to galvanize commitment of leaders and youth to expand opportunities for young people in the post-2015 agenda.


SanjuSanju, Nepal

Sanju is a young person from Nepal. She is passionate about youth-led development and participated in Restless development’s Post-2015 youth consultations (read the full report). While in New York, Sanju will speak at the MDG Countdown side event about her experience working on innovative youth-led initiatives such as the Big Idea.


CheickCheick, Burkina Faso

Cheick is currently working in the Burkina Faso Movement for Development and Citizenship (MBDC), where he manages the implementation of a project aimed at promoting active citizenship and strengthening youth participation in local governance.



AndrewAndrew, Samoa

In 2009 Andi was elected to local government at 19 years old, the youngest elected official in Samoa’s history. Andi’s city district had the largest youth demographic in the country with almost half the population under the age of 25, where he campaigned on recreational facilities, public transport, and local training schemes for unqualified youth, and more support for local youth initiatives.


LombeLombe, Zambia

Lombe has worked as a researcher on “Demand Side Governance” a project from the World Bank Zambia Office which has a focus on citizen empowerment, including the monitoring of a pilot to improve local accountability using community radio in three districts in Zambia. Lombe is also a member of the Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group. She will speak at the High-level event on Transparency & accountability, reflecting on her work on governance.



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