Jayathma Wickramanayake welcomed as new UN Envoy on Youth

22 Jun 17
Around the world

Jayathma Wickramanayake

We welcome the appointment of Jayathma Wickramanayake as the next UN Envoy on Youth.

The UN Envoy on Youth’s responsibility is to build upon the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action.

Restless Development believes it is right that Ms Wickramanayake has been selected for the role, as a young person under the age of 30, who has been representing youth development internationally since the age of 21.

Ms Wickramanayake was chosen for the position by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and will succeed Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan.

Ms Wickramanayake will play a key role in implementing the Secretary-General’s vision on youth - an initiative which puts young people at the centre of all parts of the UN’s work.

It is essential that the voices of the 1.8 billion young people across the world are listened to in order to successfully achieve the Global Goals (also know as the Sustainable Development Goals), and that young people are empowered to become changemakers within their communities and internationally.

Sarah Haynes, Global Advocacy Manager for Restless Development, said: “We're really excited to see Ms Wickramanayake taking on this role and carrying on the excellent work started by Ahmad Alhendawi.

“The Envoy has a crucial role to play in the UN and beyond - starting conversations on youth leadership in new spaces, and connecting youth to power.

“Having seen Jayathma's great work as Lead Negotiator at the World Conference on Youth in 2014, we know she'll do a fantastic job in this role. Congratulations. We look forward to working with Jayathma alongside the incredible network of young people striving to achieve the Global Goals”.

Ms Wickramanayake brings a wealth of experience to the role, having served as Secretary to the Secretary General of the Sri Lankan parliament, a Member and Youth Lead Negotiator for the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 and an Official Youth Delegate to the United Nations, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development.