Monday 23rd August, marked the beginning of the long awaited World Youth Conference 2010 which is taking place in Léon, Mexico. The event ran from the 23rd August to the 27th of August. The World Youth Conference (WYC) was an initiative of the Mexican Government with the support of the United Nations and other organizations to open a space for discussion and reflection about the role of young people in development, with special emphasis on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
At this event World Scouting was involved at all levels, there were the official World Organization of the Scout Movement delegates who participated in the NGO Forum and were selected due to their involvement and participation in events such as these. Their responsibilities were to not only represent the Scout Movement but also to be involved in the negotiations during the drafting of the NGO Declaration. Others coming in as international volunteers were assigned to facilitate the discussions and round-tables on the various topics surrounding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Conference divided in to 3 arenas:
The Social Forum or NGO Global Forum, the Governments Forum and the Global Interactive Village.
Also included but separately convened, also in the framework of the World Youth Conference was the Legislators Forum which involved high level members of Governmental ministries also meeting on the issues of Youth which was convened in Mexico City.
This conference brought together young people from over 100 countries to discuss youth issues and engage in dialogue in order to come to a consensus and generate a document now known as the NGO Statement. For three days representatives of youth organizations discussed and negotiated over what issues youth from around the world are faced with today and put together a recommendation that was handed over to the government representatives attending the Governments Forum which ran from the 25th to the 27th of August. Taking the recommendations from the youth present the ministries gathered at the World Youth Conference proceeded to draft a declaration that is now known as the Guanajuato Declaration.
The aim and ultimate goal of the conference was to produce documents that would be presented to the Legislators forum in order to bring their attention to and also listen to the issues that are affecting young people, with the hopes that these recommendations make it into legislations in the respective countries.
The recommendations are also to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly and the Millennium Development Goals Summit in September.
World Scouting at the World Youth Conference:
World Scouting always strives to be involved in events related to youth. Advocating for youth rights, participation and involvement in the decision making systems and also spreading its message to the many audiences that are convened at these events helps to position Scouting in advantageous light.
WOSM was also represented in the organizing committee SOFOC (Social Forum Organizing Committee) which was in collaboration with the UN Agencies involved, responsible for determining criteria for participant selection, program development and assisting to draft the declaration.
The most visible WOSM representation was at the Global Interactive Forum where over 19 locally recruited volunteers and 20 to 30 daily volunteers from the Mexican Scout Association primarily those based in Léon, Mexico host to the conference.
Having an informational stand as well as a huge activity center in the middle of the arena that allowed the Scout representatives to engage a large number of the over 3000 daily visitors of the Global Interactive Forum which coincidentally is modeled after the Scouts own Global Development Village present at its World Jamborees
Aside from their considerable presence the volunteers also ran workshops, led and facilitated discussions, partnered with UN agencies to interview visitors and engage them in discussions on the Millennium Development Goals, and others such as youth participation and youth and health.
Needless to say with such a contingent Scouting definitely received much deserved attention with the visit of the Mexican President who was heard saying how proud he is of the Scout action and presence and how important Scouting is to the community. The Scouts also received the First Lady of Mexico, Princess of Thailand and many other dignitaries.
It is with high anticipation that World Scouting will follow the developments surrounding this event, especially it being the first of its kind at the start of the International Year of Youth.