World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka adopts the Colombo Declaration on Youth

Doina Postica (Moldova) and Jeremy Apert (France) represented World Scouting at the World Conference on Youth. The government of Sri Lanka organized the event from 6 to 10 May 2014 as part of the bigger process to evaluate the Millennium Development Goals and determinate the next course of action for developing the Post 2015 development agenda. It was a unique event where government representatives and youth representatives participated together to adopt a joint declaration – the Colombo Declaration on Youth – on the priorities for youth in the global development context.

A zero draft of the declaration was prepared prior to the conference and circulated among youth organizations and government representatives. All participants were given an opportunity to give feedback on this first draft prior to the event and discussions were held on the draft during the conference to modify, improve and finalise the Colombo Declaration. Roundtables were organized for youth delegates to discuss the different sections of the declaration, organized in 7 themes and 7 foundations, where they discussed the different points and provided feedback on a daily basis to ensure the text reflects the opinion of youth worldwide.

The 7 foundations were: achieving good governance and accountability, inclusive youth participation at all levels, youth rights, globalization/inclusive youth-led development, ending systemic inequalities, gender equality, empowering marginalized youth including most at risk young people; and the 7 themes were: realizing equal access to quality education, full employment and entrepreneurship, poverty eradication and food security, promoting healthy lives and access to health, environmental protection and emergency preparedness, realizing peace, reconciliation and ending violence, ensuring inclusive recreation, sports and cultures.

WOSM had a strong participation in the processes and discussions throughout the conference. Both representatives gave individual inputs to the zero draft prior to the conference, and were invited to speak at the roundtable on Equal Access to Quality Education. Jeremy and Doina shared Scouting’s vision. World Scouting’s delegation was also given the role of rapporteurs for discussions in this same roundtable. This opportunity gave Doina and Jeremy the chance to compile key recommendations thereby contributing to the outcomes of the discussions on Equal Access to Quality Education.
During the event, Jeremy and Doina were active on digital platforms sharing their experiences from the World Conference on Youth on a daily basis. They made several blog posts on World Scouting’s primary communication channel,, and other social media platforms. Both of them were also part of the official video produced by the organisers, which was presented at the closing ceremony of the Conference. Jeremy and Doina took the opportunity to have a brief discussion on the World Scout Youth Forum in Slovenia this August with Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy on Youth. Ahmad expressed enthusiasm and excitement on the prospect of his role as a guest speaker at the Youth Forum later this year.

A networking meeting was organized for Scouts and Guides present at the Conference although representing different organisations and governments. Apart from the young Scouts and Guides who were present at this meeting, Maldives’ deputy minister on youth and a couple Sri Lanka Youth Affairs ministry officials also joined the informal gathering.

The Colombo Declaration on Youth has been attached to this article. At the conclusion of the event, Jeremy said, “However, for this conference and outcome declaration to mean anything, the focus is now on the follow-up process of this Conference that we need to concentrate our attention on going forward.”

Doina added, “To make sure that the words translate into actions, youth organizations need to join governments and international bodies to commit to the ideas and principles agreed upon and ensure proper support and implementation in the coming years.”

The Global Action Week for UN's My World Survey to gather votes on the post 2015 development goals coincided with the dates of the World Conference on Youth and World Scouting played an active role in promoting the survey to Scouts around the world during this period. The blog by Scott Teare, Secretary General of WOSM in support of UN's My World Global Action Week can be read here:

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