UN YOUTH DELEGATE PROGRAMME CAMPAIGN
Overview of the United Nations Youth Delegate Programme
Our main campaign focuses on establishing the United Kingdom as a world leader in international youth representation, with our main focus for this centering on the implementation of a sustainable and meaningful UN Youth Delegate Programme in the UK. Whereby young people from across the country will be able to apply and be selected to represent the United Kingdom at the United Nations General Assembly, international conferences and events as part of the official British Foreign & Commonwealth Office delegation.
The UN Youth Delegate Programme is actively established in over 25 countries across the globe, allowing one or multiple young people to represent their country's youth voices on the international diplomatic level and have an input on UN resolutions, negotiations and agreements. In many cases the UN Youth Delegate participates in the UN General Assembly, EcoSoc Youth Forum, Commission for Social Development (CSocD), High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), as well as in some cases the UN Climate Change Conference (COP) and other regional events such as the European Youth Forum or unique summits where youth representation could be a valuable asset to country delegations.
The Youth Delegate(s) also spend time during their one or two year mandate, (depending on the country), gathering the opinions of the young people across their country that they represent on current affairs and international issues, by visiting local youth organisations and institutions. The Youth Delegate(s) is able to identify key areas of focus to represent young people to the best of their ability, whilst also raising awareness of the Youth Delegate Programme, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations, its agencies and its work.
The United Kingdom's Role
The UK has sent Youth Delegates to the UN in the past - the first time in 2005, when our predecessors the United Nations Youth and Student Association of the UK (UNYSA) lobbied the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to establish the first such process in the UK. As a result, Kristofer McGhee (former Vice-Chair of UNYSA), Keeley Williams and Frederick Bernas were selected to join and represent the UK's youth as part of the FCO delegation to the UN.
However, the programme was seemingly not renewed, and only in 2016, several years after UNYSA's disbandment, did the UK send Youth Delegates again, this time through the Department for International Development (DFID). Takyiwa Danso and Minhaz Abedin were selected and joined the British delegation to the UN. A short while after the end of their terms, Ali Greaves was also selected to be a UK Youth Delegate.
Despite these past events of youth representation at the UN by official UK Youth Delegates, the Programme was not revived, whilst the official Youth Wing of UNA-UK disappeared and the frenzy of national politics overtook the implementation and proper sustainability of the programme.
Our Role as the UNA Youth Platform of the UK
Shortly before the founding of UNA-YP in November 2019, CUUNA (Cambridge University United Nations Association), one of the platform's co-founders, re-drafted the original UNYSA proposal from early 2000s, and together with CUUNA and the co-founders of the new Youth Platform, the successors to UNYSA, began to campaign for a new, revamped UN Youth Delegate Programme in the UK.
With the impressive and fast-paced growth of the Youth Platform in the following months, the campaigns team for the Youth Delegate Programme likewise grew and began to gather key contacts and information crucial to the lobbying of the FCO and relevant UK government ministries to establish the new Youth Delegate Programme.
As part of the establishment of this new programme, the UNA-YP aims to place itself similarly to UNYSA from years ago, acting as a key body in the selection process for the programme, in collaboration with the FCO, UNA-UK, BYC (British Youth Council), Department for Education and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
For several months, the campaigns team for the implementation of the Youth Delegate Programme has been establishing key international partnerships with current and former UN Youth Delegates, as well as international UN Youth organisations across the globe, in order to learn the best practices, processes and functions of the programme.
Harnessing this wealth of knowledge, backed by the UNA-UK and UN DESA's guidance, with support from the UN Secretary-General's Envoy for Youth, former UK Permanent Representatives to the UK, and key foreign affairs officials within the FCO, UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations and Parliament, we hope to be able to tailor our proposal to the UK government and its key ministry stakeholders in order to effectively implement a new official UK UN Youth Delegate Programme, and help to establish the UK as a global leader in youth representation.
UN Youth Delegate Programme in the UK
You can get involved and support our efforts for this campaign today in various ways, from supporting and following us on our social media, engaging in our national General Committee to have your voice heard by the campaigns team working on the project, or by applying directly to be a campaigns officer to directly help the nationwide campaign to succeed.