ACP YPN at UN HLPF 2018, New York

On 9-18 July, Arnaud Szanto, ACP YPN’s Partnership and Capacity Building Officer and Brent Robinson, ACP YPN Expert, participated in the 4th United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the UN Headquarters in New York. Arnaud represented the organization, which gained member status of the UN Major Group on Children and Youth (UN MGCY) earlier this year (see here). This year’s theme of #HLPF2018 : “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.


Brent Robinson, ACP YPN delegate (left) and Arnaud Szanto

H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, President of Economic and Social Council opened the #HLPF2018, which included 600 side events, 2500 registrations from NGOs, 80 ministers and vice ministers attending, 47 countries presenting their voluntary national review, and six SDGs being discussed (6,7, 11, 12, 15 and 17). H.E. Ms. Chatardová recalled the HLPF’s central role in promoting sustainable development at the international level and insisted on mobilizing our society through inclusive and democratic participation for the purpose of achieving the 2030 Agenda. ACP YPN has been promoting inclusive participation, under SDG16.7 in all of its activities, and was honoured to be represented for the first time at the HLPF.

Arnaud participated in a number of sessions at the HLPF, including 3 HLPF 2018 Thematic reviews -(i) Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies – Small Island Developing States perspective; (ii)  the Review on Perspective of Least Developing Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Middle-Income Countries (MICs); (iii) Review of SDG implementation: SDG 12 – Sustainable consumption and production patterns (SCP)6 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on implementing the SDGs – by (i) The Commonwealth of Bahamas; (ii) The Republic of Benin; (iii) The Republic of Cape Verde;  (iv) The Republic of Guinea; (v) Jamaica; (vi) The Republic of Namibia – as well as 5 side events by international partners on: (i) Vanishing Waters and Drying Lands: Impacts on Migration;  (ii) Implementing SDG 12: One Plan for One Planet; (iii) Monitoring SDGs, claiming rights and meaningful participation : Strategies and tools for civil society; (iv) Safe food for sustainable and resilient societies; (v) Better trade 4 SDGs.

Arnaud shared the work of ACP YPN, interacted with key stakeholders and also gave input to the development of UN MGCY positions at the HLPF2018. For example, Arnaud assisted in the preparation of the UN MGCY’sSDG 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainablestatement that was later presented to Member States at the UN ECOSOC. During this, Arnaud stressed the need to (i) strengthen the development of policies that would allow young people to be aware of their cultural heritage through cultural programmes that promote intercultural dialogue and (ii) to provide opportunities to young entrepreneurs to impact the local development of their regions and communities, across all relevant sectors (agriculture, industry, services, etc.) in order for them to contribute effectively to the development of resilient, safe and sustainable cities and communities.  Such policy initiatives can reinforce social bonds, and in turn, this would create value in the context of achieving the SDGs. This is also linked to facilitating the creation and maintenance of multi-stakeholders synergies (international institutions and civil society organization, businesses, universities and others) through enabling participation and partnerships. ACP YPN has been pioneering these synergies since its inception, in particular, in relation to partnership WITH youth (see p.7-9 here) and promoting the new ‘Public-Private-Academic-Partnership’ paradigm (PPAP, see here). As Arnaud put it, “achieving the Agenda 2030 is more than just words, it’s about making sure every child on the planet can still dream of a better future.  This can only be guaranteed if everyone is part of the process.”  

    Arnaud Szanto and UN Secreatary General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake

In conclusion, this was a unique opportunity to make sure that the voice, opinions and examples of initiatives being implemented by ACP youth are represented at this high-level Forum. Moreover, given the importance of achieving the SDGs, it is important that all stakeholders are effectively contributing to achieve the SDGs. As Liu Zhenmin, Head of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, rightfully said: “we still have twelve more years to fulfill the transformative 2030 Agenda. These goals are within our reach, it will, however, require an unwavering attention, a laser-sharp focus on the implementation of these goals and a true sense of urgency.”

UN Major Group on Children and Youth

What is the HLPF? The High Level Political Forum is an international platform for discussion on how everyone can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Through collective ideas, solutions and innovations, members of government, youth-led organizations, civil society, academia and other international organization members explored ways to progress on the six SDGs  (6,7, 11, 12, 15 and 17) under review this year. In addition to this, 47 countries have presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) with the aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Representatives included top universities, specialists, CEOs of companies, Major Groups, Members of government and NGOs also joined with the objective to share their knowledge, their stories and struggles, to discuss transformation and express their ideas on how to build sustainable and resilient societies while making sure no one is left behind. See more here.


By Arnaud Szanto – Get in touch with Arnaud on LinkedIn Twitter.

Want to know more about ACP YPN’s mission and goals?

Want to know more, or have a question? Write to us at:

Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via the WebsiteFacebookTwitterYoutube

ACP YPN on the Internationalisation of Local Governance, Paris

On 4th July 2018, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor, was invited at the 9th edition of the Meeting for Internationalisation of local governments (Rencontres de l’internationalisation des collectivités territoriales) co-organised by Cités Unies France in Paris with several speakers including Frank Tiotsop, Youth Ambassador, OFAJ ( the International Organisation for Franco-German cooperation on youth), who presented the AKI tool for youth mobility.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The event gathered French & foreign local governments as well as public and private partners under this year theme ” Faced with the challenges of a growing urbanisation, what’s the place of local governments  ? What’s our vision of a 2030 world? What’s our SDG approach ?“. During the Youth & Employability Panel, Aïssatou Touré demonstrated how projects integrating young people are a necessity in finding solutions for issues impacting them directly and indirectly through several points linked to her expertise with (1) ACP YPN and as an (2) African Union – European Union Youth Plug In Initiative (AU-EU YPII) fellow :

  1. Aïssatou introduced ACP YPN as a youth-led platform aiming at providing a platform for young people to play an active role in policy-making processes  assuring equality of opportunity in line with Article 26 of the legally binding Cotonou Partnership Agreement and aiming to ensure inclusive, responsive decision-making at all levels as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16.7.

a. She then, focused on ACP YPN’s specificity in particular 1) the creation of the Youth Forums at the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly allowing young people to exchange with more than 100 representatives of the ACP-EU partnership and 2) the fact that ACP YPN is the only youth network with a formal role as a member of the EU- Cariforum Consultative Committee monitoring the EU’s trade agreement with Caribbean region.

b. She concluded by sharing with the audience the important role of ACP YPN in providing her a space that contributed to the realisation of her personal and professional projects , allowing her to deepen her expertise in development cooperation and to learn new skills including soft skills that are being valued in the employment sector.


 2. Aïssatou presented the AU- EU YPII as an innovative initiative that gathered in October 2017 during 5 weeks 36 young people from Africa, Europe and the Diaspora working together in 6 different cluster in 3 different cities (Addis Abeba, Brussels and Abidjan) to present specific projects in the Youth Agenda delivered to the Head of States during the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan. She mentioned 4 projects of  the Governance and political inclusion cluster:

a. CityShapers: working on city twinning from the United Cities and Local Governments, this project aims at integrating the youth in local governance and decentralised cooperation allowing co-creation, synergies strengthening between authorities, experts and young people from Africa and Europe while including joint learning on solutions to urban, social, ecological and governance challenges.

b. E-ncludeMe: this digital tool aspires to reinforce local government’s responsibility and accountability while reducing corruption, week governance, tax avoidance, illicit financial flows and including youth to identify and implement concrete action plans.

c. AU-EU Remittances Transfer Platform: this platform reduces transfer costs in remittances in line with SDG 10C via a Public Private Partnership (PPP). A share of the profit will be invested in youth related projects reinforcing inclusion and job creation.

d. Youth Lab: a permanent cooperation hub for AU-EU youth testing technical, urban and rural solutions on both continents while implementing and monitoring the projects developed in the 6 clusters of the AU-EU YPII Youth Agenda.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In conclusion of this Youth & Employability Panel, Aïssatou recalled the necessity to include young people in finding solutions for issues that directly impacts them such as employability and she took in example two great initiatives (one in France, one in Senegal) working in this direction :

  • Les déterminés is an entrepreneurship organization training, supporting and mentoring young entrepreneurs including those from poorest and rural areas in the region of Paris allowing young people to contribute in job creation.
  • Voix des jeunes founded by Sobel Aziz Ngom, this project is a competition for young people fostering the creation of solutions to actual challenges. The selected young people have to debate on specific issues and deliver realistic solutions for those issues while stimulating their civic engagement and allowing them to develop analytic, argumentative and strategist skills among other skills.

These initiatives all highlight the fact that innovation in youth inclusion can be done in two ways:

  1. By creating permanent spaces, mechanisms for young people within existing institutions (JPA Youth Forum, CityShapers).
  2. Or by creating  new institutions/structures for young people to access spaces they couldn’t allowing them to share their expertise on diverse issues (E-NcludeMe, AU-EU Youth Lab, Les déterminés, Voix des jeunes).


By Aïssatou Touré – Get in touch with Aïssatou on LinkedIn Twitter.

Want to know more about ACP YPN’s mission and goals?

Want to know more, or have a question? Write to us at:

Keep up-to-date with ACP YPN via the WebsiteFacebookTwitterYoutube