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"Changing the demographic at the United Nations"
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"Changing the demographic at the United Nations"

Fale LesaRepresentatives at the UN General Assembly don’t reflect the demographics of member countries, writes Fale Lesa, 24, a Commonwealth Correspondent from New Zealand, who says two reports written by youth are a first step in redressing that imbalance.

We recently marked United Nations Day. It seems rather appropriate then that I discuss the privilege of attending the 2014 UN General Assembly as one of four ‘good governance and accountability’ watchdogs with Restless Development and Plan International.

What struck me was not the number of VIPs, or the fact that I was in New York for the first time ever, but the absence of any real diversity. Almost everyone was male and over the age of 40. They have met every year for nearly 70 years. I wondered if they ever noticed how the corridors of power look nothing like their constituencies.

Today, more than half the world’s population is under the age of 25, but you wouldn’t know that if you never left a UN compound. This is exactly why we launched two spunky new reports (you’ll find links to them at the end) on what it means to ensure quality youth participation in the post-2015 development agenda. We’re big enough and ugly enough to decide for ourselves. In fact, if anyone should be schooled on the development priorities going forward, it should be those who will inherit them.

Before you nod off to sleep, know that these reports are not the work of academia. Instead, they were inspired by young people a lot like you and me – young people in the field. The evidence suggests that the participation of marginalised groups like youth will go a long way in promoting good governance and accountability. It is our exclusion that fuels corruption and injustice across the board.

Changing the demographics at the United Nations begins with changing the political landscape in our own backyards. Grab a copy of these reports, share ’em far and wide, and remember – nothing about us, without us!

  1. Partners For Change: Young people & governance in a post-2015 world.

http://restlessdevelopment.org/policy-and-practice-resources

  1. Young people’s engagement in strengthening accountability for the post-2015 agenda.

http://plan-international.org/about-plan/resources/publications/participation/young-people2019s-engagement-in-strengthening-accountability-for-the-post-2015-agenda/

Photo: courtesy of Fale Lesa

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About me: I bring some eight years of experience in community and youth development to his writings. In 2010, I represented New Zealand at the Commonwealth Youth Leadership Programme in Rwanda. I was also received by Her Majesty The Queen at the 2012 Diamond Jubilee during a reception at Marlborough House in her honour.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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