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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2701

UN Youth Advisory Panel Launched : 15 young Sri Lankans to engage with the United Nations

Colombo, 15 April, (Asiantribune.com):

The United Nations Youth Advisory Panel (UNYAP), officially launched on 7 April, is part of the wider UN-wide Action Plan on Youth to establish direct linkages between youth and the UN Country Team (UNCT).

It was followed by a three-day orientation programme in Colombo. UNYAP brings together a group of fifteen Sri Lankan youth with a passion for myriad aspects of development work. The panel, chosen after a competitive process, will come together with the UN family in Sri Lanka to support and advise the UNCT in its work through the perspective and experiences of youth.

Working with and for youth is a priority for the United Nations both globally and in Sri Lanka. Addressing the needs of youth is one of the key priorities of the UN Secretary General. In realizing this priority, the UN Secretary General has taken three main steps. Firstly, he appointed the first-ever Envoy on Youth, who visited Sri Lanka in July 2013, to bring voices of young people to the United Nations and to serve as a link and harmonizer between UN agencies and young people. Secondly, the UN Secretary General called for the development of a UN system-wide Action Plan on Youth. Thirdly, the UN’s Youth Volunteers modality managed by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) was established to expand opportunities for youth participation.

In this global context, the UNCT in Sri Lanka has decided to define working with and for youth as an overarching priority. Therefore, a UN Youth Mechanism (YM) co-chaired by UNV, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was established to facilitate a UN wide engagement in this priority area. One of the innovative ideas realized through this mechanism is to establish the UNYAP.

Commenting on the establishment of the UNYAP, Mr. Subinay Nandy, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Sri Lanka, said, “all our agencies work with and on youth issues, and the Youth Advisory Panel provides us with an excellent opportunity to hear young voices and perceptions”. Mr Nandy commented further, "for us in the UN system in Sri Lanka, the establishment of this panel is a significant step in strengthening our engagement with youth, who we believe are a key development partner in Sri Lanka".

The youth were selected from over 300 applications received across the island. Commenting on being chosen for the UNYAP, and being part of the orientation programme, they expressed their high expectations and passion.

Mr. Umesh Moramudali (23 years / Western Province/ UNYAP representative for Disabilities): “Getting selected to UNYAP was one of the most delightful moments in my life! I believe that I can be a voice to people with disabilities and ensure a better future for youth in Sri Lanka”.

Ms. Shamen Kalanasuriya (23 years /Uva Province/ UNYAP representative for Employment): “I was really excited to take part in this orientation. It was wonderful meeting such talented and passionate young people from across Sri Lanka. It was inspiring to see and hear about their work”.

Mr. Thiveegabalan Chanthirakumar (27 years / Northern Province/ UNYAP representative for Sports, Arts and Entertainment): “This was a very fruitful orientation programme. Learning about the UN system and the UN Youth Mechanism was very helpful for all of us to understand how the UN works and to plan to work with and for young people in Sri Lanka”.

Ms. Aisha Nazim (23 years / Western Province/ UNYAP representative for Media): “With the UNYAP, I hope to make youth understand the beauty of diversity and help them become more tolerant, open minded and understanding of other people and different cultures”.

Members of the UNYAP represent diverse sectors, such as entrepreneurship, health, social work, academia, and gender equality. They also represent a wide range of geographic districts, including Jaffna, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Kandy, and Colombo.

- Asian Tribune -

UN Youth Advisory Panel Launched :    15 young Sri Lankans to engage with the United Nations
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