With the World Conference on Youths taking place in Sri Lanka Later in May, Lloyd Russel-Moyle, Co-chair of the IYTF and Vice President of the European Youth Forum tells us what to Expect from the Conference.
What do you plan to do while you’re here?
We have been meeting with the UN team, people from the ministry, secretariat, and others interested in getting involved with the WCY2014. We also met the International Co-operative Union, and other people interested in hosting regional and local consultations. I will also be working on the zero draft issues, since the zero draft aims to be out to the public sometime next week.
Can you tell us more on the Zero Draft?
At the moment it is about 14 pages. It is made up of 4 discrete sections. Section 1 is the preamble, which sets the scene. Section 2 contains the topics and foundations, both the situational and international agreements and what we want to see. Each topic has about 3-4 paragraphs. Section 3 is made of bullet points of the expected outcome. The final section is the ‘post-amble’, which wraps it all up. We would need international agreement on Section1, 3 and 4.
Section 2 is an important document that will be annexed on to the entire document. Ministers will receive it, but it won’t be unanimously agreed upon, instead, it will be a record of the discussion and points raised in the roundtables. That section at the moment is structured to help frame the speakers in the round table, so each speaker will receive that section of the document and will be expected to speak on that brief. That’s the very latest thinking in the document between Ravi, myself and the minister, and the UN country team. That would mean the actual agreed document would be reduced down to 5 pages, and then we have 10 pages of concrete outcomes of the round tables, making it easier for people to agree and achieve unanimity.
How do you feel about Sri Lanka hosting WCY2014?
I think its great that Sri Lanka has come forward to host it. Its great that a conference is being held in Asia for the first time. It’s great that any country is so committed to host it financially and within the given time period. There are always hiccups along the way and most of them have been handled the way I would expect.
Do you think Sri Lanka is a good example of youth empowerment/leadership?
Yes. The very fact that the youth ministry is elevated to such a level and the fact that youth policy is seen as such an important footing is a very important issue. Sri Lanka’s youth policy is in fact, one of the leaders in youth policy terms in Asia.
How are the other preparations for WCY2014 coming along?
Very well. We’ve had good meetings about side events. Along with the round tables that will work on the themes of the conference, we will be having one side event at lunchtime and two side events in the evening (3 every day). Alongside all of that, there will be a global village – an exhibition hall where parallel activities and events will take place. So there will be effectively 3 kinds of meetings (and others too, but 3 main ones) to do with the topics. One is the roundtables, which will discuss the zero draft, two are side events, moments where u can go deeper into one of the particular themes of foundations on a more theoretical level. The third type of meetings would be parallel events such as workshops, trainings, and activities that build the capacity of young people from all over the world to take action on these issues when they go back home.
What is your message to the youth attending the conference?
It is about preparation; make sure you conduct discussions in your home country before you arrive. The conference will be an apex of some of those discussions, bringing them together from around the world and enabling the youth to go back home with more capacity, skills, and tools that the international community has agreed to hold governments to account, and to hold the world to account on the action of youth development. So be very excited to be involved, not only in a global process but a process that will empower youth in the long run.