Bogota witnessed something very special on Friday 8th April, 2016. Over 300 young people from the Latin America & the Caribbean region gathered in the Colombian Capital for AIESEC’s Youth Speak Forum, which was organized in partnership with UN-HABITAT and PVBLIC Foundation to bring LATAM youth voices to the discussions around Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.
The energy in the room was electrifying from the moment the participants strolled in, making the event one not to forget. The whole thing kicked off with a dialogue between Mr. Douglas Ragan, the Chief of Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT and Mr. Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, the Chairman of PVBLIC Foundation and co-founder of P3GM. The gentlemen had an extremely interesting and engaging discussion around the importance of public/private partnerships for global political frameworks, SDGs and 2030 Agenda and building sustainable and resilient cities. What we’ve learned is that the partnerships need to be reinvented with a purpose, if we ever want to achieve anything. The private sector struggles to understand the importance of working for a cause and is thus largely missing on new market opportunities. Although it may not seem so, young people play a critical role in the equation. Public and private sector needs them more than they need them in the battle of social transformation and community development in cities. Therefore, it’s a three-way partnership that we need to look at if we want to make a difference.
Surrounded by inspiring and highly experienced professionals from various backgrounds, the participants had a chance to voice their thoughts and opinions in 12 breakout sessions that were designed to make them discuss different issues young people face in contemporary cities. The outcomes and recommendations from each session were then collected and presented at the end of the day as a draft positioning of LATAM youth towards Habitat III. Completing the statement will take a while but it was clear from the beginning that in order to achieve any enhancement of LATAM cities, mindsets of ordinary people as well as people in power will have to change and communication will have to improve.
With Habitat III in Ecuador fast approaching, we have to continue working together to ensure that young people are not only heard but are present at the negotiations in October. Watch this space for updates what’s next.