Call for Applications for National Youth Advisory Panel Announced

United Nations in Belarus strives to actively engage young people in its activities. A mechanism that has been introduced to ensure this engagement is national Youth Advisory Panels (YAP) to the United Nations Country Team (UNCT). Youth Advisory Panel is a consulting body that will advise UN Country Team on youth related matters when necessary, as well as will be involved into the youth related activities of the UN agencies. We invite youth aged between 14–31 years old to apply for the membership in the Youth Panel.

Background

Today's youth makes up one quarter of the world's population and is shaping social and economic development, challenging social norms and values, and building the foundation of the world's future. Maturing earlier than previous generations, both physically and socially, young people have high expectations for themselves and their societies, and are imagining how the world can be better. Connected to each other like never before through new media and because of globalization, they are driving social progress and directly influencing the sustainability and resilience of their communities and their nations. Youth have contributed fresh ideas and have been proactive in identifying solutions to development challenges. They have also shown their ability to build bridges of dialogue across cultures.

Youth have demonstrated both their ability and potential to be positive agents of changes who can help address and solve the problems that surround the world’s present and future. The recent global thematic consultation on governance and the post–2015 development framework, organized by the UN Development Group, acknowledged the critical concerns of young people who, as inheritors of current challenges and leaders of the future, must participate in the design and implementation of a new development agenda. The priorities identified through MY World global survey are education, health and jobs as well as honest and responsive governments.

One of the main challenges for youth is a lack of opportunities for meaningful participation in decision–making processes, which affect their lives. Unfortunately, young people are often sidelined from informal decision–making processes. With the right investments, they can reach their potential as individuals, leaders, agents of change and promoters of social justice.

In Belarus the term “youth” means people aged 14–31 years old. Belarusian youth comprises more than 23% of national population, which is around 2,2 million people. 82.7% of the defined youth lives in the urban area, 17.3% — in rural area. Youth at labour age among the population at labour age comprises 36%. Out of 1000 youth population: 169 people possess higher education and 245 – specialized secondary education.

In Belarus youth engagement in decision–making concerning their development is promoted through National Children’s/Youth Forums and Children–Youth Councils/Parliaments that were created in 22 Belarusian cities that joined Child Friendly City Initiative. Children–Youth Councils/Parliaments became a recognized and effective instrument for ensuring that voices of children/young people are heard and their views are counted. CSOs provide a wide range of opportunities for development of leadership skills. There are 260 youth organizations, including 29 children’s organizations, currently functioning in Belarus.

Nowadays, youth is placed on the forefront of the international agenda, in line with among others the following key strategic UN documents: UN Secretary General’s Five–year Action Agenda, the Plan of Work of the UN Secretary–General’s Envoy on Youth, the World Programme of Action for Youth United Nations System–wide Action Plan on Youth.

UN in Belarus strives to actively engage young people in its activities. A mechanism that has been introduced to ensure this engagement is national youth advisory panels (YAP) to the UNCT, a consulting body that will advise UNCT on youth related matters when necessary, as well as will be involved into the youth related activities of the UN agencies.

Objectives

•        Advocating for and advising the UNCT on strategic opportunities and necessary actions for addressing adolescent and youth issues paying special attention to the most vulnerable young men and women;

•        Increasing the level and quality of youth participation in planning, implementation and monitoring of UN programmes, including policy, advocacy, innovation, behavior change, livelihoods, and other measures related to young people, as well as progress assessment of UNDAF;

•        Raising awareness and enhancing visibility of the United Nations, in particular vis–à–vis the young people in the country;

•        Advocating the mainstreaming of youth related concerns in country programmes of UN agencies.

Expected Results

•        Meaningful interactive mechanism for outreach, coordination and dialogue is established between Belarusian youth and UNCT;

•        Youth agenda is prioritized in UN programming.

Coordination Mechanism:

Within the scope of overall coordination led by the Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDP will co–lead coordination, facilitation, and support to the YAP and its linkages with the UNCT. All three agencies, as well as the RCO, will nominate a focal point for the YAP from their staff members and the focal points will comprise Youth Advisory Panel Coordination Task Force (YAPCTF). YAPCTF will guide the Panel members and coordinate the work of the Panel. The Panel will meet on a regular basis and the frequency of the meetings is to be defined by YAPCTF in consultation with the Panel members.

Resources

Members of the YAP will not receive any remuneration from the United Nations. However, interested UN agencies, in particular but not exclusively UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDP, will allocate human and financial resources, in consultation with the RC and UNCT, to facilitate the establishment, development, facilitation, coordination, and communications of the Youth Advisory Panel in Belarus.

Membership

The YAP will consist of 15–20 people aged 14–31 years old representing various social backgrounds and interests, education and professional streams, geographical locations, gender, ethnicities, religious affiliations involved in and have close links to local youth and professional groups. Deriving from the principle of gender equality, attempt will be made to ensure a gender balanced composition in the YAP.

Individuals will be invited to serve on the YAP for a term of 2 years, except for the first term in which half the Panel will serve for 1 year to allow rotation of membership as well as continuity. Therefore, there will be a call for applications for a half of the Panel each year. The decision of who from the first group of Panel members serves for 1 year will be made by the Panel and UNCT. If a member cannot complete the term, the YAP will be consulted on the nomination of another member.

Membership can also be terminated at any time by UNCT, in consultation with the YAP, for one or more of the following reasons:

•        Absence in two consecutive meetings;

•        Resignation;

•        Not eligible age (when a person gets older than 31 years old during his/her serving period);

•        Conduct deemed incompatible with the values and principles of the United Nations.

Vacancies that arise from early termination shall be filled in the same manner in which the original holder of that position was selected. Individuals selected to fill vacant positions due to the termination of another Panel member shall hold membership for a new period of two years.

Selection process will be conducted by YAPCTF and will be based on the following criteria:

•        Age between 14–31 inclusive;

•        Sufficient knowledge of Russian and/or Belarusian is required, knowledge of English will be an asset but is not compulsory;

•        Proven commitment to the development, human rights and peace agenda of the United Nations;

•        Ability and willingness to engage with the global UN youth leadership initiatives and establish effective connections between local, regional and global initiatives;

•        Affiliation with youth related NGOs or informal youth groups and strong leadership skills will be an asset;

•        Ability to participate in person in Minsk in the meetings and activities of the Panel.

The whole selection procedure is to be determined by YAPCTF.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Under the guidance of the relevant agency, members of the Youth Advisory Panel will have to fulfill the following responsibilities:

→        Advocate for youth and provide strategic advice to the UNCT on youth related matters;

→        Promote youth participation and input in UNCT’s work through assisting in organizing events on youth issues, as well as informing and mobilizing young people to take part in UN activities in Belarus;

→        Engage with youth led and based organizations, networks and movements at national and sub–national levels on issues affecting youth on issues affecting youth and make recommendations to UNCT to guide the development strategies, policies and programmes;

→        Participate in the design of targets and indicators for youth development, conduct youth surveys;

→        Disseminating information about UN activities in Belarus and raising awareness on the UN agenda;

→        Attend and actively participate in all YAP meetings;

→        Support UNCT communications specialists in developing and implementing information campaigns on youth issues;

→        Formulate recommendations for improving UN communication and information sharing on youth and support their actual implementation.

Please apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XQ9C8df6_s0pnUqPGoig183q4Tmn90M7g3xkymFzEck/viewform

Deadline is December 15, 2014.