To enable the UN Major Group on Children and Youth to operate we have a guidelines of how we work which are called our Processes and Procedures document.

Everyone which takes part in the UN MGCY needs to agree these guidelines so that we can work better together. They can be downloaded and read from here

What are the Major Groups and other stakeholders

“Major Groups and other stakeholders” is the term for non-state actors and the spaces allocated to them in UN  Sustainable Development and allied processes. Their mandate includes negotiations, follow up, review and implementation.


In 1992 the UN recognised that Sustainable Development requires the effective participation of all people. The Major Groups are the spaces which help help channel the engagement of key sectors of society such as citizens, economic and social actors and expert practitioners in UN intergovernmental process related to sustainable development.


To make sure all organisations and the people that they represent and work for can be represented whilst having constructive conversations with the UN and the states these non-states actors are clustered into groups called “Major Groups and other stakeholders”.


Major Groups are the original 9 clusters based on Agenda 21. They cluster organisations because of what they do, and because of who they represent with a catch all groups of “NGO” for other civil society actors who are not included in these other clusters.


They are:

  1. Science and Technology
  2. Local Authorities
  3. Business and Industry
  4. Workers and Trade Unions
  5. Farmers (and people who live from the sea)
  6. Women
  7. Children and Youth
  8. Indigenous Peoples
  9. NGOs


Other Stakeholders were included in 2012 in the 20 year review conference of Agenda 21. This was not a creation of “new” Major Groups but a recognition that within the Major Group system there were specific stakeholders which needed to be further mentioned, where relevant in specific discussions. The agreement listed examples of these “other stakeholders” as:

  • Local communities
  • Volunteer Groups and foundations
  • Migrants and families
  • Older Persons
  • Persons with disabilities


This has allowed the door to be open for other groups which may have felt that the Major Group system didn’t fully speak for their needs, but also included specific reference to the role of the original Major Groups in supporting action on the ground and at the UN.


Major Groups and other stakeholders is not meant to be an exclusive term and the people assigned to facilitating these spaces, called “Organising Partners” (OPs) are not gatekeepers but enablers for anyone that fits into a specific cluster to come and take part. Where relevant do OPs coordinates statements on behalf of that cluster of organisations to ensure coherence of voices. The term Major Group and other stakeholders therefore includes everyone who is not a state or intergovernmental organisation at the UN and does not require further lists after its reference to reiterate the already assigned groups (such as Business and Industry etc).


The Major Group and other stakeholders system is by no means perfect, but is the most advanced modalities within the UN system for civil society/non-state actor participation. The system remains as good as states, the UN system and non-state actors themselves allow it to be. It is the responsibility of non-state actors to self organise within the Major Groups how they want so that the UN and states can best hear them.


Major Group for Children and Youth

The Major Group for Children and Youth is the Major Group for Children and Youth and their organisations. It is self-organized according to the requirement of GA resolutions and has the following missions:


The vision of the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY)  is the meaningful participation of children and youth and their organisations at all levels in decision-making on sustainable development.


The MGCY envisions a world in which children and youth are planning, designing, implementing, reviewing, monitoring and evaluating policies aimed at achieving sustainable development.


In order to achieve this, the MGCY is a self-organised space which ensures the effective coordination of children and youth participation in United Nations processes related to sustainable development.


We strive to ensure diversity and inclusion of all children and youth taking into account  (among other things) region, geography, gender, (dis)ability, marginalised groups and type of organisation.


How the MGCY works

We Provide:

  1. Platforms (online and offline) to foster dialogue between children and youth, and with our stakeholders and partners, on issues that children and youth care about.
  2. Spaces for children and youth to agree on joint statements and positions.
  3. Information on UN processes.

We Conduct:

  1. Capacity building of children and youth so that they can take part and be informed of the processes.
  2. Training of young people on the practical skills of participation.
  3. Our work and selection processes in an open, transparent, inclusive and democratic manner.

We Coordinate

  1. Logistics of civil society participation with UN bodies.
  2. Inputs into UN processes where this needs to be done through Major Groups.
  3. Resources which are offered to civil society to enable their participation in processes to ensure fair and equitable distribution of those resources.



There are two types of participation of the MGCY:

  1. Any individual 30 years old or under who signs up to the MGCY online or in person.
  2. Any organisation, network, committee, group or other association of individuals who signs up to the MGCY online or in person and which fulfils either of the following requirements:
    1. representative of the interests of children and/or young people, and has a policy making body controlled by people 30 years old or under; or
    2. works with children and/or young people but doesn’t have a policy making body controlled by people 30 years old or under.


Members must agree to adhere to the Process and Procedures  document and sign a form with the relevant information regarding themselves and their background.


All members must be part of at least one Working Group of the MGCY and can be members of as many as they wish. Working Groups are listed in the Working Structures section.



The MGCY is coordinated by a monthly call called the Assembly where each of the process, facilitators and Working Groups feedback to everyone and key decisions are made.


The MGCY is facilitated by a team of 5 elected (each for a 2 year term) child or youth led organisations and one legal entity collectively called Organising Partners (OPs). They coordinate the interlinkages in each one of the process which the MGCY is currently involved in. They are currently:

  • Restless Development
  • European Youth Forum
  • Pacific Youth Council
  • Children and Youth International (MGCY’s legal entity)


Each process which the MGCY is mandated or requested to provide the space for children and youth and their organisations in is coordinated by a Deputy Organising Partner within a Working Group (external). These Deputy Organising Partners (dOPs) facilitate involvement in each one the process which currently are:

  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Small Island Developing States
  • Sustainable Development Governance and Participation (inc High Level Political Forum)
  • Post-2015 and Sustainable Development Policy negotiations
  • Financing for Development and Sustainable Development Financing
  • Sustainable Consumption Production Patterns (10 Year Framework of Actions)
  • Sustainable Urban Development and Housing (Habitat III)


Internal Work of the MGCY is coordinated by facilitators in Working Groups (internal) They are open to all members apart from Finance and Elections Committee which are selected at the Annual Assembly of the MGCY through its legal entities Children and Youth International. The Working Group’s (internal ) currently are:

  • Children
  • Communications and Campaigns
  • Renewal and outreach to children and youth
  • Finance
  • Elections


Children and Youth International has been created by the MGCY as a legal entity. All participants of the MGCY are members of Children and Youth International and they are the only members. It allows the MGCY to fundraise and accredit individual participants of the MGCY to get into UN meetings. The board of Children and Youth International is elected by the Annual Assembly of the MGCY and also contains all the elected Organising Partners as ex-officios. For legal and continuity reasons Children and Youth International remains as Organising Partner of the MGCY.


What we want on this list

  • Emails relevant to youth participation and strategy, in and around the CSD process and at CSD sessions
  • Information and questions about Youth Caucus activities, structure and governance
  • Information and questions about youth initiatives happening in your country that relate to the CSD – for sharing ideas and best practices across the global youth community
  • Relevant news and intelligence (e.g. about countries positions within the CSD negotiations)
  • Report-backs from relevant meetings
  • Proposals and ideas for youth action, policy and/or governance.
  • Call-outs for volunteers/involvement – if you have an idea or proposal that is relevant to all youth, but which requires further development, then ask for interested volunteers to reply to you or to join an appropriate separate email list. Develop your idea in that smaller group, then bring your proposal back to the Youth Caucus for decision-making.

What is more suitable for other lists

  • Trivial discussions about things like ‘the colour of a t-shirt’ or a slogan. Instead, these discussions should occur in a smaller group of interested people, who will announce their final decision (with its rationale)
  • Logistics and day-to-day emails relevant to CSD sessions. Those discussions should instead take place on the mailing list of specific CSD sessions
  • Emails about youth movement activities that are not related to the CSD

Tips for better e-mailing

  • Too much mail? Change your setting here.
  • Do not send personal replies to the list.
  • Subject lines: Use tags (see below) and an accurate, brief description. When replying to a message, do not change the subject line of the email, unless it is a new topic.
  • Only one topic per email. Two topics? Send two emails.
  • History: Access all archived messages here.
  • Translation: for Gmail users: scroll to “Message translation”, click “Enable” —> “Save Changes”. An option to translate will appear in all messages. Set your native language here:
  • For long emails, provide a short summary of the content in the first lines.
  • Lots of discussion on a thread you’re not interested in? “Turning off” an annoying trend: In gmail, you can ‘Mute‘ that thread.

We look forward to reviving this list as a place for exciting discussion, exchange, and international connection for youth surrounding the CSD process.

Your feedback on how to improve these moderation guidelines is welcomed.


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