Youth Blasts happen before each set of negotiations. You can see here the details of the latest Youth Blast planned and how you can get involved.
Aims and structure of the Youth Blast
The overall aim of the Youth Blast is to empower young people to effectively participate through the MGCY in its engagement with negotiations . Within this, there are three areas of focus:
- Build capacity amongst young people to effectively participate in the formal and informal processes
- Strategise for MGCY engagement in the official process
- Develop final statements and position points ahead of meetings.
Next Youth Blast
OWG8 Mini-Youth Blast (Event)
Date: February 2 at 10:00am until February 3 at 3:00pm in UTC-04
Location: SOS Children’s Villages International, 777 UN Plaza, Ste 3E New York, NY 10017. USA
Youth Blast 2013
This month, the UN is hosting in New York a series of key events together with its General Assembly, among them: the 20th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development which will mark the end of a cycle and the the Inaugural Session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
This important milestone in the follow up to Rio+20 process, is a key time for youth and children to create an action plan on the road to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
It is vital that we work together to ensure that young people have a strong voice in Sustainable Development negotiations as we move towards a new system.
In order to facilitate that, the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), which is the constituency for the UN Sustainable Development negotiations, will be hosting in the afternoon of September 20th, 2013 another traditional Youth Blast!
What: Youth Blast 2013
When: September 20th, 2013 – 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Where: Orange Cafe, UNFPA HQ, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, USA (between 39th and 40th street)
Register: In order to take part, you need to quickly register here! (We need to confirm names at the security of the building!)
Rio+20 (2012) Youth Blast
The event, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was divided into two sections: Brazilian Days (7-8 June) aimed at strengthening and supporting the host country movement, and International Days (10-12 June) aimed at bringing together Brazilian and International youth to prepare for Rio+20.
The Youth Blast was a great success with the participation of more than 1,800 young people from 123 countries from six continents. A breakdown of participants was:
- 816 Brazilian participants
- 724 International participants
- 84 press
- 215 volunteers
This event was organised by the UNCSD Major Group of Children and Youth as the official young people’s event for Rio+20. The purpose of the Youth Blast is to empower children and youth present at Rio+20. The goals of the Blast are to provide information and training for leaders around the CSD and provide a space for young people to share best practices for implementing solutions and participating in decision-making at the international level. It is also an event to strategise prior to Rio+20
To involve as many Brazilian young people as possible, our Youth Blast starts with two days (8th and 9th June 2012) of strategising and preparations in Portuguese. We are also liaising with national youth networks to ensure as much involvement as possible in the preparatory process. All young people are welcome to attend. However, if you do not speak Portuguese, please make a note of it when you are registering as we have limited numbers of translators available.
Programme and Discussions
These young people had the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities, including a series of panel discussions, plenaries, elective youth-hosted workshops, and workshops hosted by various UN agencies and governments. Almost 150 sessions were held over the Youth Blast days and included:
- Brazilian Days:
- 5 panel discussions
- 3 plenaries
- 24 parallel sessions
- 2 moments for working groups to work on the 9 themes creating the outcome document
- International Days:
- 92 parallel sessions
- 7 activities in the Art Space
- 4 plenaries
- 16 introduction sessions on Rio+20, MGCY and the different Task Forces (in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French)
The various sessions covered a wide range of topics including the themes of the Rio+20 Conference itself, the work of the MGCY, the policy points being lobbied for and a variety of youth-inspired topics that included:
- Sustainability in universities
- Media coverage for youth activities
- Green Schools
- Mobilising young people into action
- Alternative indicators of growth
- Citizen Emancipation for Sustainability
- Pan-African Youth Union: Building Youth-led organisations
- European Youth Forum: Networking of Offical Youth Delegates
- Human rights, rights of the child and youth rights
- Transitioning to a fossil fuel free world
- Leadership development
- Child consumerism, advertising and sustainability
- Theatre for change
- Innovations Think Tank
- Creative action for social change
- Children as agents of environmental transformation
During the Youth Blast, strong emphasis was placed on e-participation to increase the participation of youth with fewer opportunities from developing countries and economies in transition, and to mobilise youth groups across the world to take local action in support of Rio+20.
A collaborative team worked to ensure that a maximum number of people both inside and outside the venue were aware of the activities transpiring, and able to engage with them. A total of seven sessions were live-streamed using Google Hangout, allowing on-line participants to both watch and engage in the sessions. Recordings of these sessions are hosted on the MGCY YouTube and TIGVid sites. There have been approximately 3,600 views of the videos posted, demonstrating a strong desire to engage on-line through these platforms. Live-streamed plenary sessions gained as many as 282 remote viewers with participation from 91 countries. The top five countries were Brazil (2,145), United States (283), United Arab Emirates (115), India (90) and Germany (59).
Media and Social Media
Social media was also at its peek. There was a total reach of 163,877 on Facebook over the Youth Blast and posts were seen 746,218 times in News Feed, ticker or visits to MGCY Page. The link youth-blast.org was shared so many times that Facebook banned it several times thinking it was spam, and then unbanned it when they confirmed that it was a youth conference. During this period, we reached 21,341 Portuguese (Brazil) users and 49,516 (English) users. During the Brazilian Days of the Youth Blast, a ‘twitter storm’ was initiated with the hashtag #YouthBlastBrasil. Participation from around the world was remarkable, pushing the Youth Blast to be the third most commented tag globally, and the first most commented tag in Brazil.
In addition to building capacity, strategizing and planning for a post-Rio+20 agenda, the Youth Blast created a platform for young people to share experiences and solutions related to sustainable development. It fostered an environment that helped to forge global partnerships, develop an international knowledge base of activities, initiatives and best practices, and strengthen the MGCY constituency to ensure the continued participation of young people in these important sustainability processes.