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Fourth Youth Leadership Programme in Arab States concludes in Amman

Regional youth enablers explore ways to support innovation for sustainable impact, draft national action plans

By Camille Dupire - May 13,2018 - Last updated at May 13,2018

Youth from various Arab states take part in the fourth youth leadership programme regional workshop in Amman on Saturday (Photo courtesy of YLP)

AMMAN — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Hiroshima on Saturday concluded the launching event of the fourth Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) in the Arab states, witnessing the presentation of various action plans aimed at enhancing youth mobilisation for sustainable development.

“YLP is not only a one-time programme,” said Jordanian participant Alaa Haddad, stressing “rather, it is a journey where you continue to develop yourself through different activities. Once you are a YLP, you will always be a YLP!”

The three day launch, which brought together around 100 regional representatives of youth-serving organisations, technical experts and youth graduates of previous YLP, aimed at discussing ways to “unleash young people’s innovative potentials” and “enable youth to make meaningful contributions to the achievement of sustainable development in their communities”, a statement by the organisers said.

The event started off with a presentation of the YLP4 vision, objectives and methodology by UNITAR Senior Specialist Berin McKenzie and UNDP Regional Director Khaled Abdel Shafi.

Voicing his pride to see UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States and UNITAR Hiroshima collaborate on the event, McKenzie said: “This is the first joint initiative between our two organisations, and it is a true pleasure for us to be working together on such a successful programme with a track record of impressive results and impact.”

“It is all about empowering youth to create a sustainable impact for the future,” he told the audience, adding “you have become, from a group of individuals an individual group that shares the vision, compassion and values of YLP.”

Highlighting the “significant role” of youth as sustainable development goals (SDGs) advocates, Abdel Shafi noted: “This first workshop comes as a starting point for a work that requires all of us to contribute with our expertise and energies to develop areas of learning and joint work which will create a series of action plans for national activities to enhance the ability of young people to innovate.”

Representatives from across 13 Arab countries including Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, in addition to Jordan, gathered “with a passion to work for a future generation of effective, influential and innovative leaders”. the UNDP official pointed out.

Following a presentation of the Agenda 2030 and sustainable development concepts, participants witnessed a presentation of design thinking as a process to foster youth social innovation by Jennifer Colville, manager of UNDP’s regional innovation portfolio in Arab states. 

She outlined various means to engage youth in collaborative solution-seeking such as hackathons and the project cycle hackers kit.

“We are trying to measure the immeasurable. Forty per cent of the SDG indicators have no measurement framework,” Colville pointed out, urging youth to make use of all social innovation resources to develop their national action plans.

The fourth programme’s sessions covered topics ranging from gender equality incorporation, branding and communication policies, support to youth political participation, risk analysis, among others.

“Talking isn’t training: designing effective learning interventions is critical in knowledge and skills building,” stressed McKenzie, after participants took part in an interactive role play on UNDP branding.

On the last day of the workshop, attending youth organisations proceeded to present their respective action plans for mobilising youth action for sustainable development in their respective countries. 

“As a former YLP finalist, I can’t hide my enthusiasm seeing all the work everybody’s doing to make YLP4. This is going to give its big jump to the Arab youth,” said Tunisian Salma Belhassine, as participants gathered into small groups to reflect on what they were acquainted with throughout the day.

“We need to listen to youth and their concerns to understand how to serve them best,” she stressed, alongside Amer Jeradat, from Jordan.

Closing the three day workshop, UNDP Bureau for Arab States’ regional programme coordinator, Yakup Beris, said: “Over the past 4 years, we brought together around 10,000 stakeholders through this regional programme. We aim to double this in the years to come and YLP network is an important part of this momentum of growth.”

“As change makers, you will need to push the boundaries of the present with pathways that naturally come from assumptions that are based on our experiences,” he concluded.

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