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Youth Called upon to Make a Difference in Urban Habitat

Being young is not a disadvantage, but on the contrary an asset in making a difference for the future, where the young are the first concerned!

The UN estimates that by 2030, 60% of the population will be living in cities. Challenges in the cities will increase, hence their responsibilities to address issues such as economy, illiteracy, poverty, climate change, violence, housing, etc.

The UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. UN-HABITAT’s programs are designed to help policy makers and local communities get to grips with human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions.

Further to Resolution GC 21/6 established at its Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2007, UN-HABITAT has launched the Opportunities Fund for urban youth-led development. This effort was acknowledged and applauded on behalf of the first International Youth Advisory Board (IYAB) by my colleague Ms. Maria Fernanda Valencia at the GC 22 held in Nairobi in April 2009.

The IYAB was established at the World Urban Forum IV held in Nanjing, China, in November 2008 to represent the voice of young people in the HABITAT Agenda. Since then the IYAB has been working on the youth mandate and has been lobbying very actively at the recently concluded GC22 and beyond.

We appreciate the kind contribution of the Norwegian government for their commitment of $2 million for the Fund, and invite youth and youth-led organizations to seize this opportunity for an ongoing commitment to make this world a better place. [1]

Young people have repeatedly demonstrated their capacity to work actively in favor of affordable housing and climate change at local, national, and global levels, from grassroots projects to international advocacy networks. This is an opportunity for us to take serious responsibilities in making a difference in our own habitat.

We should not let our age be a disadvantage or a reason to shirk responsibilities. The young will be innovative and creative to bring the change we wish for the world.

There are nine of us on the IYAB who would be more than willing to help voice youth’s opinion at UN-HABITAT and to promote the youth agenda. Please joins us and feel free to contact us by writing to me and I will facilitate your contact with the person responsible for your region.

[1The first round of applications for funds is closed. A second call will be announced by the end of 2009. Learn more about the UN-HABITAT fund for youth-led development.


John Anugraha
Anugraha John is a young social activist (...)
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Photos under Creative Commons license:
- Mumbai skyline, by Deepak Gupta
- View of Lagos (Nigeria), by Raffaelle Bello
- View of Mexico City, by URBAN.EARTH
Photo bottom-left: John Anugraha and Lucinda Hartley, in charge of the Asia-Pacific region, International Youth Advisory Board for UN-Habitat (2008-2010)

Download the brochure for the first call for application for grants (now closed, but soon to be reopened) for more details, and read John Anugraha’s statement at the Local Government Climate Leadership Summit held in Copenhagen on June 2-4 2009.

Statement by J. Anugraha at the Local Government Climate Leadership Summit held in Copenhagen on June 2-4 2009
Oppurtunities Fund brochure

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