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Fund Unveiled To Support UN Youth-Led Projects

Fund Unveiled To Support UN Youth-Led Projects For Development

New York, Nov 5 2008 6:10PM

A $2 million fund to finance youth-led development projects was announced yesterday by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-HABITAT) at the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, China.

Known as the Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development, the fund is initially being financed by Norway and will work to engage young women and men in achieving sustainable urbanization and tackle issues including rampant youth unemployment, barriers to entrepreneurship and lack of appropriate training and education.

“Youth are the future of our cities, but often are rendered voiceless due to unemployment, lack of education and other issues,” said UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT Anna Tibaijuka.

According to the UN Youth Report 2007, children and youth under the age of 24 make up nearly 40 per cent of the global populations. While also comprising one fourth of the world’s working-age population, youth also account for 44 per cent of the unemployed.

“Through this new fund, we are recognizing the urgent need to bolster youth-led initiatives, and are at the forefront of a growing movement to place youth at the centre of sustainable development strategies,” said Ms. Tibaijuka. “Youth-led development is about young people making a living and future for themselves and their communities."

The Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum convened international leaders in the field of youth-led development, while also engaging civil society representatives, government officials and private sector participants.

David Woollcombe, Director of Peace Child International, acknowledged the uniqueness of the Opportunities Fund within the UN system and urged other agencies to follow Norway’s example in supporting youth – “the world’s last remaining ‘superpower’.”

Through the new Fund, UN-HABITAT intends to partner with youth to advance its core mandate of sustainable urban development as well as the Millennium Development Goals and their youth-related targets.

ENDS

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