Senior representatives of governments, the United Nations System, civil society, youth leaders, global funds and foundations met on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva on 25 May for a dynamic exchange of views and sharing of experiences.
The multi-stakeholder consultation, with some 75 invited guests present, was convened by the IAP to inform their 2017 report on adolescents and accountability in the framework of the Global Strategy on Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Carmen Barroso, IAP Co-Chair, said that the IAP hopes “… to humbly contribute even a grain.. or a blossom?… to help accelerate implementation of the Global Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals, and above all, to build up cultures of accountability`. In opening the floor, IAP Co-Chair Kul Gautam emphasized that “We want the IAP reports to be informed by your expertise, your realities, your accountability challenges, and your best ideas on how to fix them.” In response, meeting participants shared efforts made by their respective constituencies, highlighting promising practices and critical gaps. A call for adolescent voices to be heard and listened to resonated broadly across the dialogue.
‘Young people are experts when it comes to identifying the specific challenges and barriers they face, but also in designing the solutions’, affirmed H.E. Ambassador Carsten Staur of the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN in Geneva.
A plea was made for the IAP to make bold recommendations and go beyond reporting on accountability to adolescents, to continuously engage with a wide array of stakeholders.
The IAP also held a dedicated session following the event with adolescent and youth representatives to hear their views on the key challenges and seek their advice and inputs to inform its report and positions which was moderated by IAP member Dakshitha Wickremarathne. Among the recurrent themes that surfaced were the policy commitments that exist mostly on paper, the lack of transparent budgets for adolescents, and the ongoing tokenism when it comes to young people’s participation. The representatives voiced their demands for young people to have a place at strategic decision-making tables, on an ongoing basis – ‘nothing for us, without us’.