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Nairobi, Kenya, 14 Mar 12

Youth in climate change summit, New York. 2009 © UN Photo/Mark Garten

The United Nations programmes responsible for development and urban issues are hosting a global meeting from 15 to 18 March 2012 on how to get young people more involved in democratic processes in Nairobi, Kenya.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN-Habitat, with financial support from the Government of Norway, will host the four-day meeting which seeks to better understand and advocate for the engagement of youth in governance.

Officially opening with a video message from the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the meeting, which will host more than 150 young people from around the world, will also feature key youth activists from the arenas of music, popular culture, politics and development.

There are now more people under the age of 25 than ever before; around 1.2 billion or nearly 60% of the world's population. This presents governments a huge challenge in terms of education and service provision as well as opportunities for employment and rights for young workers.

At the same time, young people are becoming more engaged in demanding those rights and standing up to be heard on democratic and political arenas more traditionally reserved for older activists.

On 25 January 2012, the UN Secretary-General announced that youth will be a focus for the next five years of the UN, and that he was going to appoint a Special Advisor on Youth. The Youth 21 initiative builds on this momentum to discuss how to support those youth to take a leadership in the 21st Century.

At the conclusion of this meeting there will be a Final Statement which will be sent to the Secretary-General outlining how youth can be better engaged in the UN and globally.

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