Youth councils meet at National General Assembly
The annual Local Agenda 21 National Youth Councils General Assembly meeting was held on 17-21 May 2007 in Ankara with the participation of Youth for Habitat partners, UNDP officials, panelists and youth representatives as well as the representatives of youth parliaments all over Turkey.
New Horizons - The regional activities and new term social responsibility projects were introduced during the 4-days meeting and workshops on youth policies in Turkey, legal framework of UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), human rights, education and internship programs were organised as well as panels on young ideas in politics. In a speech she made, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ulrika Richardson-Golinski said “youth are key participants in decision-making and development. Engaging youth in decision-making processes through local-level action and advocacy builds not only individual, but institutional and community-wide capacity”.
This year’s general assembly focused on elaborating on the “Localizing the UN Millennium Development Goals in Turkey through the Local Agenda 21 Governance Network” project in which the aim is to strengthen the LA-21 National Youth Parliament for effectively addressing the MDGs at national and local levels. The importance youth, city councils and youth platforms play in accomplishing the MDGs was also stressed throughout the meetings. UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ulrika Richardson-Golinski stressed that Turkey needed to benefit from this generation’s contributions to national development as well.
The general assembly provided a platform in general where all ideas, concerns and solutions could be discussed for youth-led initiatives.
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Youth councils consist of youth between 15-25 age group such as representatives of youth foundations and associations, representatives of university and high school student councils and youth clubs without any distinction of language, religion, race, culture or gender. The function of youth councils in Turkey is to ensure that youth are represented throughout society, to increase living standards, to realize projects designed by youth and especially for youth, to ensure youth participation in general and their participation into decision-making mechanisms and promote sustainable development. The success of youth councils in Turkey has driven many countries to implement the Turkish model in their own countries.