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A Youth High-Level Panel to Guide Global Development

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The following letter was sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month to recommend establishing a “Youth High-Level Panel” to help guide the post-2015 global development agenda. The authors were both members of the U.N. High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which in May released its recommendations for a global development plan to follow the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals on December 31, 2015.

August 2, 2013

H.E. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations
New York, NY 10017

Mr. Secretary-General,

We write to you as members of the High Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda who are deeply committed to realizing the report’s ambitious call “to end extreme poverty in all its forms.”

We believe one of the most critical ways to achieve this vision is through continued engagement with youth, both as the world builds a post-2015 sustainable development agenda and as we then implement it.

To this end, we recently held an online forum dedicated to discussing the post-2015 agenda with youth from around the world. Representatives from Latin America, Africa, and Asia spoke passionately and with a sense of urgency about the issues they saw as central to promoting development including youth unemployment, quality education, institutional accountability, and peaceful societies.

One of the many good ideas raised through this forum was a proposal to hold a youth high level panel (YHLP) on the post-2015 development agenda. A YHLP would bring a critical youth perspective to cross-cutting issues of sustainable development by researching, consulting, and prioritizing the views of youth from around the world.

We fully support this proposal and strongly urge you to consider its formal establishment. In constituting the YHLP, we would urge that a similar model to the HLP be used, with gender and geographic equality. The YHLP would complement other inputs into the post-2015 process and provide a unique exercise in legitimizing the viewpoints of those who will be tasked with inheriting the world in 2030.

Global youth were active voices throughout the Panel’s deliberations and were present at each of our meetings in New York, London, Monrovia, and Bali. They have been no less active with the conclusion of the Panel. We applaud your leadership on these issues and urge you to build upon the momentum that the youth have created around the post-2015 development agenda. We stand ready to assist and contribute in whatever manner may be most beneficial as we collectively work to end extreme poverty in our time.

Tawakkol Karman

John Podesta

Tawakkol Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011—the first Yemeni, first Arab woman, and second Muslim woman to win the prize, as well as the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date. She is a human rights activist, journalist, and politician. John Podesta is the Chair of the Center for American Progress. 

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

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Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
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Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
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Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
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TV: Rachel Rosen
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