Cross posted from http://www.alexsurace.com
Recently I was in Cairo for the 8th ICMYO (International Coordination Meeting of Youth) on behalf of the Global Young
Greens. The event brought together around 15 delegates from a diverse range of IYNGOs (International Youth NGOs) and RYP (Regional Youth Platforms) for 3 days of networking, sharing and coordinating. The meeting was a combination of reports from each of the participating groups as well as an opportunity to explore opportunities for future collaboration. We also explored our collective involvement in various United Nations processes as part of our continued efforts to mainstream youth perspectives at the global level. As an example, from GYG I shared our involvement and critical analysis of Rio+20; which was echoed by a few groups interested in following up and undertaking joint advocacy!
The ICMYO Taskforce who are responsible for organising the yearly meeting, and which GYG is a part of, also organised an open Networking Day. The Networking Day provided an opportunity for local youth and youth focused NGOs to meet each other within the context of the political transition underway within Egypt and to connect with various Regional & International Governmental Organisations (such as the World Bank, United Nations and the League of Arab States) who have projects working with youth. I contributed as one of the co-moderators of a High Level Panel which connected the global with the local with the mentioned organisations and local youth activist Asmaa Mahfouz and also facilitated a World Café session which created a space for meaningful dialogue between participants around the topic of cooperation and collaboration. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept you can find out more here, it’s a great way to bring diverse people together!
One of the personal highlights of the meeting was the opportunity to meet with the Deputy Director of Policy from the UN Millennium Campaign, who flew from New York to address our meeting and stayed afterwards to engage in more meaningful dialogue. He outlined plans for youth outreach within the context of the post 2015 development agenda. For those who are not familiar, the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), created from theMillennium Declaration in 2000, are set to expire in 2015 and efforts are underway to reflect on progress and design the next suite of goals. Also, as an outcome of Rio+20 there is a commitment to create SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which are likely to be combined with the post 2015 agenda. This process and the goals which are generated in the next 1-2 years will significantly influence the future global response to the numerous and combining environmental, social and economic crises. Including youth as part of this process is obviously an incredibly important element as it is us who will inherit outcomes of these decisions.
However, I’m quick to realise that access does not equate to influence. So I took the opportunity to explore some of the serious criticisms that I (and many others) have identified with the MDGs and to discuss how their effectiveness could be increased next time around. I will blog again shortly on the specific MDG relating to the eradication of extreme poverty which will highlight some of issues I’m alluding to. It was refreshing to hear from someone involved that they are aware of the downfalls of the MDGs and efforts are underway to address them; however we need to actively follow the process and not become complacent.
Outside of the structured agenda of the meeting it was also a great chance to experience Cairo; a bustling, vibrant and big city. I explored as much as I could; I visited the pyramids at Giza, the Egyptian Museum, Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, Khan el-Khalili (major souk / market place) and of course Tahir Square (Liberation Square in English), which was the focal point of the 2011 revolution against the ousted Hosni Mubarak. I found the people of Cairo warm and friendly and on the most part interested in getting to know this non-Arabic speaking tourist. It’s important to acknowledge the lived economic reality in Cairo compared to places like Sydney (generally speaking), being aware of it while travelling ensures it does not overly impact your experience or jade your judgement of the people you meet.
I spent hours wandering around the pyramids, in awe of these massive structures which were built with what we would consider today as primitive technology. With the pyramids (pharaonic age) in the foreground and the modern city of Cairo (anthropocene) in the background, it was a great opportunity to reflect on our modern civilisation and explore ideas of change. I ended on the reflection that it is all about time and scale, change did happen, is happening and will continue to happen – the only question left is how quickly it will arrive and how receptive and open to change we are as human beings.
There was much more to this trip and much more to say, if you want to discuss with me get in touch. I’m always up for a chat with interested and interesting people.
More info: ICMYO Website
Official reports of each day