Demystifying Myths of Youth Participation in Post 2015

By Esther Eshiet
Esther Eshiet  at the townhall meeting
As the world over counts down to the 2015 the deadline for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals; it was very timely the UN began the process of evaluating the performance of the goals and begin to plan towards shaping the next set of development goals.
One of such strategies was setting up of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent persons on the #Post2015 Development Agenda by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon. With the Primary role of shaping the Global Development Framework after 2015; the 26 person committee met in London from October  31st – November 2nd 2012 for its first outreach session.  The outreach session was aimed at consulting with individuals and organizations in the Private Sector, Civil Society and Young people in order to evaluate the missing links of the current Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) as well as kick start the conversations on the next global development framework after the MDGs expire in 2015.
Alongside 23 other young persons, I was selected to be a part of the Youth Panel to the outreach session of the Eminent Persons Group and without sounding cliché; this was one of the most memorable moments in my career; not because of just being on the Panel but the role of representing the voices of over 70 million young Nigerians.
With focus on Household Poverty as its overarching theme, the youth consultation was also centered on cross cutting issues such as Jobs and Livelihoods, Education, Sexual and Reproductive Health/Rights as well as Skills development. We employed different strategies to drive home the messages of what we want included in the next set of development goals. I sat alongside between Mr. Gary Cornille, Envoy to the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mr. Homi Kharas, and Halleh Umar an Advisor to Ms. Emilia Pires; while Messah Kamara from Sierra Leone, Dianella Ramirez from USA were the other youth participants at the table.
We advocated against the exclusion of young people in the Constitution of the Eminent Persons Group and Panel and pointed out the necessity of this for maximum participation of young people in the process; without sounding ungrateful we commended the High Level Panel for consulting with young people while reiterating that this shouldn’t be the end but rather a first step in the several engagement processes ahead.
Some of the major outcomes for this consultation were several pledges by members of the Eminent Persons Group to engage young persons; each step of the way in the build up to 2015; the Envoy to the Liberian President, H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, endorsed the idea of having a youth observer to the High Level Panel!
Other highlights from the event was the launch of My World– an MDGs crowdsourcing platform for individuals and organizations to engage the High Level Panel on the #post2015 Development agenda as well as a town hall meeting comprising Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations and Young People .
For more information on the HLP and how to engage; visit:
For details on My World; visit:
Tweet at : @worldwewant, @youthpost2015 ; using the #Post2015HLP
Facebook: Global Youth Voices – UN Global Conversation on the Post-2015 Agenda
Esther Eshiet is a Social Policy Expert and committed change maker. You can connect with her on twitter

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