On Friday, October 2, an interactive civil society dialogue with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was held on the theme ‘Promoting the health and wellbeing of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic: leveraging youth engagement in participatory governance’. Stakeholders discussed how to meaningfully engage youth in normal processes, instead of being siloed in separate structures. “We have a tendency to try to squeeze young people into old structures that are no longer fit to purpose. Put the youth representative at the table, but also redefine the table. We need to broaden our understanding and take the opportunity to reach different youth who are usually far from the table.” Summary messages from the session include:
1. Support youth in the COVID-19 response while protecting their wellbeing
• WHO ensure that youth voices are included in the equitable and fair deployment of vaccines
• Promote and support for ongoing access to medicine for all diseases
2. Promote meaningful and inclusive youth participation processes
• Ensure youth are consulted and participating in decision-making processes, integrating youth into existing governance structures and expert groups.
• Mechanisms for continued and consistent youth engagement (youth assembly, WHO advocating to member states for youth involvement, redefining the table)
• Guidelines for youth participation and representation at all levels of society
3. Invest in youth as a direct COVID-19 response
Provide funding to youth organizations and compensation for young participants to facilitate inclusion of diverse backgrounds, not just privileged backgrounds.
The next meeting is TOMORROW, Tuesday October 13 from 14:00-15:30 hrs CEST (12:00pm-1:30pm GMT), on ‘Social participation and accountability within and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic’. Read more and register here: http://g2h2.org/posts/tedros2020/