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YWF Kenya co-hosts a roundtable discussion on the UN Pact for the Future during the 6th United Nations Environment Assembly

The Kenyan chapter of the Young World Federalists (YWF Kenya) co-organized a roundtable discussion on the Pact for the Future at the sidelines of the sixth session of the United Nations

Environment Assembly. The event was hosted at the United Nations office in Gigiri, Nairobi on

February 29 2024 in partnership with the Children and Youth Major Group to the United

Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The event aimed to create awareness of the

processes of creating an output document that will be deliberated during the Summit of the

Future forum in New York on 22 and 23 September 2024. The forum will be preceded by a

consultative forum dubbed the UN Civil Society Conference that will be held on May 9 and 10

at the UNEP global headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, to engage civil society organizations in the drafting of the Pacf of the Future.

During the roundtable conversation, youths from the Young World Federalists Kenyan chapter

combined their voices with their peers from the Children and Youth Major Group to the UNEP,

to provide inputs to the zero draft text of the Pact of the Future. Representatives of

the Young World Federalists were particularly concerned about the global governance

provisions of the proposed treaty. Kennedy Karanja, the Organizing Lead of the Kenyan chapter, requested the addition of text under the International Peace and Security chapter of the zero draft text and underlined the importance of securitization of environmental issues since the General Assembly resolution A/76/L.75 recognized a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right. He called for the UN Security Council to consider intervening in member states that are violating this human right, given that environmental degradation can cause or exacerbate existing conflicts, such as in South Sudan and Nigeria.

Ian Mose, a member of the YWF Kenya, also contributed to these discussions calling for changes in the global governance system, particularly the UN Security Council, which could benefit from equitable representation in terms of region and current power dynamics. He proposed an addition of text to this effect, asking for the inclusion of Latin American and African countries as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Terry Otieno, a leader in the Children and Youth Major Group, pointed out the importance of

keeping hope alive and requested that the chateau of the pact reflect this optimism. She

suggested that the consultations will strive towards inclusivity by being designed as a series of

dialogues, held virtually and physically, to enable a maximum number of people to contribute.

She urged that the pact should have a strong focus on youth and children, and hoped that the

outcome document would be universally accepted.

Members of both entities had a chance to share their ideas. The meeting participants recognized the force the treaty would have in reinforcing the current agreements such as The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Agenda 2030. They agitated for tight-proof guarantees that there will be intergenerational representation in the decision-making of environmental and sustainability agreements, involvement of (youth) experts and relevance to 21st-century issues such as digital governance.

Overall, the roundtable conversations reflected the common passion among members of the Young World Federalists and the Children and Youth Major Group to the UNEP for designing a strong document that improves on Agenda 2030 and reflects the aspirations of young people across the world to play a visible and significant role in environmental governance. Collectively, they underlined the need for multilateralism, multisectoral approaches and engagement with local civil society organizations (smart coalitions). They proposed that going forward, there should be proper documentation for the global governance processes so that the past and present can inform the future. The members also recognized the vitality of documenting indigenous knowledge and practices to improve global norms and rules.

This was the first event that YWF Kenya has organized in 2024. The event was a massive

success to the YWF Kenya team, who are hoping to simplify the participation of youth in global governance processes through capacity building and employing engaging mechanisms such as the use of narratives, storytelling and roundtable conversations like the discussion on the Pact of the Future.


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