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Yesterday, we, the youth gender working group organized an action to push for the passage of a draft decision  that would make monumental steps forward in ensuring gender-sensitive climate change policies and increased participation of women in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

In our action, we created a circle of alternating men and women, balancing cups of water symbolizing healthy globes. The slogan for the action was: “GENDER BALANCE: The world is in ALL of our hands.”

During the session, Member States shared positive remarks …

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During these past few days of COP18, I’ve been working closely with members of the gender working group  represented in the official youth constituency, YOUNGO. Together, we have been meeting with negotiators, raising questions regarding gender and youth and posting blogs to raise the visibility of women’s empowerment, gender, human rihgts and health, particularly reproductive health and rights, in the climate change discussions.

Here from four diverse perspectives of our YOUNGO gender working group as they believe that gender, reproductive justice and climate change are clearly relevant and important issues …

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November 27th, for the first-time, was officially declared as ‘Gender Day,’ thanks to the work of the official Women and Gender constituency and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat.  It has also been exciting to have a high-level champion like the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Mrs. Christiana Figueres, take leadership in her position to leverage gender and women’s empowerment in the climate change negotiations.

Yesterday, for example, Ms. Figueres hosted a briefing to discuss the concerns of young delegates in the negotiations.  When I …

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A year ago, I attended the UN meeting on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Young leaders from the Philippines, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria and the United States came together to advocate for the prioritization of young people’s sexual and reproductive and rights in the climate change negotiations.

However, the UNFCCC disappointedly failed to adequately discuss education of girls and boys, empowerment of women, and demand for voluntary family planning, and access to comprehensive, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health …

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The "Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" side event, hosted by Advocates for Youth and partner organizations, not only highlighted young people’s perspectives on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), but also examples of youth leadership and how the power of global activism can elevate youth SRHR around the world.

In this video,  Leo shares how he was involved in the Time is Now campaign, a youth-led campaign that has mobilized youth to leverage youth SRHR at the annual UN Meeting on Climate Change, hosted by the …

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On June 19, at the Rio+20 Summit, Advocates for Youth, Population Action International, Sierra Club and Youth Coalition  hosted a side event titled, "Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Context of Sustainable Development."   Young leaders from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States spoke about how they see the importance of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the context of discussions related to climate change and sustainable development, such as Rio+20, also known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.…

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It feels like so long ago when I attended the UN Meeting on Climate Change, COP15, in Copenhagen in 2009.  As a global youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) activist, many questioned why I was there and how youth SRHR was connected to climate change.  Fast forward three years, Advocates for Youth now hosts a youth advisory board of over 50 young people from around the world that have designed the Time is Now campaign, focused on mobilizing youth to advocate for the sexual and reproductive health …

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Are we talking about climate change or are we talking about sustainable development?

Last time I checked, we were talking about both — but that apparently is the debate here at the UN Meeting on Climate Change (COP17).

In a special dialogue on climate change, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the “UN must continue to deliver as one.’ I wonder what he would have said last week when Ms. Figueres responded to a question regarding access to sexual and reproductive health information and services as an issue …

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Today, I attended a meeting hosted by the US Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change, Jonathon Pershing, where he engaged in dialgoue with American youth to discuss the negotiations curently going on at the Conference of Parties (COP) 17 in Durban, South Africa.

Mr. Pershing gave an overview of the negotiations, while highlighting the US interests in addressing climate change which was then followed by a Q&A session. In response to a question regarding how the US and countries can play a role in adaptating to climate change by …

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Hi everyone!

I am excited to report to you on the first day of the UN Climate Change Conference here in Durban, South Africa on behalf of Advocates for Youth, with my fellow colleagues and youth activists Leo, Lemuel and Roli representing our climate change youth advisory board from the Philippines, Mexico and India.  Some of you may ask, why is Advocates for Youth, an organization focused on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, participating in a climate change conference

Climate change disproportionately affects women, especially young …

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 Hi friends!

I’m here in Bamako, Mali, accompanied with many of my colleagues, including Nana Nyarko Boateng and Jaevion Nelson, International Year of Youth (IYY) journalists reporting on this meeting via Amplify blogs, Facebook and Twitter.  Day 1 was an exciting day where we had Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director and the President of Mali, Amoudu Toumani Toure speak at the opening ceremony.  Following the ceremony were youth-to-youth sessions focused on themes like youth leadership and key populatios.  Then, we participated in a "speed dating" session to (quickly!) discuss …

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My trip to Africa started two weeks ago in my country of origin, Ethiopia, where I attended the Africa Youth Forum hosted by the African Union.  Many of you have seen blogs and videos from my colleague, Abongwa Victor, a youth journalist who captured the news of this meeting.

If you haven’t yet, not to worry…you can check out his blogs here at: www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/papavic

After this meeting, I decided to take a detour to Nairobi, Kenya and meet youth leaders working for change in their country.  This was a …

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Today marks the first day of the African Union Pre-Summit, hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where young leaders from all over Africa will come together to develop concrete messages and a Plan of Action in preparation of the annual African Union Summit to be hosted this July, with the theme “Accelerate Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.   The Pre-African Union Summit will be held from April 1-9  where my colleague, International Year of Youth journalist, Abongwa Victor, will be keeping you updated with interviews from young leaders themselves …

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Now that the council of youth activists in Nepal have their own plan of action from our training in Dilukhel, we left the next morning to return to Kathmandu and conduct our "part II" of my trip…which was for them meet with various stakeholders working on youth sexual and reproductive health and rights to share their plans for the year and potentially identify points of collaboration or advocacy entry points (depending if we’re talking to local organizations or policymakers!).

We met with the:

-Program Manager in the Youth Section …

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Coming from Nigeria, I was exhausted. I whipped out a week of training each and every day during my trip in Abuja.  When I imagined another of THAT (although fun and exciting) in Nepal, my head started spinning.  Imagine training all week plus moving forward ANOTHER six hours in time to train some more: wowzers!

Coincidentally, though, my trip to Nepal started off easier than I thought. Ajay—my other half in Nepal managing our project—was actually on the same flight as me coming from Doha to Kathmandu. You may …

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I recently went on my annual site visit to Abuja, Nigeria (my favorite time of year!) to meet with the entire council of youth activists supported by our partner, Education as a Vaccine.  I’m always reenergized for the rest of the year, after an exciting week of devoted time to train, discuss and restrategize our advocacy efforts to improve policies and increase funding towards sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria.  Every year, I’m more impressed by them than the previous year–mainly because I can see how they’ve grown …

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Do you ever look back on your day and feel like the morning was yesterday? Yes, I had one of those days today! Or should I say one of those days yesterday, because it’s already almost 1AM and I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of sleep.

The Conference of Youth (COY) began today at 9AM where young people came together to share ideas and discuss strategies for the UN Meeting on Climate Change-COP16. From being at last year’s conference in Copenhagen, I’ve learned that young people’s enthusiasm, …

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Today is November 1, Africa Youth Day, and we’re celebrating it here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the first day of the Africa Youth Development Forum. I am here with a team of Advocates’ International Year of Youth journalists: Abongwa from Cameroon, Taonga from Zambia, Nana from Ghana and one of our youth activists from Nigeria, Kike. Our team is reporting and blogging on various development issues, while prioritizing sexual and reproductive health and rights, that will be discussed at the Africa Youth Development Forum hosted in collaboration with …

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It can often be hard to imagine a meeting where young people and leaders such as the Executive Director of the Global Fund, Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, and the South African government, Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu, Duputy Minister of Public Works, all in one room talking about youth leadership and accountability. Well, at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna—it’s not only possible, it happened!

At this session, youth leaders such as Ricardo Baruch from Mexico, Nikhi Gurung from Nepal, Nkonzo Khanyile from South Africa, and Stephanie …

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For the first time in history of YouthForce, a coalition of youth-focused organizations that come together to organize, mobilize and prioritize youth at International AIDS Conferences (IAC), has finally placed HARM REDUCTION as a demand in our advocacy campaign. Given that the 2010 IAC is hosted this year in Eastern Europe, Vienna to be exact, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate for harm reduction. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where the epidemic is largely driven by the growing number of young injection drug users, there are over …

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Over a week ago, I visited Kampala, Uganda for a brief trip (four days to be exact) to attend the annual Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition meeting where members came together to discuss the challenges and actual solutions to increasing access to reproductive health supplies around the world.   This meeting is unique to any gathering I usually attend because it literally brings all stakeholders involved for a very specific discussion on reproductive health supplies.  This meeting included the private sector, governments (including our host, the government of Uganda), …

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After a week of discussions around issues of pleasure in sexuality to perceptions of masculinity to the decriminalization of same sex unions, all in the context of Africa, development, and human rights, you could only imagine how hard it could be to synthesize this all in one document. Well, the organizers were surely determined to do so as a tradition of the 4th Africa, Sexual Health and Rights Conference, this time held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  A committee was coordinated upon selection of the organizers to synthesize …

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On my exhausting 24-hour flight from Washington, D.C. to Addis Ababa, I thought about all the exciting opportunities surrounding the Africa, Sexual Health and Rights conference to take place, from February 9-12–beginning with the Youth Sexuality Institute on the 7th and 8th to the Youth Reception, hosted by Advocates for Youth and International Women’s Health Coalition, where youth and invited African Union Ambassadors and policymakers discuss sexual and reproductive health and rights on the 11th. 

I’ll be honest. I was so jet lagged that I didn’t even realize I …

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YOUR voice is an essential part of what makes the International Youth Activist Network a SUCCESS. Please submit your stories to share with other youth activists from around the world!  If you are one of the first 10 iYAN members to submit an essay that meets the criteria below, you will WIN a blue notebook with Advocates for Youth’s notebook and a pen (to write more essays, of course!).

*Please note that blogs you have posted on Amplify will not be considered as entries.*

If you are a …

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 Excited yet exhausted. Optimistic yet anxious. Accomplished yet ambitious.

These are the emotions I was feeling around 7pm yesterday, after a long day of networking, attending events, and interviewing with press at Copenhagen. And, oh my gosh–by the way, sit down anywhere for FIVE MINUTES–and you will get interviewed by someone in the media!!!  Luckily, the perfect outlet for all these emotions approached me at about 7:01pm. 

The Global Gender and Climate Alliance hosted a breathtaking exhibit of indigenous women’s artistic expressions of how climate change impacts …

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Yesterday was the 29th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  You wouldn’t necessarily think there was a connection with the Copenhagen meeting on Climate Change, but when you’re working with activists—anything is possible.  YOUNGO—Youth NGOs—an official constituency of civil society represented here at Copenhagen—came together to sing the tunes of John Lenon’s song “Give Peace a Chance” in a BED-IN (yes, a bed-in), where youth collectively to sing:

“All we are saying is give youth a chance…All we are saying is cut greenhouse gas.” 

Given that the …

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Some may ask—why is Advocates for Youth at the UN meeting on climate change in Copenhagen?  

Advocates for Youth works to ensure young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) all over the world—how does that relate to climate change? Is there a connection? If so, what are the connections?

Well, I’m glad you asked! J  

There is growing evidence that addressing SRHR solutions can increase resilience to climate change, slow population growth trends that exacerbate poverty and climate change impacts, empower young people to exercise …

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 On December 2nd, I attended an Education Symposium in Berlin, Germany hosted by UNAIDS on “How to get the message across – The education sector’s response to the challenge of HIV prevention among most-at-risk youth.”  The meeting gathered leaders in UN agencies, civil society, and (marginally) youth to attend the day-long symposium to address challenges and opportunities in reducing the vulnerability of young people to HIV and particularly most-at-risk (MAR) populations within youth that included gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer (GLBTQ) youth particularly young men who …

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Last year on WAD, I was standing in front of the White House, amongst hundreds of activists united to advocate for the Bush Administration to "Cut the Red Tape"—by eliminating the earmark to implement abstinence-only, ideologically-based programs that censor youth’s access to information about condoms and other ways to reduce to reduce risk of HIV infection. 

 

Despite the fact that mainstream media has portrayed Bush as a champion on HIV and AIDS, civil society recognizes the reality that PEPFAR has failed young people on prevention.  Now, at a …