Adaptability key to young people’s engagement in development amidst the COVID Pandemic

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First Annual Report of the Youth Development Delegates in the Arab Region Program concludes

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The first cohort of Youth Development Delegates in the Arab Region program has demonstrated exceptional agility and adaptability, turning the challenge of COVID-19 into an opportunity for learning and encouraging wider engagement by young people in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals in their countries, according to the first annual report of the Youth Development Delegates in the Arab Region Program, issued today in Abu Dhabi.ة

Sponsored by the Arab Youth Center (AYC) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Arab States, the program which started in 2020, engaged 11 youth delegates in 10 Arab countries in a yearlong leadership development experience. Throughout the year, the delegates learned how development assistance activities are conducted on the ground and worked closely with local development agencies and organizations

“The program gave me an in-depth understanding of how youth can unleash their potential to become a driving force for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Ahmed Buasallay, Youth Development Delegate from Bahrain.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNDP offices where the youth development delegates worked, adapted to flexible and remote work modalities. The challenge was turned into an opportunity through the adaptability and creativity that the delegates showed throughout the year. The first annual report of the program summarizes their achievements across target areas: getting acquainted with UNDP’s work in youth development field, enhancing their personal and leadership skills as well as capacities to tackle development challenges in their countries, connecting with UNDP decision making, and compiling portfolios of youth achievements and innovation at country level.

Collaborating with UNDP’s Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), the report records that through their activities under the program, the youth delegates engaged over 9,000 young people in online and offline training sessions, webinars and awareness raising activities. Online social media outreach, including regional social media campaigns, have garnered more than 500,000 views across the Arab region. Delegates also worked in cooperation with more than 50 companies, institutions, and organizations in the youth development sector.

The first cohort of delegates assisted UNDP in managing initiatives focusing on youth, peace, and economic and social development in their respective countries. Through their work, the 11 delegates gained practical experience and insight into UNDP’s modes of operation to support national and regional efforts to eradicate poverty, improve living standards, and promote resilience and sustainable development.

“I had the opportunity to work with creative, passionate and innovative youth delegates from across the region,” commented Aya Albitar, Youth Development Delegate from Syria. “This has had a major impact on my professional and personal skills. It also allowed me to expand my network of contacts.”

In addition to their involvement in national events in their countries, the delegates participated in regional events that brought together countries represented in the program. These included celebrating International Youth Day, which made more than 140,000 impressions through social media platforms; live events; supporting organizing the YLP-6 Regional Forum; and implementing the Hope campaign that raised awareness about the importance of mental health and positive thinking for young people through social media.

The report outlines the 2021 plans of the Youth Development Delegates program, which include supporting a new approach to youth leadership development under YLP-7, organizing virtual events, webinars and panel discussions to encourage greater youth engagement in development across the region, and stepping up local and regional cooperation with partners and decision makers in the development sphere.

About AYC:

AYC was established to realize the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to empower young Arabs and address their needs.

The Center offers a unique platform to develop youth capabilities and support innovation and creativity among youth. AYC implements purposeful initiatives across diverse sectors, in addition, it conducts research on young Arabs to help decision-makers shape policies that enable their progress.

Learn more at Arabyouthcenter.org or follow us at @arabyouthcenter.

About UNDP:

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.