New York, March 14, 2019 Youth leaders from no less than 100 countries of the world have urged their leaders to make strong commitments towards safeguarding and improving access to social protection for young women and girls.

The youth comprising of young women, also asked for their inclusion in shaping solutions that affect their lives, they spoke on Thursday at a side event during the 63 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), holding at the United Nations in New York.

The event titled “Take the Hot Seat: A High-level Intergenerational Dialogue” event was organised by UN Women, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth and Youth Partner Organisations.

They presented a set of “Common Minimum Standards” which emerged from the pre-CSW Youth Forum on March 9.

The youths posed questions to policy makers and Heads of States, on how they proposed to engage the youth in policy discussions, improve social protection and public services for survivors of violence.

They also posed questions on how they could ensure youth leadership in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

“We are here to ensure that our voices as young people are at the centre of conversations,” said Olaoluwa Abagun, founder of Girl Pride Circle, and moderator of the intergeneration dialogue.

The common minimum standards, which were generated through discussions with over 500 young people from all over the world, represent the united voice of youths in demanding young people’s access to universal, rights-based social protection, public services and gender-sensitive infrastructure.

Ms Geraldine Byrne-Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland and currently chairing the CSW, called on all governments not only to read the standards but use them for policy discussions and negotiations.

“Your right is the right to challenge, and you do that in the common minimum standards, and I am getting that message as chair,” said Byrne-Nason during her turn on the “hot seat”.

She encouraged youth participants to talk to their respective governments attending CSW63 and share the Minimum Standards with them before the final negotiations.

“Your voice is your power,” she added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Common Minimum Standards were; ensuring increased investment in social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, ensuring effective linkages and synergies.

They also include taking an integrated and holistic approach to social protection, as schemes are often short-term and change with political administrations, stifling progress.

The other standards are to ensure that social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure are universal, rights-based and fully provided for all young people regardless of gender, race, ethnic or social origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

As well as addressing the complexity of the challenges that young people face today and incorporate a gender transformative approach that actively seeks to disrupt unequal gender norms and power inequalities, making sure that no one is left behind.

edited by Sadiya Hamza