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The World Conference on Youth (WCY2014) kicked off in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from the 6 to the 10th of May, and brought together over 2,000 young people from 163 countries to discuss the role of youth in the post-2015 development framework.


UNFPA staff members from Sri Lankan and the Asia & Pacific Region participated in many different ways throughout the days of the conference.


The conference officially began with a spectacular inauguration ceremony full of colour, dance, music, and tradition, held at the MRICC in Hambantota. The opening ceremony was attended by high level UN officials like UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on Youth, Ahmad and President of the General Assembly, Dr. John Ashe


Regional Director of UNFPA Asia Pacific Ms. Noboku Horibe, spoke at the final plenary of the conference on the importance of placing youth in heart of the post-2105 framework. "We feel mainstreaming isn't enough; we need a standalone goal for youth in the post-2015 agenda" said Ms Horibe. She touched on the demographic dividend and spoke on the ways in which countries could reap the benefits of the demographic bonus through investments in youth. She also stated the fact that although the ICPD reveals that many countries do have youth policies in place, many of them are not implemented. "We must not relax once youth policies are made, we need to implement them" she urged.


Ms. Argentina Matavel, UNFPA Representative in Bangladesh speaking on the topic of ‘Youth with disabilities' urged young, able participants to speak on behalf of their fellow disabled youth. She encouraged the audience to help change the way society looks at people with disabilities, in order to appreciate them as part of the global diversity.


Speaking at a parallel event by UNFPA and Action Aid Mr. Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka said "Today's youth are faced with many challenges and urbanization is one of them". He placed much emphasis on reliable and unbiased access to public health services. 
Mr. Sibenaler also spoke on the topic of ‘Health' where he voiced the need for youth-friendly services, budgets, and laws to increase accessibility to health and sexual and reproductive services. He asked young people to respect cultural differences and build on cultural diversity in order to bring solutions to reproductive health challenges.


Dr. Marc Derveeuw, UNFPA Representative in Cambodia, also spoke on the same topic and asked young people to exercise caution with regard to use of mainstream media. "Media and Social Media are projecting skewed identities to young people and this needs to be addressed", he said, warning young people about the dramatic impact it could have on health and related issues.

UNFPA Programme Specialist on Gender in India, Ms. Dhanashri Brahme, spoke on the topic 'Gender Equality' to give participants insight into the needs of youth in India, in relation to gender based issues. She expressed the need for a standalone goal on gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda and emphasized on the need for a shift in global perspective to tackle the issues surrounding gender equality


Mr. Gamini Wanasekera, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Sri Lanka spoke on ‘Youth Rights' where he communicated that dignity is something young people have to fight for. "Youth must learn to speak the language of duty bearers, and engage professionally with them', he said if they are truly passionate about furthering the cause of youth rights.


AND FINALLY....after 3 days of intense negotiations, all regions, states, and bodies finally agreed upon the Colombo Declaration on Youth, which was officially adopted at the closing ceremony at the National Youth Services Council.


You may download a copy of the declaration here:

For more information on WCY2014 and its outcomes visit the website: