The Arab Youth Center (AYC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that 11 youth delegates from the Arab region have commenced their roles as Youth Development Delegates to support countries across the region to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Youth Delegates are the first cohort in a new initiative between AYC and UNDP which seeks to empower youth and support development progress across the Arab region.
Sponsored by the AYC, based in the United Arab Emirates, the first cohort of Delegates will work as staff members in support of UNDP offices in Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, State of Palestine, Somalia, Syria and Tunisia, as well as the UNDP Regional Hub in Amman, for one year.The Youth delegates are starting their work in a very challenging period, as the COVID19 pandemic sweeps across the world challenging countries to respond, plan for recovery and plan to prevent similar crises in the future. Prioritizing public health and safety, and in line with guidance from the World Health Organization, UNDP and local authorities, the programme launch was conducted virtually, and the delegates will initiate their activities through telecommuting arrangements implemented by UNDP until further notice.
“It is encouraging to witness this new generation of competent young leaders standing by ready to play an active and significant role in society and to drive the sustainable development agenda in their countries, said H.E Shamma Al Mazroui, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth, in the United Arab Emirates and the Vice-chair of AYC. “Youth under the age of 29 constitute almost two- thirds of the population in the Arab region. Their active engagement is imperative to enable us to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in our region.”
The Youth Development Delegates will engage directly on youth-focused development issues, as part of
UNDP’s programming in coordination with local, regional and international partners. The Programme also
gives the participants an opportunity to receive funding from AYC for innovative projects addressing the
development needs of youth, in collaboration with UNDP country offices, which will oversee the
implementation of these projects. “As UNDP, we believe that engaging young people as drivers of development solutions is pivotal for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and enhances the impact of our development support around the world,” said Sarah Poole, Officer-in-Charge of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States. “We thank the Arab Youth Center for sponsoring this exciting initiative, which will lead to fresh thinking at a time
when UNDP will be called upon to provide our best support for countries to recover from the vast impacts of
the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping an eye on the future and pathways to sustainable and inclusive
Policymakers engaged in youth issues across the region voiced support for the initiative, outlining their
expectations for the possible impacts of the programme in their respective countries. Speaking from Bahrain,
HE Ayman Tawfiq Almoayyad, Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs, affirmed the importance of the
programme’s implementation in his country. “Encouraging youth to assume leadership positions across
various fields of development is a main objective for the Kingdom of Bahrain,” he said. “We aim to employ
youth capabilities, while maximizing and sustaining the impact of their ideas for the present and future, in
line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty
the King for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, National Security Advisor, and Chairman of the Supreme
Council for Youth and Sports for Youth and Sports, to empower youth and foster young leaders that are
capable of driving forward the objectives of building and development.”
Speaking from Lebanon, Former Minister of State for Economic Empowerment of Women and Youth
Violette Khairallah Safadi emphasized the important gender dimension of youth development in her context.
“Lebanese youth and women are the force of change,” she said.” The objective of this program is to generate
an impact that transcends geographical borders and creates a roadmap that empowers Lebanese youth, while
helping them network with youth abroad for the benefit of all.”
His Excellency Saeed Al Nazari, Director General of Federal Youth Authority , Chief Strategy Officer at
Arab Youth Center and member of UAE’s National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals said:
"The mission of the members of the YDD Program will continue as ambassadors of the Sustainable
Development Goals 2030 in the Arab region even after this cohort is concluded. A year from now, they will
keep on empowering their peers as they become role models for youth who are aspiring to fulfil their
potential and actively contribute to fostering socio-economic development."
Delegates will also gain an opportunity to network widely with peers across the Arab States region through
biannual training sessions and periodic activities organized through the Youth Leadership Programme
(YLP). YLP has been implemented by the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States since 2015 in
collaboration with a wide array of partners. The Delegates programme will also play an important role in
strengthening coordination between UNDP and the AYC with a view to jointly engaging in development
initiatives across the Arab States region going forward.