UN Adolescents and Youth Advisory Panel – 12 young people motivated to change the world
30 August 2022
In Moldova, youth comprise almost 30% of the general population, representing a driving force for a better, more sustainable future.
In order to better understand the priorities, challenges, and concerns of the youth in Moldova, the United Nations Country Team, under the guidance of UNFPA, UNICEF and Office of the Resident Coordinator, has created the UN Adolescents and Youth Advisory Panel (UN AYAP).
The Panel’s role includes facilitating dialogues between young people from Moldova and the United Nations, empowering young people to speak up and supporting the UN Country Team in integrating the wellbeing of youth into its sustainable development agenda.
Simon Springett, Resident Coordinator of UN Moldova welcomed the initiative, stating ”We wanted to offer more opportunities to young people to participate in the country’s development, especially in decision-making processes regarding their own future. In the end, they are the present but also the future of this country and what we decide today will affect them tomorrow.”
About 100 young boys and girls, motivated and curious to be part of the UN Moldova Team, expressed their intention to become a member of the first iteration of UN AYAP.
”We knew about the experience of Albania and of the colleagues from Ukraine, and we had a goal - to create a unite, diverse and motivated team of young persons that would speak up for the interests of youth and would create impact for all young people in Moldova.” Nigina Abaszada, Country Representative, UNFPA Moldova stated in reference to the recruiting process for the UN AYAP.
A cohort of 12 young people, composed of 5 boys and 7 girls, was selected to serve a two-year term in UN AYAP. They hail from different regions of the country, representing youth organizations that fight for the rights of ethnolinguistic minorities, underrepresented groups and vulnerable persons.
Sanda Erhan, the chair of UN AYAP noted, “We didn’t know what will come and how it will be, but I was certain that I wanted to know more about the UN and its activities in Moldova. At the same time, how we, the youth, could contribute more to the development of the country and wellbeing of young people. Not to mention it was an enormous opportunity to learn and take over from the experience and knowledge of the UN Team.”
Following their selection, the youth members journey with the UN started with getting to know each other and later being involved in different activities and events with the support of UN agencies.
In November 2021, members of UN AYAP participated in „Kids Takeover”, an initiative organized by UNICEF Moldova. Under this initiative, heads of the UN agencies handed over their positions for a day to one of the AYAP members. Through this, young people had the opportunity to learn more about how UN Country Team works, gaining valuable experience and knowledge.
” Today's youth have the power to contribute tremendously to the development of the country and create of a better future for everyone. Their desire to be a part of the change in the Republic of Moldova is amazing.” considers Maha Damaj, Country Representative of UNICEF Moldova.
”A full day of replacing the Resident Representative of UNDP Moldova was a very exciting and motivating experience. I managed to participate and lead different meetings and events. At the end of the day, I understood that any decision or action, no matter how small it may seem, helps build a better future for all of us.” tells Dumitrița Paladuță, member of the UN AYAP.
„SDGs in your school”
Being an ambitious group, UN AYAP has developed Action Plans for each year of their mandate, which includes a series of activities and awareness-raising campaigns to promote and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
”The importance of SDGs is undeniable, both for the protection of the environment as well as to ensure a sustainable development of our planet. Certainly, climate urgency is among the top priorities when speaking of SDGs. The Global Goals represent a true engagement of all state members to change completely the future of our home.” considers Valeriu Țurcanu, member of the UN AYAP.
One of AYAP’s biggest activities was the „SDGs in your school” campaign, which sought to raise awareness about SDGs among youth in schools. With support of UN Moldova, they organized over 30 lessons in seven schools across the country. Through this initiative, over 750 young people learned how they can contribute daily to the global goals while some of them realized there were doing this already.
Alina Munteanu, member of the UN AYAP, remarked on the “SDGs in your schools” campaign, stating that ”Young people and activists are among the most important persons to speak about achieving SDG and raise awareness about them in the community. They are the ones bringing innovative solutions to the problems encountered as well as communicating the most about SDGs.”
UN AYAP members support young refugees from Ukraine
In February 2022, over 400,000 persons fled the war in Ukraine, arriving at the Republic of Moldova to seek refuge. Almost 100,000 persons remained temporarily in the country, 96% of whom were women and children. With support from UNFPA, UN AYAP organized several tours of museums from Chisinau for young refugees from Ukraine, telling them about Moldovan culture and traditions and exchanging experience and knowledge. The Panel members will continue to support refugees from Ukraine through upcoming education and entertainment activities.
Integrating youth priorities
To integrate youth priorities into UN Moldova strategies, members of UN AYAP have actively participated in different consultations organized as part of developing the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023 – 2027, Common Country Analysis 2021 and other strategic document of UN agencies that are also aligned to the priorities of the Government.
”We are seeking to support young people to make their voice heard and one way to do this is to integrate youth priorities into our strategic goals, strengthen their abilities and knowledge about their rights and ensure their participation in decision making processes at local, national and international levels.” concluded Simon Springett.
AYAP members are elected through an open selection process for a two-year mandate. They are aged between 15-24 years and should represent youth organizations and networks from Moldova. .
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labour Organization
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women