Youth are also technical experts!
Youth are experts in their own lived experience and can share perspectives on young people's innovation and interaction with digital technology. Yet, some young people are also thematic experts on digital technology, education, and innovation. They have experience that moves beyond simply a young person's perspective. Youth are able to show their concern and offer contributions to those older than them and also those younger than them. This is leadership. This is expertise. And this is something the youth are learning about: that they can share their technical expertise as it applies to the topic at large and as it applies to all people.
Professionalism of young people
There are skill sets that young people wield very easily - social media, online presence and digital diplomacy are some examples. Young people who show up in CSW spaces are professionals, well-read and well-versed on the issues, experiences at the grassroots, knowledgable in the geopolitical intricacies and skilled in showing diplomatic respect and wisdom. We especially saw these skills being put into practice during our Virtual Vienna Cafe sessions, where young people very effectively joined discussions with Member States about their priorities and recommendations related to the CSW67 priority theme.
Appropriate advocacy culture at the CSW
Skill sets around protest and disruption may work in grassroots, community, and local spaces, but they actually don't serve us, especially youth, within UN meetings. It can actually damage relationships with Member States and UN agencies, and risks closing spaces to civil society, not only for the youth, but for all civil society actors. We must do better in galvanizing youth and civil society for meaningful change within these UN spaces in a way that is respectful, diplomatic, and effective.
Watch the recording of NGO CSW/NY's April Monthly Meeting where the YLYP co-chairs hosted a conversation around youth engagement at the CSW67 and some of these reflections.