Participation & Governance

What’s happening in New York - Understanding the United Nations General Assembly

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The opening session of the 68th UN General Assembly kicks off in New York today, to be followed by 2 weeks of related events and discussions. For anyone feelingbamboozled by how itallworks and most importantly, keen to learn more aboutthe spaces andmechanismsavailablefor young people to make their contributions to these debates, then here’s abriefoverviewto help make sense of this huge process…

Source: The Lion and Sword
Source: The Lion and Sword

About the UNGA:

The main meeting (or ‘opening’) of the General Assembly takes place in September every year with a different thematic focus for the year ahead. This year the main focus is to review the Millennium Development Goals, and to flesh out the next steps for what will happen when these expire in 2015, namely the ‘post-2015’ development process.The General Assembly is the main policy-making and representative body of the United Nations. Comprising all193 Members of the UN, it provides a powerful forum for global (multi-lateral) discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.

Civil society are able to participate in the General Assembly in a few different ways:

  1. Formally, by joining one of the 9 Major Groups (representing the interests of different constituencies including indigenous people, women, business, etc) who are consulted and invited to make interventions and attend meetings. Youth contributions are generally made throughthe Major Group for Children and Youth
  2. Informally, by turning up and participating in the plethora of side events, campaigns, actions, advocacy opportunities and online communications that surrounds and targets the official meetings.

So, if you are going to be in New York and want to get involved in the main ‘youth’ focussed opportunities then make sure to:

  • Add your name to the list of youth organisations who are going to be in New York and share your contact details
  • Sign up to attend the Youth Blast! which is organised by the Major Group for Children and Youth, as thsi will be a great place to make connections and learn about how to engage with the main UN meetings
  • Make sure you’ve registered for any side events that you’d like to attend
  • Email us at Restless Development ( as we are trying to coordinate amongst youth groups and representatives to work together and share ideas!

And if you’re not going to be in New York but you’d like to keep track of events from home you can: