RHRN Youth SRHR Advocates at the HLPF 2017

Members of the Right Here Right Now (RHRN) programme participated at the United Nations' High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York with one goal in mind: to amplify urgent calls for governments to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of all, including young women and girls, unmarried young, and young LGBTI persons.

#RightHereRightNow: Placing Young People’s SRHR at the Heart of #HLPF Debates

Young people make up 1.8 billion of the world’s population, yet they are often denied a space at the decision-making table. The Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Strategic Partnership wants to ensure that all young people have a platform to directly influence the decisions that affects their lives.

The United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) is among those platforms. The HLPF annually reviews the progress governments are making in delivering to the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now on its second year, #HLPF2017 took place in New York between 10 and 19 July. SDGs 3 (good health and well-being) and 5 (gender equality) were among the Goals reviewed this year.

During #HLPF2017, our global team of RHRN SRHR advocates sought to influence thematic review discussions and monitored the Voluntary National Review presentations of RHRN countries. 

Investing on Young People's Meaningful and Inclusive Participation

Led by Rutgers, RHRN co-organised a high-level roundtable discussion on teenage pregnancy, together with the governments of the Netherlands, Kenya and Ethiopia.  Young advocates and activists participated to ensure that the discussions were informed by the realities and experiences of young people. 

Meaningful and inclusive participation goes beyond "just being there". All members of the RHRN delegation were involved in earlier national- and regional-level review processes in preparation for the HLPF. RHRN consortium partner CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality — the only youth-led consortium member organisation within the strategic partnership — produced a set of instructive materials and guidance notes to prepare young SRHR advocates to engage in UN spaces. Because inter-governmental and multi-lateral processes such as the HLPF are politically-charged spaces with set protocols, CHOICE's development of tools makes these spaces more accessible and less intimidating.

The most recent of this series of instructive materials is the beginner's guide, titled, "So, You're Going to the UN! Start Advocating in New York." CHOICE also released factsheets on three relevant UN Processes:  the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Population and Development, and the Human Rights Council, to promote young people’s meaningful engagement in these spaces. CHOICE is also working on a new youth-friendly guide to UN language advocacy, for release in August 2017. 

Want to See More of What RHRN Did at the HLPF?

Two of RHRN member-organised side events were livestreamed, and our Twitter and Facebook accounts were at its liveliest. Below is a compilation of selected resources generated during the 8-day #HLPF2017 activities, which show our team’s efforts to take HLPF discussions closer to “home”.

In photo: Outgoing Dutch Youth Ambassador for SRHR, Sanne Thijssen shares youth perspectives on teenage pregnancy in the Netherlands (right); seated next to her, young panelist representing Ethiopia, Bitannia Lulu (photo by: Erik Fuller)