Youth empowerment event in UN City: On our way to Nairobi

4 September 2019 – On our way to Nairobi: Empowering adolescents and youth to fulfil their rights. A consultative dialogue at UN City, Copenhagen, 9 September 2019 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.

In September, Save the Children Denmark is hosting the annual meeting of colleagues across the Save the Children International that work with youth empowerment and skills development. In collaboration with UNFPA Nordic Office we will use this occasion to host a dialogue between country, regional and global capacities from Save the Children and the Danish resource base. Policy and decision makers, NGOs, youth representatives and UN agencies based in Denmark are invited to discuss how to empower marginalized adolescents and youth – and girls in particular – to fulfil their rights. The topic of adolescent and youth rights is of critical importance as the world is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994.

Indeed, the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the Government of Denmark, and UNFPA will co-host a summit in Nairobi on 12-14 November to mark ICDP25. The purpose of the summit is to recommit to the ICPD agenda and to advance implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action as an important contribution to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the framework of Agenda 2030.

UNFPA Nordic Office and Save the Children Denmark are therefore pleased to invite interested stakeholders to a half day conference to discuss empowerment of adolescents and youth to fulfil their rights as a contribution to the consultative process leading up to the Nairobi Summit.

Location: UN City, Marmorvej 51, Copenhagen

When: Monday, 9 September, 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM

More specifically, the conference will look at:

  • Empowering adolescents and young girls – What does it take?
  • Creating change for young people with young people – What are the most effective ways to put youth led organizations in the driver’s seat?
  • Empowerment of adolescents and youth before, during and after humanitarian emergencies – What are challenges and opportunities across the humanitarian-development nexus?

The conference will aim to produce a set of key recommendations, to be presented to the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation as a contribution to the preparations for the summit as it relates to both content and approach.

RSVP. Please register your attendance on the following link, by September 6th at the latest to register your attendance in the conference.


12:00 – 12:45 Registration and light lunch

13:00 – 13:10 Opening of the conference by Ambassador Ib Petersen, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

13:10 – 13:20 Welcome to the UN building (UNFPA)

13:20 -13:50 Panel debate 1 Challenges and opportunities in empowering adolescents and young girls – what does it take?


Agnes Airo, Regional Youth Advisor East Africa, Save the Children

Jacqueline Bryld, International Director, Sex og Samfund

Marie My Warborg Larsen, Danish UN Youth Delegate, equality and SRHR

13:50 – 14:30 Panel debate 2 Creating change for young people with young people – What are the most effective ways to put youth led organizations in the driver’s seat?


Tchegoun Adebo Koba, Regional Youth Advisor West Africa, Save the Children

Thomas Rudebeck, Youth Advisor, Foreign Ministry Denmark

Anja Katrine Søndergaard, Danish UN Youth Delegate, equality and SRHR

Katja Højlund Christensen, Program Coordinator, Plan

14:30 – 15:00 Panel debate 3 Empowerment of adolescents and youths before, during and after humanitarian emergencies – What are challenges and opportunities across the humanitarian-development nexus?


Natalia Tapies, Regional Advisor Middle East, Save the Children

Obaidur Rahman, Global Youth Advisor, Save the Children

Rikke Enggaard Olsen, AGD & Protection Advisor, Danish Refugee Council

15:00 – 15:55 Reflections, questions and recommendations

15:55 – 16:00 Closing remarks


Save the Children is the world’s largest independent child rights organization and aims to ensure that all children survive, learn, and are protected. Save the Children also empowers deprived adolescents and youth across all contexts, through strengthening their resilience and life skills. The goal is to increase young people’s opportunities, chances of finding decent work, and contributing to society as positive change agents. As part of focusing on the most marginalized and vulnerable groups, Save the Children is further dedicated to ensuring girls’ access to education and preventing teenage pregnancies and child marriage.

UNFPA has adolescents and youth as key targets groups in its work to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. To ensure a safe, informed and empowered transition from childhood to adulthood, UNFPA works to give young people access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services; to end harmful practices including child marriage and female genital mutilation; and, in humanitarian settings, to also provide safe spaces for young girls in particular. Empowering youth to pursue education and eventually have jobs; to postpone childbearing to adulthood; and to be actively engaged as democratic agents of change can start a spiral of positive development.

The ICPD Programme of Action constituted a paradigm shift in how the global community viewed the interlinkages between population dynamics and development. It moved governments away from population control and towards a human-centered approach to development. The ICPD introduced a new narrative into the international development agenda, placing reproductive rights, i.e. the human right to decide whether, when and how many children to have, at its center. The ICPD Programme of Action included particular reference to the rights of adolescents and youth and recognized the special need to fulfil the reproductive rights of women and girls.

Yet, 25 years later, some 33,000 girls are still married every day, 3 million girls undergo female genital mutilation every year, and more than 800 maternal deaths occur every day; the majority in countries affected by humanitarian or fragile conditions. 1 in 4 women in developing countries, who would like to avoid pregnancy, are not protected by modern contraception. Marginalized, young girls are most at risk on all counts. Access to voluntary family planning, maternal health care and quality education are important ways to empower vulnerable women and young people, building resilience and making them better equipped to prepare for and respond to crises. Nevertheless, issues related to bodily autonomy remain controversial on the international scene as for instance exemplified by sexuality education not being included in the SDGs.

Fulfilling the rights of girls, enabling them to decide over their own bodies and empowering them to fulfill their potential are focus areas of UNFPA and Save the Children. Youth empowerment and sexual and reproductive health are central components in the Danish strategy for development cooperation and humanitarian action.