Barranquilla’s young voices for humanitarian action!

Youth consultation WHS Barranquilla, Colombia

July 2015

We anticipated that if many youth could not participate in this offline event, we will have their voice included here so we created a form in which they could send us their thoughts. And it worked!

For the offline consultation event we had the participation of students of International relations, voluntary civil defense members and NGO participants such as one member of the Club Botánico Ambiental.

We presented to the participants the road to the World Humanitarian Summit specially because one of our members attended the Sendai DRR Conference, so our involvement in the topic was essential to provide an insight to participants. They made a set of recommendations/proposals/suggestions according to the four main questions to be addressed in the WHS. Moreover they were also engaged in meaningful dialogues about the nexus between environment- water- climate and humanitarian response.

-Reducing Vulnerability and Managing Risk

Youth recognized that we are highly vulnerable to climate change and disasters so we need to embrace resilience and learn from other’s countries experiences dealing with disasters. Some areas of Colombia are still recovering from flooding originated by climate variations. Because of that, we need to have a focus in prevention and rapid response. Participants also stated that it is important to raise awareness using education and communication to prevent people to be affected of climate disasters.

The members of the civil defense suggested that we have to reaffirm and materialize internal laws due to the corruption that is affecting the way we are tackling humanitarian response.

Participants also discussed about the role of media to estimate risk and vulnerability and give accurate information to people. Children and youth were recognized as partners for resilience.

Solution: To included risk management with climate change in formal education.

-Humanitarian Effectiveness

For the humanitarian action to be effective participants agreed that this have to be understood as a collective action. This definition suggest to include all stakeholders to have a broaden approach to humanitarian issues and of course, benefit more people. We recommend to include a gender focus in the understanding of humanitarian action especially in societies where women are the majority of the population.

-Challenges of youth humanitarian action

Participants were the majority youth even there were older people involved and the intergenerational dialogue was fantastic for this topic. We heard comments such as “We are always youth no matter the age” “We aim high as youth and we do humanitarian action because it is our passion”

Definitely the lack of resources to involve more youth into our humanitarian and DRR work. The lack of adequate technologies make us more vulnerable besides our climate vulnerability so we need to strengthen the cooperation in a national level to work with NGOs, the local government, international agencies, among others to improve humanitarian action in our communities.

-Role of Youth

Our role is essential. We have the obligation and responsibility to offer our service and capacities for humanitarian issues. We, the youth, have the courage to believe everything is possible so participants were excited to start working together at a local level and we decided to tackle humanitarian action in the city and also work together to improve our effectiveness. We also agreed to continue the WHS process and to make a humanitarian talks until 2016.




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