Hack-a-thon (Part III) – Hack a New Urban Agenda (NUA)
The Hack-a-thon (Part III) – Hack a NUA! is a process under which the UN Habitat creates open opportunity for “Youth Taking Action to Implement and Monitor the New Urban Agenda”. This is a participatory approach that helps generate knowledge especially to drive the SDG11# about sustainable and Cities communities and therefore leading to smarter cities and /or Peace Cities with effective Place-making opportunities for people to enjoy the services the cities offer. Using Hack-earth -On, Richard Hamba spearheaded a team of representative members from Indonesia, Malaysia and India, China and Cambodia to generate a prototype of highly inclusive, safe and sustainable city demonstrating access and providing solutions to common urban communities focusing on renewable energy, waste management, water harvesting, Multiple mobility options, health service provision and better housing and human settlement.
Historically, youth have not been seen as a demographic important enough to engage with. Yet there has been a growing understanding and concern over the declining socio-economic situation of young people and their lack of livelihood opportunities. These youth often grow up in poverty and they are excluded from the economic, political, and social life of their countries, which in turn breeds disillusionment and hopelessness, violence, and upheaval. The Urban youth population in the developing world is growing at an explosive rate. Between 2000 and 2030, Africa’s urban population, which has a high percentage of youth, will grow from 294 million to 742 million (155%). Similarly an increase of youth population in Asia (94%), and Latin America’s (55%) will occur. Should these youth transition into adulthood happen in an environment that supports equal opportunities, representation in governance, education, and secure employment opportunities, then they can become the engine for the creation of the economic and social capital that is needed to jump-start development in many regions of the world. This demographic “youth bulge” can be a “demographic gift” to the countries where it is occurring. Even halving the world’s youth unemployment rate may add an estimated USD 2.2 and 3.5 trillion, or between 4.4 and 7.0%, to the global GDP.
Youth are not only demanding recognition, they are demonstrating their leadership through working at local, national and international levels to bring about positive change. A concrete example of their international leadership has been the appointment of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, a position advocated for by UN-Habitat’s Youth 21 initiative. At a local level youth have effected positive change through youth-led projects such as supported by the Urban Youth Fund in 172 cities and 66 countries in the developing world. Government at all levels have also been involved, such as through the establishment of the One Stop Youth Resource Centres by local government in four capital cities in East Africa.