GSEF Networking Session on the Youth @ World Urban Forum 9

11 Feb, 2018
The ninth edition of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the theme of Cities 2030 – Cities For All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda. WUF9 was the first follow-up forum to monitor the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), which was newly adopted at the Habitat lll conference in Quito (Ecuador) in 2016. The Forum was attended by 22,000 participants from 165 countries and focused on the arrangements and actions for implementing and emphasizing the importance of public, private and civil society cooperation in order to achieve the NUA and the Sustainable Development Goal 11, regarding inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities & Human settlement.
 


GSEF organized a networking session at the WUF9 on the theme “Youth are Change-makers and Drivers for the Sustainable Urban Development for Social Inclusion and Ending Poverty”. GSEF's session was the only networking event that addressed in a combined manner the topic of youth and SSE. Also, it was the first follow-up action of the ‘1st Global Youth Camp for SSE’, which was organized by GSEF in August 2017 in South Korea.

There were five distinguished panelists who came from India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Nepal bringing their own stories and experiences. Every single case was focused on how they deal with their region-focused issues as young entrepreneurs of SSE. 

Firstly, Arian Lim from the Philippine Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN) introduced the background of the organization and their main activities. For the past two years in the Philippines, more than 160,000 social enterprises have been growing rapidly. According to PhilSEN’s research, the actors that benefitted the most from social enterprises were local communities, various types of organizations and women, etc. However, limited access to capital and funding were the biggest barriers to growth for social enterprises. Based on these findings, PhilSEN has been trying to raise awareness of social enterprises and has been working on the legalization of support programs for social enterprises such as ‘PRESENT Bill’ and education programs like ‘CSO-SEED PROJECT’. Recently, they have established the ‘Youth Social Economy Network (YSEN)’ to provide opportunities to youth-led groups to raise awareness of SSE.


The second case was presented by Archana Chhetri from 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking and Empowerment Women of Nepal (EWN) which provides employment opportunities to socially and geographically disadvantaged women by involving them in the adventure tourism business and providing training and education programs for girls to empower them socially and economically. These businesses are the result of the consideration of the regional economic structures and culturally imposed constraints on women in Nepal. This case establishes a good model for youth who are contemplating a way to deal with their own regional issues and building a self-supporting economy.


The third case was of Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE), which was established in 2013, has been trying to rebuild and heal the community through art after the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975). In this context, the Phare Ponleu Selpak Association, an NGO and social enterprise support system for other NGOs, provides art education and social support for war-stricken youth. These organizations have been helping vulnerable children, youth and their families, assisting them in developping their professional skills to generate profit that, in turn, fund the NGO school. Through this supportive structure, PPSE has been supporting a sustainable eco-system. According to Dara Huot, CEO of the PPSE, the social charter of PPSE also operates as a signpost to keep its mission as a social business. Moreover, it has been contributing to the revival of Cambodian art and culture.


Mayank Jain, a founder of Micro X Foundation, emphasized that people easily forget that everyone is part of the food system, and therefore everyone is connected to agriculture. In other words, consumers and producers cannot be separated in the food system. However, since cities and rural areas are divided, this has an effect on food quality and security. Thus, one of MicroX's missions is to integrate cities and rural areas by fixing this disconnected food system. In order to achieve this goal and shift towards an inclusive society, Micro X has been trying to develop sustainable economic values and farmer’s sustainability (especially through women’s empowerment). They have also created programs such as replacing empty urban spaces with green farms in order to rediscover the value of food and its system. In addition, they are trying to support youth as a leading group who can reconnect agrarian heritage and urban life.


As the last presenter, Fiki Satri introduced the case of Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF). Indonesia has been suffering problems of disparity caused by conflicts of ethnicity, religion and race. Due to this, there are many Indonesians and organizations who have been interested in businesses that solve these problems and address local issues at the same time. In Bandung city, there are many youth organizers working in the art and design field that actively deal with local issues. The BCCF is a hub organization formed by 45 creative communities and individuals. They collaborate with academia, the business sector, communities, governments and media outlets to apply design thinking and urban acupuncture concepts to solve local issues. Since 2015, the BCCF expanded its program through the Indonesia Creative Cities Network (ICCN) which allowed it to broaden its network and impact on 150 creative cities & regents in Indonesia.


Following these enthusiastic presentations by the panelists, discussions were held about the difficulties of youth social economy entrepreneurs. Some raised the issue of the lack of awareness about social enterprise and building trust among partners as young practitioners, while others emphasized the importance of making a balance between social values and economic profits. After this brief discussion, several questions were raised by audience members who had strong interests in the current youth generation and social economy. Many of the questions came from fellow young practitioners from the civil society or the private sector in Malaysia, South Africa, India, and Singapore. They asked about ways to work with developers for community building, the measurement of the impact made by youth-led initiatives, preconditions for the success of projects, experience in solving trust issues and the relevance of social justice and social entrepreneurship.

All participants and panelists discussed passionately about their region-specific youth problems. Questions from youth participants who were working in the field of youth in their respective local communities were very serious and particularly outstanding. We, GSEF, are going to pursue our networking efforts with other youth groups and keep sharing the values and visions of SSE with the same enthusiasm as we did during WUF9.

  • You can watch the whole session streaming on the GSEF Facebook page here
  • For presentation slides, click the links below