* This Editorial Note was initially published in EuroNGOs Newsletter – May edition *

Dear EuroNGOs Members and Partners,

As the Trump administration continues to impose drastic cuts in funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs, we, the civil society are gathering our thoughts and numbers to grasp what the impact could be and fight against such critical measures. Given the current context, with declining funding opportunities, growing opposition to human rights and shrinking space for civil society, we need to act together more than ever before, to stay strong and build resilient partnerships.

Young people are particularly impacted by the current challenging context. Despite our community’s joint efforts to reach out and engage young people in respecting and promoting human rights, the lack of sustainable, evidence-based information and education leads to youth being easily attracted by right-wing groups. Therefore, it is critical to enhance investments in youth-led and youth-serving organizations, to recognize and support young people as valuable stakeholders in counteracting the rise of populism – at the grassroots, regional and global level.  

It is with this in mind that EuroNGOs is preparing the 2017 conference on promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in a time of growing populism. To meaningfully engage young people in this year’s conference, we have taken several steps for facilitating their participation. We strongly encourage young people to:

  • Register to attend the conference – there is a reduced fee of 100 EUR for youth participants
  • Apply for financial support
  • Submit proposals for side events and creation hubs

A Youth Pre-Meeting will also be organized in the evening of the 26th of September, allowing young people to gather before the conference, network, share experiences and develop joint youth messages, while making sure diverse views are being represented and voiced out.

I am looking forward to bringing my knowledge, expertise and experience and to contributing to the creation of the space and means for young people to share their reflections, aspirations and ideas during the EuroNGOs conference.

It is my personal aim to ensure young people are engaged in a meaningful way in aspects concerning them, within the SRHR community and beyond. I am therefore excited to share my candidature for the UN Envoy on Youth role, that has been endorsed by 68 organizations and 185 individuals from all over the world. Knowing one person cannot represent young people in all their diversity, I am committed to advocate and work to ensure adequate support and platforms for meaningful youth representation and participation. Working in close partnerships with multiple stakeholders has been and will continue to be at the core of my work and I am looking forward to the upcoming EuroNGOs conference, as it is a key platform for convening and connecting!

Ana Rizescu, EuroNGOs Steering committee member and YouAct Executive Coordinator

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