By Di Cao – Global Youth Advocate at the UN Millennium Campaign
Answering the United Nations Secretary-General’s call, MY World was developed with one clear goal in mind —to reach out to people all over the world— and ask them: “What would make your life better?” As an integral part of the UN’s “global conversation” initiative, MY World gave people across the world a platform and the tools to raise their voices and tell the United Nations what is important to them. By engaging 8.5 million people in the global survey, MY World has proven that people want to be involved in defining their government’s priorities, and they are already actively working to make change in their communities. It has also proven that governments are interested in what their people prioritize and are willing to integrate their opinions into their public planning.
(MY World Youth Ambassadors in Mexico City)
Mexico was responsible for 23% of the 8.5 million votes collected globally. The great success came from the massive mobilization of youth across the country, and in Mexico City in particular with the Mexico City Youth Institute. Mexico City had the highest number of people participate out of any city with 1.6 million votes. The city-wide initiative not only helped the government see priorities at the local government, setting the stage for the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but it also had a positive impact on the local policy making and funding decisions made by the Mexico City government.
(Mayor of Mexico City Dr. Miguel Ángel Mancera at the launch event of MY World Survey)
“The MY World survey recovers that democratic spirit of listening and taking into account the perspectives of young people who with their perseverance, talent and creativity have contributed to make of our city. The survey results allowed us to approach the priorities of 1.6 million people, it represents the most important youth public opinion consultation that has been realized in the country.”
——Miguel Ángel, Mayor of Mexico City
“MY World Mexico City Executive Report”
Recognizing this significant achievement, the UN Millennium Campaign and INJUVE DF launched the “MY World Mexico City Executive Report” on November 9th, 2015 at the UN Headquarters. INJUVE DF presented the report to the UN as well as the general public through live streaming. Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Director of INJUVE DF, shared the agency’s experiences in inspiring 3,000 youth ambassadors to collect millions of votes:
“Local, common people are receiving services from the government, therefore the government needs to know people’s priorities,” she said. “We inspired 3,000 youth ambassadors and created an educational program to teach them how to collect the votes; furthermore, we provided young ambassadors with small scholarships, which supported them to be completely devoted to the MY World survey for 3 months.”
(Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Mexico City Executive Report in UN Headquarters)
1.6 million voices had a great impact on the local policymaking. Although Mexico City offers universal healthcare, the result of MY World survey highlighted the need for greater mental health services for young people, causing INJUVE to investigate with a more robust survey, focusing on emotions. In response, the government now offers free services for emotional health care and risk reduction for young people. “It is a long lasting experience and inspiration of empowering youth for the future,” said Mitchell Toomey, the Director of the UNMC.
(Youth Ambassadors were collecting votes in Mexico City)
H.E. Mr. Zinsou, the Ambassador of Benin to the United Nations, joined the Executive report to celebrate 1.6 million Mexican voices. Ravi Karkara, the World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair, praised the survey of Mexico City as “an great example of how to ensure inclusiveness for people-centered policy”.
(L-R: Director of INJUVE DF Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations H.E.Mr. Jean-Francis R. Zinsou, Director of the UNMC Mitchell Toomey,World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair Ravi Karkara)
Phasing in the new SDGs, the upcoming MY World 2030 survey will move forward to a more customized and localized platform with continued monitoring of SDG progress. INJUVE DF proposed a specific survey for young people to provide empirical evidence to inform youth-related policies in capital cities across the world.