This day began with a 'working breakfast' meeting at the Swiss Mission, on the subject of mental health. It was well attended, with many national youth reps coming along to discuss the situation on this issue in their countries and think about ways to improve things. Although this isn't exactly my specialist subject, I was able to contribute what I knew and it was very interesting to learn about the situation in other countries. And free food never goes down badly!
After that there was preparation work to be done with Kristofer and Keeley for our side event, scheduled to take place at 1.15. We had a runthrough of what we were all going to say just to make sure everything would go smoothly in the actual event. We rehearsed it all in the room where it would happen and felt ready once that was done.
I ran into one of the staff members of the UN Youth Programme and he invited me and lots of other youth delegates to a press conference on the launch of the 2005 World Youth Report. But this wasn't the only topic: the UN press officer went through all the day's news and we then had presentations about the report. It was dissappointing to see that most of the journalists' questions were related to other matters, not the youth report, but it was good that young people had a strong presence anyway.
Media at the UN seems to be very entrenched and centralised. Reporters have offices in the main building and there is a large area with all the latest press releases available in different languages. There's also a dedicated radio station which operates on site - several youth reps have been interviewed and hopefully this will be valuable publicity.
The official launch of the report took place shortly afterwards in one of the big meeting rooms and consisted of a series of presentations on the youth issues which haunt mankind today, given by leading experts who had contributed to the report.
Next it was time for the real side event, entitled "Youth Participation and Citizenship: Governments Must Do More!". It went incredibly well, with over 70 people squeezing in to conference room number five. They had a series of speeches and presentations, first from two guest speakers and then the three of us. We presented the outcome of the consultation conducted with young people in the UK and used these findings to stimulate discussion in the working groups that followed. Attendees were split into three separate sections, each dealing with one cluster of the WPAY, and discussed the issues; the points raised were then converted into recommendations for action.
We were all incredibly happy with the event and how everything went. In the evening we had appropriate celebrations, at a reception for youth delegates taking place at the luxurious residence of Michael O'Neill, the UK's ECOSOC Counsellor. This was also well attended, with many youth reps and national Third Committee members enjoying a pleasant evening of wine and canapes. The UK's Mission staff and the three of us youth reps stayed later and it was great to be able to ask Michael about different aspects of his job.
We went back to the hotel quite late but I had a speech to work on for the next day so was awake for a while more. On the whole this was another great and productive day, especially the side event - we really couldn't have wished for it to go any better.