UN-HABITAT: World Urban Youth Assembly International Essay Competition

Theme “Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide”


The world urban population has grown at very high rates over the past two decades. According to the UN-HABITAT State of the World Cities Report 2008/2009, it is estimated that by the middle of the 21st century, half of the world’s population will be living in urban areas.

While the urban population in developed countries will remain unchanged in the next two decades, the urban populations in the developing world will more than double. The majority of city inhabitants in the developing world are overwhelmingly young people, and are the most affected by issues of poverty, exclusion, and unemployment, access to housing, water and sanitation.

The theme for this year’s UN-HABITAT World Urban Forum which is being held in Rio de Janeiro from 22 to 26 March, “The right to the City– bridging the urban divide” seeks to engage practitioners and policy makers to rethink the urban utopia and identifying the best practices and actions in every city, creating a better world where everyone can live with dignity, respect and citizenship.

Young people living in urban areas can play a significant role in addressing the challenges facing decision and policy makers planning for and managing cities. Young people from around the world participating in the World Urban Youth Assembly on 19 and 20 March will have an opportunity to deliberate and make recommendations to better inform the urban agenda.

UN-HABITAT invites youth from around the globe to participate in the World Urban Youth Assembly International Essay Competition to generate ideas and solutions to address youth challenges in cities.

Essay Theme: “Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide”

Write an essay about the youth challenges in cities today, using your city as an example, to address the following questions:

1. Identify and briefly present the challenges young people face in cities and provide solutions.
2. From a youth perspective, identify the underlying issues that prevent the full inclusion of youth in shaping the urban development agenda.
3. In your view, what can young people, working with their peers, community, local authorities and municipalities do to increase youth participation in urban planning and managing cities?

We encourage you to give personal experiences and practical solutions.

Essay Guidelines:

1. The International Essay Competition is open to all young people, students and non-students alike, between the ages of 18 and 32, from all countries of the world.
2. Essays should be typewritten and be no more than 1,000 words.
3. Essays must have a cover page indicating, essay title; name of author, postal address, telephone number, e-mail address(s), nationality, sex and age as of March 19, 2010.
4. All essays must be submitted by e-mail in PDF or MS Word format, with the cover page and essay sent together as one document in English to the essay competition mail: victoria.chebet@unhabitat.org and partners@unhabitat.org
5. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays will be disqualified.
6. Essays must be original and unpublished


Entries must be received by 28 February 2010 at victoria.chebet@unhabitat.org and partners@unhabitat.org

Awards: The following awards will be given respectively:

1st Prize: Roundtrip economy ticket to attend the World Urban Youth Forum (19 and 20 March) and World Urban Forum (22 to 26 March) in Brazil and one Netbook

2nd Prize: One High Density Camera

3rd Prize: One Digital Camera

Source: http://www.unhabitat.org/content.asp?typeid=19&catid=531&cid=7844