World Urban Forum 9 GSEF Networking Session on the Youth

The ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) took place in Kulual Lumpur, Malaysia, on the theme “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. There were 22,000 participants from 165 countries and focused on the arrangements and actions for implementation 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 had organized the “Networking Event” at the WUF9 on the theme of “Youths are Change-makers and Drivers for the Sustainable Urban Development for Social Inclusion and Ending Poverty”. The GSEF Networking session was the only session, which treated the youth and SSE at the same time among the networking events. Also, it was the first follow-up action of the ‘1st Global Youth Camp for SSE’, which were organized by GSEF in August, 2017 in Korea.

There were five distinguished panelists, who came from India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Nepal with their own stories. Every single case is focused on how they deal with their issues based on the regions as young entrepreneurs of SSE. The details of the presentations are as below;

Firstly, Arian Lim from PhilSEN (Philippine Social Enterprise Network) introduced their main activities and the backgrounds of the organization. In the Philippines, more than 160,000 social enterprises, have been growing rapidly for the past two years. According to the PhilSEN’s research, the most benefitted objects through the social enterprises are local community, various types of organizations and women, etc. However, limited access to capital and funding were the biggest barriers to growth of social enterprises. Based on theses situations PhilSEN has been trying to improve the acknowledgment of social enterprises, therefore they have  been working on the legalization of supporting programs for social enterprises such as ‘PRESENT Bill’ or on the education programs like ‘CSO-SEED PROJECT’. Recently, they have made ‘Youth Social Economy Network (YSEN)’ to provide opportunities to youth-led groups for educating SSE acknowledges.

The second case was presented by Archana Chhetri from the ‘3 Sisters Adventure Trekking and Empowerment women of Nepal (EWN)’ which providing employment opportunities to socially and geographically disadvantaged women by involving them in the adventure tourism business and providing training and education programs for girls for their economic and social empowerment. These businesses are the results of consideration of the regional economic structures and culturally imposed constraints on women in Nepal. So, the case is establishing the good precedent to the youth who are contemplating the way to deal with their own regional issues and building the self-supporting economy.

The third case was ‘Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE)’ which has been trying to rebuild and heal the community through the art after the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975). In this context, ‘Phare Ponleu Selpak Association’, an NGO, was established to provide art education and social support for the war-stricken youth, and then the PPSE has been started in 2013 as a social enterprise support system for the NGOs. Those organizations have been targeting the vulnerable children, the youth and their families. Ultimately, assisting them to have the leverages for the professional skills to generate profits that in turn, fund the NGO school. Through this supporting structure, PPSE has been establishing the sustainable eco-system. According the 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 arts and culture.

Mayank Jain, a founder of Micro X Foundation, emphasized that people easily forget that all the people are part of the food system, and that means everybody are connected to the agriculture. In other words, consumers and producers cannot be separated in the food system, however, by contrast, cities and the rural areas are divided and that affects to the food quality and food security. Thus, one of the missions of the MicroX is integrating cities and rural areas by fixing the broken food system. Pursuing that goal means, towards the inclusive society they have been trying to develop sustainable economic values and farmer’s sustainability (especially through women’s empowerment). Also, they have created the programs such as replacing the empty urban space with green farms to make rediscovery of the value of the food and its system. In addition, they are trying to let the youth to grow as a leading group who reconnect the agrarian heritage and urban life.

As a last presenter, Fiki Satri introduced a BCCF(Bandung Creative City Forum) case. Indonesia has been suffering the disparity problems, which are casued by conflicts of ethnics, religious and races. On the other hand, there are many Indonesians and organizations have interested in problem-solving businesses and addressing local issues at the same time. In Bandung city, there are many active youth organizers working in the art, design field dealing with their local issues. The BCCF is a hub organization, formed by 45 creative communities and individuals. They collaborate with academia, business sector, community, government and media outlet to apply design thinking and urban acupuncture concepts to solve the local issues. Since 2015, the BCCF expanded its program through ICCN (Indonesia Creative Cities Network) and its network broadened its Impacts on 150 creative cities & regents in Indonesia.

After the enthusiastic presentations by the panelists, there were discussions about the difficulties of youth social economy entrepreneurs. Some raised the lack of awareness about social enterprise and building the trust among partners as young practitioners, and some emphasized the importance of making a balance between social values and economic profits. After the brief discussion, several questions were raised from the floor who had strong interests in the youth generation and the social economy. Many of the questions are from fellow young practitioners from civil society or private sector in Malaysia, South Africa, India, and Singapore. They asked about the way of working with developers for building the community, the measurement of the impact made by youth-led initiatives, preconditions for the success of the projects, the experiences of treating the trust issues and the relevance of social justice and the social entrepreneurship.

All participants and the panelists had discussed passionately the problems based on their regional situation and the youth problems. Questions from those 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 continue to network with other youth groups and share the values and visions of SSE in the manner we cooperate together throughout  WUF9.

* You could watch the whole session streaming at the GSEF Facebook page here: (                                                                                                                                                                                               

* For presentation slides, click the links as below

Bandung Creative City Forum (BCCF)

Micro X Foundation

Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE)

3 Sisters Adventure Trekking & Empowering Women of Nepal (EWN)

Philippine Social Enterprise Network