2017 Economic and Social Council Youth Forum

2017 Economic and Social Council Youth Forum
SIX OFFICIAL 30-Jan-2017 03:13:56
The 2017 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum on the theme, “the Role of Youth in Poverty Eradication and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World”.
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Speakers opening the two-day event stressed that the world’s 1.8 billion young people had been disproportionately affected by rising inequality brought about by rapid technological innovation, and continued to face unemployment, discrimination and exploitation. Many stressed that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — with its concrete targets and promise to leave no one behind — must serve as a unifying roadmap for all generations, in sharp contrast to the “bans and walls” proposed by some world leaders.

Council President Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe) said the broad participation in the Forum was a sure sign that people “have not given into despair and cynicism”. The 2030 Agenda was a blueprint for action “by and for the youth”, as it sought to achieve lasting prosperity while preserving the Earth for coming generations. He underlined a number of priorities in that context, including boosting investments in education, putting in place social safety nets and promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Secretary-General António Guterres, addressing the meeting via videoconference, issued a broad appeal to youth delegates gathered at the Forum as well as those following through social media from around the world: “We want to hear from you — tell us how the United Nations can see the world from your perspective and address your concerns.” Noting that his Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, was approaching the end of his term of office, he thanked him for four years of dedicated work in elevating youth issues on the global agenda.

“When youth are left out of the equation, the results speak for themselves,” said Mr. Alhendawi. Recalling that the 2007-2008 global economic crisis had resulted in high youth unemployment, protests, and finally, radicalization and violent extremism — raising questions about how to address young people’s concerns — he emphasized the need for everyone to do more for youth and to engage with them in candid discussions. Young people were central to everything the United Nations did, he added.

Echoing that sentiment, Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) said the Forum had become a dynamic, innovative and essential fixture on the United Nations calendar in just a few short years. Emphasizing the relevance of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change to the Forum’s current focus on poverty eradication, he said the best chance for achieving a sustainable way of life lay in ensuring that young people were fully engaged and empowered as innovators in those development processes.

Keynote speaker Trisha Shetty, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SheSays, representative of the Major Group for Children and Youth and member of the United Nations Young Leaders, declared: “We must be acutely aware that every minute we are losing young lives to violence and discrimination.” Noting that the 2030 Agenda offered a holistic road map forward — in contrast to bans and walls — she said the 17 Sustainable Development Goals should also serve as a template for young people to demand accountability from their Governments.

Hisham Bin Mohammed Al-Jowder, Minister for Youth and Sport Affairs of Bahrain, also delivered a keynote address, stressing that young people’s “enthusiasm, dynamism and drive” must not be wasted. Recalling that their hopes and ambitions had been instrumental in designing the Goals, he said it was now crucial to create young leaders in fields ranging from science to sports and music to social work
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UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
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