26 March 2013
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6564

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release


Key Messages, Recommendations from Economic and Social Council Youth Forum

 

to Be Shared with July Annual Ministerial Review in Geneva

 


With youth comprising almost 20 per cent of the global population and being among the most affected by global economic, social and environmental challenges, the United Nations Economic and Social Council will organize a youth forum at New York Headquarters to explore opportunities in today’s world for young people aged between 15 and 24 years.


Recognizing that young people are also willing to take responsibility for transforming their societies, the theme of the Economic and Social Council Youth Forum is “Shaping tomorrow’s innovators:  Leveraging science, technology, innovation and culture for today’s youth”.


The Forum will take place from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Conference Room 4 of the North Lawn Building, and its key messages and recommendations will be shared with Member States at the Economic and Social Council’s high-level session, scheduled for Geneva in July.


Part of the preparatory process for the 2013 Economic and Social Council Annual Ministerial Review, the Forum is organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), with the support of “New York Tech Meet Up”.


The Forum’s main goal is to provide a platform for youth to engage in dialogue with various stakeholders in order to explore possible methods for promoting global and sustainable development, building upon the potential of science, technology, innovation and culture.  Its sessions will focus on a range of issues, including girls and women in science and the creative economy, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global economy and a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings.  Some of the key issues include the role of culture in the pursuit of socially, economically and ecologically sustainable development, and addressing conflict resolution, urban violence, democracy, dialogue and employment.


Forum activities will include three sessions, respectively titled “Girls and Young Women in Science”, “Youth:  An Engine for Creative Economy”, and “Creating Buzz:  Using Social Media to Make Ideas Happen”.  A wrap-up session will focus on the role of development cooperation in promoting youth’s engagement in science, technology, innovation and culture.  The primary participants will be young people, youth representatives from Member States, students and young entrepreneurs with science and/or technology backgrounds; youth-led non-governmental organizations; representatives of youth networks, organizations and private sector entities; the academic community; and civil society groups engaged in science, technology and innovation, as well as culture.


The Forum will open with an address by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and a welcoming statement by Economic and Social Council President Néstor Osorio ( Colombia).  Participants will then hear an address by Adora Svitak, author, teacher, speaker, activist and World Food Programme (WFP) youth representative.  Speakers and moderators will include Mandë Holford, Co-founder of the World Association of Young Scientists and Assistant Professor at the City University of New York; Hasem Bajwa, CEO of De-DE; Barbara Birungi, founder of Women in Technology of Uganda and Manager of Hive Colab; Jorge Just of the Interactive Telecommunications Programme at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; Philip Thigo, co-founder of the INFONET programme in Kenya; Matt Mahan, CEO of Causes.com; Surendran Balachandran, campaigner at Change.org; and Zeenat Rahman, Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues at the United States Department of State.


The Forum will end with a closing keynote address by Wael Ghonim, Internet activist and computer engineer, and concluding statements by Ahmad Alhendawi, Envoy of the Secretary-General for Youth, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Council President Osorio.


More information and selected reading materials on the topic are available at http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/youth2013/.   For more information on the Youth Forum, please contact Paul Simon, tel.:  +1 917 367 5027 or e-mail:  simonp@un.org.


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For information media • not an official record