Hundreds of young people from most of the 192 Member States of the United Nations pledged their commitment today to a raft of development goals, including eradicating poverty and hunger, at the end of the landmark Global Youth Leadership Summit.
The three days of discussions, interactive debate, concerts and seminars, at UN Headquarters in New York focused on how best to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in particular used the themes of sport and culture to encourage young people to get more involved in the global battle for development.
“Sport can be a powerful tool for efforts to achieve the MDGs and I hope all of you will seek ways to take advantage of that potential,” said Adolf Ogi, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace in his closing statement.
The MDGs are an ambitious series of targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, seeking to reduce extreme poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, lack of access to education, as well as other social ills all by 2015, and the youth delegates – comprising a young woman and young man from each Member State – will now be spokespersons for these goals in their countries.
The Summit Declaration, which the delegates said should be available in a few days time, also calls on Governments to fulfil their commitments to achieving the MDGs by the target date.
The UN New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace organized the Summit and its Director Djibril Diallo highlighted the private sector in supporting the event, as well as emphasizing the role that will now be played by the youth leaders in promoting the development message.
“As Youth Spokespersons, the delegates will mobilize other young people and public and private sector partners in their countries to accelerate progress towards the goals,” said Mr. Diallo.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the Summit with a speech on Sunday, before the delegates focused on combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, knowledge sharing, education, gender equality and a host of other development issues during the next three days.