Youth speaking out about the future they want during UN High-level political forum on sustainable development

“Despite some progress, young people have continuously been left behind and denied the opportunities they need to reach their full potential.” These were the initial remarks delivered by Ms. Esther Agbarakwe, Youth Representative and Co-founder of the Youth Climate Coalition in Nigeria, on behalf of 1.8 billion young people during the Ministerial meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which kicked off earlier today. The HLPF is the main United Nations platform dealing with sustainable development.

“Young people are always among the first to pay the price in any conflict. They are the ones that are manipulated and exploited in wars around the world. Yet they are rarely consulted when it comes to peacebuilding efforts,” Ms. Agbarakwe continued. Referring to the Youth Forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), held at the UN on 2-3 June this year, she echoed other young people who pointed out that “The world we want is a world that wants us.”

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Following formal remarks by H.E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, Ambassador and President ECOSOC, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is now less than 550 days away. The Secretary-General urged Member States to make a final push for the MDGs and agree on an ambitious successor blueprint “that will leave no one behind.” H.E. John W. Ashe, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, reminded the audience that every member and section of society has a crucial role to play in helping us achieve sustainable development.

Opening of the Ministerial session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Opening of the Ministerial session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Ms. Agbarakwe encouraged Member States to take to heart the Global Youth Call, which represents a consensus among youth on concrete proposals and target areas for the post-2015 development agenda that “truly reflects the unified voice of young people.”. Following her remarks, Ms. Agbarakwe handed over a copy of the Global Youth Call to the ECOSOC President, the Secretary-General, and the President of the General Assembly.

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