16 August 2016

Young People’s ‘Fresh Ideas’ Can Forge Solutions to Global Challenges, Secretary-General Tells International Leaders Assembly

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Edmond Mulet, Chef de Cabinet, to the ninth International Young Leaders Assembly, in New York today:

I am pleased to welcome all participants to the ninth International Young Leaders Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters.  I thank the Permanent Mission of Paraguay for bringing more than 1,000 young leaders to the United Nations.

Last September, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our global plan for people, the planet and prosperity.

As part of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known, you can help realize this transformative vision.  I count on your drive, idealism and fresh ideas to forge solutions to global challenges.

The United Nations is giving priority to working for and with young people.  I am proud to have appointed the first-ever Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, who is serving as a link between young people and the United Nations.

The United Nations is also rising to address the jobs challenge.  There are more than 70 million unemployed youth, and more than twice as many young workers living in a state of poverty.  In response, the UN system launched the Global Initiative for Decent Jobs for Youth earlier this year.  Last week, I also announced the appointment of a new Special Envoy for Youth Employment, former Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, who will work with my Youth Envoy, the International Labour Organization, and the rest of the UN system to respond to the youth unemployment challenge.

As visionaries, you have created some of the world’s most disruptive and innovative technologies.  As budding philanthropists, you have founded socially driven companies and organizations.  As entrepreneurs, you are not simply seeking jobs, you are creating them.  You have already changed the world as we know it and I am sure you can do even more in the future.

The United Nations stands with you.  Together, let us build a world that is more peaceful, prosperous and just for generations to come.

For information media. Not an official record.