At this very moment, young people from around the world are gathered in San José, Costa Rica, to participate in the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, a platform for young people to lend their voice and influence decisions at the United Nations. Helping to shape the sustainable development agenda beyond 2015, over 3,000 young people are taking part in the conversation virtually, contributing their ideas from 43 hubs in 25 different countries using a unique crowd-sourcing platform and other social media channels, in addition to the 700 participants in San José.

Ahmad Alhendawi, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, is on site. Last night, Ahmad Alhendawi delivered a message from the Secretary-General himself:

“Young people, perhaps more than anyone, understand how ICTs can help make a difference in people’s lives. In recent years we have seen how youth-driven social media platforms can help disseminate ideas and generate momentum for change. Information technology has a growing role in connecting friends and families, teachers and students, doctors and patients, farmers, traders and markets.”

In his message, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that ICTs are increasingly important to the work of the UN, saying: “ICTs will play a central role in our efforts to enhance our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define and pursue a post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Modern communications technologies give us the power to accelerate progress on education, employment, poverty reduction, access to health care and the empowerment of disabled persons, women and youth. Over the past year, these new tools have enabled the UN to initiate an unprecedented global conversation on people’s aspirations for the coming decades. More than one million people from all regions and backgrounds contributed, half of whom were under 30 years old.”

These contributions, which will be published this week in a report entitled, ‘A Million Voices: the World We Want ,’ will provide guidance to the deliberations of the General Assembly later this month, Mr. Ban said.

The Envoy on Youth concluded: “This Summit can do the same. I hope it also invigorates your own commitment to using ICTs to enrich your lives and benefit your communities and the world.“

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