Today, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) kicked off the third annual youth forum. Member States, youth organizations and youth leaders from around the world convened to join the continuing discussion about a new global agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under the theme ”#Youth2015: Realizing the Future They Want.”
“This is about your future – so it must be your agenda,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed.
The UN Secretary-General addressed participants of the forum by urging youth to become more active in their communities and in decision making processes. “We need your engagement more than ever before,” he stated. The Secretary-General continued by acknowledging the challenges young people today face globally, from health to unemployment, but he optimistically noted that young people have the power to create and seize opportunity.
The Forum opens as the United Nations and its Member States are working to craft a sustainable development agenda beyond 2015, the deadline for reaching the mainly anti-poverty targets set in 2000 when the MDGs were adopted. These negotiations must take into account that half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, which is why specific targets focused on youth should be integrated into the future development framework.
Day one began in the Trusteeship Council with a performance by Lisa Russell Spoken Word’s Artists. In addition to the Secretary-General’s address, remarks were delivered by the President of ECOSOC, H.E. Ambassador Martin Sajdik; the President of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. John. W. Ashe; the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi; and keynote addresses by Ms. Brittany Trilford, Activist and Youth Advisor with the CIVICUS Alliance, and Mr. Nik Hartley, CEO of Restless Development.