New York – As world leaders prepared for the opening of the UN General Assembly’s General Debate on September 19, more than 100 young leaders met with world leaders to discuss the role of youth engagement and leadership in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The event, co-hosted by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the Permanent Missions of Denmark and the United Arab Emirates to the UN, enabled a unique and lively exchange between young people, government, private sector and UN leaders. Among the participants were HE Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, and HE Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and the youngest government minister in the world.
The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, kicked off the event setting the tone for the roundtable discussions saying “we want to enable real conversations between young leaders and world leaders”. Through roundtable conversations, participants highlighted the importance of empowering young people and showcased examples of youth-led implementation efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. One of the young leaders pointed out that “youth are the source of innovation”, while another stressed that “we need to empower young people to make change themselves, not just tell them what to do”.