[youth] a privilege, you are handing them a right.” Speaking to the main theme of the Forum, Abraham added “Sustainable development is having the security, access, resources and tools to create new opportunities wherever you choose to call home.”
3. The Envoy on Youth opens the Forum in conversation with UN Deputy Secretary-General
The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, kicked off the Forum in a dialogue with UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. The conversation revolved around the Forum theme, ‘The role of youth in building sustainable and resilient urban and rural communities’, and how youth can engage in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
During the dialogue, Ms. Mohammed called upon member states to continue supporting young people at a country level and encouraged youth representatives to make noise and be courageous. Additionally, she said that young people had been “the loudest voice” in the ground-breaking My World survey, in which almost 10 million made their voices heard during the Post-2015 development agenda discussions that led to the adoption of the SDGs.
For her part, Ms. Wickramanayake stressed that “as young people, we bring solutions to the issues we identify.” Addressing the high-level official levels at the forum, she added “hear us and help us to scale up our initiatives, innovation and creativity.”
You can watch the full dialogue here
Photo Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
4. SDG Media Zone at the Forum
Running alongside the Forum on 30 and 31 January, the SDG Media Zone, hosted for the second year on the sidelines of the Forum, proofed again a bustling space for young people to exchange ideas, experiences and opinions and to showcase their efforts to achieve the SDGs. Streamed live and amplified across multiple social media channels, the Zone allowed young people in every corner of the world to engage and participate in the discussions at the Youth Forum.
The themes discussed ranged from employment, gender and education to migration, climate action and peace and security. One of the highlights was the panel about Women in Leadership at the United Nations with Ms. Mohammed; Ms. Wickramanayake; Jan Beagle, UN Under Secretary-General for Management; and Ursula Mueller, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
5. A strong impulse for youth empowerment and participation
Far from being only a point of convergence for young people and high-level officials, the ECOSOC Youth Forum is also a starting point for conversations about youth empowerment and participation taking place all year round. In fact, the Forum’s discussions will contribute to the High-level Political Forum in July 2018, the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. The President of ECOSOC, Marie Chatardová, highlighted in her closing remarks that “we move forward knowing that we must build on the achievement of the ECOSOC Youth Forum to strengthen the voice and meaningful participation of young people in building sustainable and resilient societies and contributing to our shared future”.