UN Photo/ Mark Garten
While it is often the case at High-Level events that young people speak last – if they even get a chance to speak at all – at the launch of Youth 2030 Batool Alwahdani, the youth speaker, spoke at the very beginning of the event, even preceding the United Nations Secretary-General. She kicked-off the event noting that “The new UN Youth Strategy is an investment in a better future for my generation. It establishes all possible means to support, enable and strengthen meaningful youth participation all over the world.”
In attendance of the event were 30 Heads of State and Government, over 130 Youth Representatives, over 40 CEOs from the Private Sector, among many others. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Social Media Influencer Lily Singh was also in attendance, along with Korean boy band BTS.
Commitments to the UN Youth Strategy were voiced throughout the event, with Denmark being the first partner to make a direct financial contribution towards its implementation. “If we want real change for the better, we need to ensure development not just for young people – but with and by young people,” said H.E. Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, as he spoke alongside Denmark’s Youth Delegate.
The event also featured key high-level speakers including, H.E. Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of General Assembly; H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; and H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. The event concluded with a powerful performance by poet, activist, and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Emtithal Mahmoud.
Watch the full launch event here.
Prior to the launch, Jayathma participated in a panel discussion on “Working with and for Young People,” at the SDG Media Zone. Also, in attendance were OSGEY partners: Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark; Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund; Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach Division for UN Department of Public Information; as well as two young leaders: Burak Doluay, Young Leader for the SDGs; and Miao Wang, Young Champion of the Earth for UN Environment. You can watch the panel discussion here.
MEETINGS, AND SO MUCH MORE…
On Tuesday, 25 September, Jayathma began her morning by participating in a live discussion on the United Nations’ Facebook page to talk about the launch of the UN Youth Strategy – which is aimed at putting young people at the heart of everything the UN does. Catch-up on the FB live here.
Following the FB Live, Jayathma traded in her traditional Sari for workout clothes to attend the Global Goals World Cup, where she played soccer for youth empowerment, gender equality, and climate change. The Global Goals World Cup aims to inspire young amateur athletes to become champions of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and drive progress and change in their communities. The SDG Young Leaders were also in attendance, along with Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, and other officials.
During these exciting events, Jayathma held several bilateral meetings to discuss the implementation of the UN Youth Strategy, and how to progress the global youth agenda.
One of Jayathma’s first meetings was with Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, the Secretary General’s Special Advisor for the Sahel, to discuss opportunities and challenges faced by young people in the Sahel region. She also had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, Foreign Minister’s Special Representative on Mediation of Finland, to discuss how to implement two United Nations Resolutions which are crucial for
the empowerment of young people – n. 2250 on youth representation in decision-making and n. 2419 for increasing the role of youth in negotiating and implementing peace agreements.
Further, the Envoy on Youth held a productive meeting with Mr. Nikolai Astrup – Minister of International Development in Norway – to discuss how to maximize digital cooperation, young people’s access to technology, and the participation of young people in the implementation, monitoring and review of the SDGs.