Happy New Year, 2019

Dear Friends,

This first year and a half, has been truly magnificent! It’s been filled with challenges, but also with opportunities and support from those who believe in the power of young people – both within and outside the UN.

In July 2017, I became the youngest member of the United Nations Senior Management Team. And one of the most memorable moments I lived in my life, was when I first met the Secretary-General as his Envoy on Youth. In that meeting, the Secretary-General asked me to misbehave, to be the trigger of change in the United Nations System and beyond. I want to thank the Secretary-General, António Guterres, for placing his trust in me and in my small but powerful office for leading this ambitious task.

This particular moment, inspired the greatest achievement of 2018. Launching Youth 2030, the first-ever United Nations Youth Strategy, brought to me unmeasurable emotion. The challenges of bringing together vastly different interests under a common roof are immense, but the importance and relevance young people should have in today’s world are even greater!

Today we are facing a critical time in history, with the world seeing the largest generation of young people ever – 1.8 billion. Most them live in developing countries where they tend to make up a large proportion of the population. In the least developed countries, the numbers will only continue to grow. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a problem. It’s rather a solution to the majority of the issues we face globally. Young people are change-makers, innovators and leaders. They have broken barriers, changed systems, brought peace, fought against climate change, and saved lives. Too often, they do this with little or no resources and no access to decision-making tables. Imagine what they could do, if they were fully empowered and given a seat at the table!

Read our Impact Report HERE.

Please take this report, not as a celebration of what my office and I have done for young people, but as yet another small step to support young people in realizing their full potential and go even beyond.

We still have a lot to do!

In hope and gratitude,

Youthfully,

 

Jayathma Wickramanayake

United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

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