Three cities in one week! I just came back from my mission to Belgrade, Pristina and Addis Ababa with some exciting discussions.
At my first stop in Belgrade, I had the honor of meeting with the United Nations Country Team, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. I’m so proud of the UNCT’s tireless work with the Government to address issues affecting young people, and of their effort in the implementation of the #Youth2030 strategy. I’m also very happy to learn about the Serbian government’s – including the Ministry of Youth and Sports – amazing contributions to support the Youth Strategy in partnership with the UN agencies on the ground, and other amazing work with local youth organisations and communities.
I also had the chance to meet with the United Nations Association of Serbia and the Serbian Youth Delegates. They have so many great projects to create dialogue among young people and with the international community – thus enabling conversation and engagement for #Youth2030 and the #SDGs.
I then arrived in Pristina and started my day by meeting with the UN Mission in Kosovo, which works closely with local youth organisations in trust-building activities. I also met with the UN Kosovo Team and learnt about their fantastic work for young people from facilitating meaningful youth engagement, to capacity building and training. I provided recommendations based on my observations to improve youth programmes carried-out by the United Nations in Kosovo. I look very much forward to working together with them and implement #Youth2030!
The discussion with the authorities in Kosovo was also fruitful! Together we talked about issues affecting youth – such as education, employment, and gender equality – as well as the importance of involving young people in finding solutions and realising them.
I also had the pleasure of visiting Kamenica, a town East of Pristina, and met with young leaders of the Municipal Youth Action Council to learn about their cool initiatives and programmes in partnership with UN agencies. I felt so inspired to see young people unite regardless of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Respecting diversity is crucial to create meaningful dialogue and lead towards a harmonious future!
After completing my journey in Kosovo, I flew to Ethiopia to take part in the Pan-African Youth Forum organised by the African Union. I felt very humbled & inspired to hear the resilience of the young people I met during the Forum. I am always amazed by the wonderful recommendations fellow young people propose to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Africa is home to the force of 400 million young people. By investing on Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Empowerment – the crucial 4 Es – the African Union Youth Programme and the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative, endeavour to empower young people to unlock Africa’s potential.
During the Forum, I had the opportunity to meet with the recently appointed African Union Youth Envoy – my friend Aya Chebbi – together with the members of the AU Youth Advisory Panel. Under the same mission of empowering all youth, together we discussed plans to collaborate in the implementation of #Youth2030 and #1mBy2021 – and beyond!
Just after visiting the AU, I met with H.E Ms. Yalem Tsegaye, Ethiopia’s Minister of Women, Youth and Children. We spoke about the Ethiopian Government’s priorities with regards to young people, and the close collaboration with the United Nations.
Back at the United Nations, I met the UN Ethiopia Country Team, together with the Youth Advisory Panel. We discussed how the UN can better support youth and the government through innovative programmes to implement #Youth2030. There, I also had the chance to meet young beneficiaries from ILO programme, ILO gives psychological, educational & financial support to returned migrants who need to reintegrate. These young people showed me how they did not lose hope to start a new and better life, and I am truly humbled and inspired to hear their stories.
Finally I also had the chance to meet Dr. Vera Songwe the Executive Secretary of ECA. We had a fruitful discussion on the inclusion of young people in the regional follow-up and review process of #SDGs.
This journey has been wonderful. It initiated great conversations with government officials, local UN agencies, and – most importantly – young people. I look forward to all our future collaborations and continue to make #Youth2030 a reality.