The world’s youth took their rightful place in the arena of international development this week, as hundreds of young leaders gathered at UN headquarters in New York to participate in the annual Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) Youth Forum. ECOSOC President welcomed the young participants and repeated their energetic role in the transition from the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Unique opportunities and challenges: 1.8 billion people strong, this generation of youth is the largest the world has ever seen. They signify one quarter of the world’s population and 90 percent of them live in developing countries. They also face unique opportunities and challenges, from high unemployment rates and climate change, to specific human development threats such as Ebola and armed conflict.
New development agenda: The Youth Forum has been held at UN headquarters annually since 2012, providing a platform for youth to argue subjects most important to them. This year, the forum has extra momentum, as 2015 marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals, and the implementation of the new development agenda.
The Secretary-General placed three major priorities for the upcoming year: “To complete the Millennium Development Goals; to agree on transformative and universal actions for sustainable development; and to achieve a new, meaningful, universal climate agreement.”
As the United Nations moves forward into a year of action and a new development framework, the youth forum once again showed that young people are not only willing to help implement the sustainable development agenda, they are ready to stand for a sustainable, inclusive world of dignity for all
“Be an active global citizen,” “You may come from many different countries, but after all we are member of the same family, on this planet earth.”
- Ban Ki-moon