Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

UN Secretary-General says youths should be granted a seat for development

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres says young people are on the frontlines of the struggle to build a better future, thus they should be granted a ‘seat at the table’ to lead the struggle for a better future.

Mr. Guterres said this in his message on Thursday to mark International Youth Day (IYD).

IYD is an awareness day designated by the UN globally celebrated on August 12 to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.

According to Mr. Guterres, youth are tackling inequalities in food security, biodiversity loss, threats to our environment, and much more.

And noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the “dire need for transformational change”, he upheld that young people must be full partners in that effort.

From gender equality to education and skills development, the top UN official highlighted that youth exhibit drive, creativity, and commitment.

“But young people cannot do it on their own. They need allies to make sure they are engaged, included, and understood,” he said.

Guided by the UN system-wide youth strategy, Youth2030, the Organisation is strengthening its work for and with young people worldwide.

“I urge everyone to guarantee young people a seat at the table as we build a world based on inclusive, fair, and sustainable development for all,” Mr. Guterres said.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Chief, Audrey Azoulay, quoted iconic New York author, poet, and musician, Patti Smith, to underscore her agency’s message that young people must act for themselves, asking: “Who can know the heart of youth but youth itself?”

Ms. Azoulay explained that UNESCO intended to explore the idea of a global grant system to finance research projects and grassroots action led by young people.

She’s convening an international conference on “the impact of the pandemic on young people” in September.

Youth are also at the heart of other agency initiatives, including the UNESCO Global Youth Community initiative, Youth UNESCO Climate Action Network, and various projects to prevent violent extremism.

“These are the best means to reach them in a relevant and useful way,” she said, inviting young people to continue to engage and for all of civil society to tap into the immense potential of this unique, productive, and incredibly capable group.

The newly-elected President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Collen Kelapile, said that the inclusion and involvement of youth in key activities is a top priority.

According to Mr. Kelapile, youth are changemakers and their contribution is essential to realizing the mandate of the Council.

The president said he was looking forward to hearing from youth around the world on how we could advance together with the Youth Agenda and implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDSGs).

Meanwhile, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth welcomed thousands of young people from across the globe as it kicked off the first-ever, all virtual Youth Lead Innovation Festival.

Over two days, participants will be discussing the importance of innovation and technology to achieve the SDGs and support COVID-19 recovery.

Despite facing multidimensional challenges in their day-to-day lives, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake said. “time and time again we see young people at the frontlines of developing new solutions and becoming pillars of their communities.

“Young people of today are digital natives that routinely contribute to the resilience of their communities, proposing innovative solutions, driving social progress, and inspiring transparent and inclusive political change,’’ she said.

(NAN)

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