Guterres calls on young people: keep pushing, mobilize, ‘put your ideas on the table’


“Young people are leading the way in the fight against climate change, championing racial justice and gender equality…holding leaders accountable…[and] are at the forefront of our efforts to secure a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future for all,” Secretary-General António Guterres said at the second of a two-day forum on youth.

Under the theme Youth 2030: achieving the SDGs, he delivered a recorded video message to the annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) encouraging young people to “keep pushing; continue to mobilize; and to keep putting your ideas on the table.”

We have no time to lose – UN chief

“We have no time to lose”.

More needs to be done

Through its Youth Strategy, the UN is committed to working for and with young people.

Mr Guterres thanked Jayathma Wickramanayake, his Youth Envoy, along with UN entities and country teams, as well as youth organizations and member states for their efforts to ensure that “our actions are guided by the perspectives and energy of young people”.

“But we can and must do more,” he stressed, recalling that the UN Our common agenda The report proposes a set of recommendations to strengthen and deepen solidarity with young people and future generations while building a more networked, inclusive and effective multilateralism.

Education top

The UN chief informed the meeting of an upcoming summit on Transforming Education that will take place in September.

He encouraged participants to “fully and actively engage” in mobilizing political ambition, action, solutions and solidarity to transform education.

The summit will take stock of efforts to recover learning losses from the pandemic, reshape education systems for the future and revitalize national and global efforts to achieve the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.

Upgrading youth engagement

Another update shared by the Secretary General was the creation of a new UN Youth Office that will improve engagement with young people throughout the organization’s work.

“Meaningful, diverse and effective youth participation – within the United Nations and beyond – is essential to advancing human rights, tackling the climate crisis and achieving the sustainable development goals,” he concluded.

‘Save’ the planet

The Youth Envoy thanked the thousands of young people around the world who “led our conversations every step of the way” during the Youth Forum – despite numerous challenges and disproportionate impacts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

No need to cover it up – we live in a world full of crises and emergencies‘ said Mrs Wickramanayake.

In addition, the world remains on the wrong track in achieving the SDGs by 2030, she stressed, calling for efforts to “save” both the goals and the planet.

“We’ve heard over and over…the constant demands of young people to change the oppressive systems and structures that burden us, increase inequalities and trap us in a cycle of violence,” she said.

The Youth Envoy emphasized that many ideas, visions and solutions have been put forward in the past two days and urged participants not to simply “pat ourselves on the back and move on”, but instead use of the moment, to act and hold leaders accountable.

youth bridge

Sharifah Shakirah, founder and director of the Rohingya Women Development Network, said the 2030 Agenda has been launched to end poverty and pave the way for peace, prosperity and equality for all on a healthy planet.

However, “today we live in two different worlds”, she said, noting that in one privileged people are protected by their country, and in the other – exemplified by where she was born – children are forced to flee violence and persecution.

She described young people as the bridge between the two worlds, pointing out that, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five young people worldwide was experiencing limited access to education and one in four was dealing with it. with conflicts.

Now, in the context of the pandemic, young people are “keeping open communication with their communities”, including establishing grassroots organizations and providing assistance to others on the ground.

UN partners

Those sentiments were echoed by a series of UN officials, who praised the countless young people who have contributed at every level to both the Forum and the COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), welcomed the active contributions of young people, who personify the UN’s goal of “leaving no one behind.”

Meaningful engagement with young people is at the heart of DESA’s workincluding in action on climate change and financing for development, he said, adding that his department is always exploring new ways to engage with young people, such as through the UN Youth Delegates Program.


Youth volunteers in Jordan support their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

Take over the wheel

“You have rightly demanded to be in the driver’s seat when designing recovery efforts and to sit at the table when decisions are made that affect your own future,” said ECOSOC President Collen Vixen Kelapile.

After two challenging years of lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing, unequal treatment and the loss of livelihoods for millions, he noted that young people have shared their vision on how to get back on track to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs. .

Mr Kelapile stressed that the pandemic has affected young people the most and said it also revealed how their leadership, ingenuity and dedication can turn major crises into opportunities for a fairer, more inclusive and equitable future.

Against that background, he added that “there is no lack of good will, commitment and desire to act among you” and promised the UN solidarity for the future.

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