ECOSOC Youth Forum
The ECOSOC Youth Forum took place in New York from April 23 to April 27 2023. The theme of this year was “Accelerating the COVID-19 recovery and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda with and for youth”.
As the first ECOSOC Youth Forum since the pandemic, this moment was critical to global youth participation in formal processes of the United Nations.
We supported the curation of several sessions, investing in strengthening the Unlock coalition, platforming youth leadership through the Next Generation Fellows, and amplifying the voices of young leaders around the world through the development of an Insights Paper – Key Takeaways from the Youth & the SDGs Online Consultation.
This Insights Paper consolidates the reflections and proposals from young people on the good practices, lessons learned, and ambitions for achieving the 2030 Development Agenda. These inputs surfaced through a three-week SparkBlue online consultation on Youth & SDGs supported by UN agencies and youth partners
The High level opening: #ECOSOCYF
YOUTH AS PIVOTAL AGENTS OF POSITIVE CHANGE FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY & SDG IMPLEMENTATION
Our Next Generation Fellow on Child Advocacy, Mai Sami Ahmed, opened the ECOSOC Youth Forum together with Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator and other young leaders. She emphasized the need for effective mechanisms for meaningful participation of children in the implementation of the SDGs.
The opening session also included remarks from Jevanic Henry, Next Generation Fellow 2022 and current young diplomat as an AOSIS Fellow.
“Children constitute more than 30% of the world’s population, yet their participation is still very much ad hoc. Children’s voices are not sufficiently heard, and their potential remains both under-recognized and underfunded.”
Mai Sami Ahmed – UN Foundation Next Generation Fellow for Children’s Rights
The Future Of Multilateralism
How Can it Better Cater for Young and Future Generations?
This side event gathered a co-chair of the High-level Advisory Board (HLAB), former Swedish Prime Minister H.E. Stefan Lövfen, UN Foundation Next Generation Fellow 2022 Ms. Poonam Ghimire who served on the HLAB, and young diplomats working at Member State Missions in New York and the UN, in an intergenerational dialogue.
The discussion focused on how the multilateral system can improve the way it thinks, plans and acts for young people and future generations.
“As long as one link in the chain is weak, the chain breaks. So is for multilateral governance. If there is inequality in some parts of the world, then the whole system is weak.”
Poonam Ghimire – UN Foundation Next Generation Fellow 2022
Young leaders lunch
UN Foundation Next Generation Fellows met with other young leaders including the Young Leaders for the SDGs, coordinated by the Office of the Secretary General Envoy on Youth, for an informal lunch. This engagement highlighted the importance of creating more informal spaces for young people to support the creation of community and support networks of young leaders.
STRENGTHENING TRUST OF YOUTH IN MULTILATERALISM
EXPLORING INTERGENERATIONAL AND PEER-TO-PEER DIALOGUE
This official session of the ECOSOC Youth Forum explored the intersection of multilateralism, ageism and gender issues, and examined how peer-to-peer and intergenerational exchanges can advance inclusion and meaningful participation of young people in efforts to address global issues.
It was moderated by UN Foundation Next Generation Fellow Jacob Ellis and Ms. Yande Banda, Generation Equality Adolescent Girl Leader, and included virtual speakers to allow for a more inclusive discussion.
Concept note and suggested readings on the topic available here.
“Lack of accountability limits the chances to achieve participatory, inclusive and intergenerational processes towards advancing the SDGs implementation and overall in different matters, even in contexts where there are policies and norms referred to include children and youth.”
Ms. Christy Marlene Wong Bobadilla, 28, Peru
Youth & the SDGs
Youth Insights and Recommendations in the Lead Up to the SDG Summit 2023
The session, organized by UN agencies (UNDP, UNFPA, DESA, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth) and partners (Major Group for Children and Youth and United Nations Foundation) offered a multi-stakeholder avenue in which key priorities and recommendations by youth were highlighted and discussed.
Chaired by the President of ECOSOC and co-facilitated by Inés Yábar and Asma Rouabhia, the session was divided into four segments with both young and senior leaders (including Anita Dywaba, Next Generation Fellow on Gender and Omer Jamal from Southern Voice).
“It’s not your job to agree with us, your job is to challenge and to keep showing up and to set the bar high. (…) change does not happen just by itself. It happens by activism and engagement. Your job is to demand better, not the status quo”
Fergal Mythen, Ambassador of Ireland to the United Nations and Co-facilitator of the 2023 SDG Summit Political Declaration
The Our Future Agenda team orchestrated a selection of meetings between the Next Generation Fellows and prominent leaders including H.E. Lachezara Stoeva, ECOSOC President; Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Global Communications; Fernando Andres Marani and Dijana Delaye from the President of the General Assembly’s office, and the co-facilitators teams of the SDG Summit and Summit of the Future.
In these meetings, Next Generation Fellows shared the Call For Action, calling for urgent global action on the 2030 Agenda with the ambition of amplifying the voices and efforts of young people as vital forces that shape the world today, tomorrow, and in the years to come. This was one of the steps urging leaders to engage young people as pioneers of SDG transformation and champions for the rights of future generations.
These stakeholders also shared their insights into the different processes encouraging young leaders to bring concrete proposals to each conversation, and also highlighting the link between the twin summits: SDG Summit and Summit of the Future.
Call for Action
Our call to action outlines major SDG priorities for young people. It provides practical recommendations for engaging young people in the SDG Summit and beyond. It also draws from the key findings from the 2023 ECOSOC Youth Forum SDG Summit Insights Paper and Our Future Agenda that contributed to the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda.