Young people discuss sustainable development at ECOSOC Youth Forum
The Youth Forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) gathered young people from around the world to discuss the role of youth in the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York.
Held on February 1-2, the Forum aimed to be a platform for youth to engage in dialogue with Member States and contribute to policy formulation on global economic, social and environmental issues. The meeting also saw the launch of a UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.
The European Youth Forum was invited to lead and moderate the regional breakout session for “Europe, North America and other States”, considering the challenges young people face in these regions and the relevance of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development for them. The session saw strong agreement of the need to fully implement the 2030 Agenda in Europe, where the linkages between economic, social and environmental development are often ignored and multiple urgent crises dominate the political agenda.
Most of the people attending the session saw youth participation as the most important challenge in this region. The participants also recommended inclusion of the 2030 Agenda in school curricula.
Throughout the ECOSOC Forum, the European Youth Forum highlighted that the primary responsibility for implementation of the 2030 Agenda rests with governments, not with young people. Yet young people and youth organisations have a key role in relation to the translation of the Agenda into national policies and holding governments to account. This should include improved partnership between governments and youth-led structures.
The same holds true for the ECOSOC Youth Forum itself. Despite constant improvement of the Forum, now held for the fifth time, lack of funding for youth participants meant that few representatives of youth organisations could attend. The majority of the youth participants were students from universities in the New York area. The Forum’s aim to be a space for dialogue between youth and Member States has also not yet been achieved. Many Member States participated only in the opening and closing plenary sessions or did not participate at all.
Programme, concept note and other documents for the ECOSOC Youth Forum are available here
Statement of Ambassador Oh Joon, ECOSOC President here
Recordings of the ECOSOC Youth Forum plenary sessions here and here