Young people must be the center of sustainable reconstruction after the Covid-19 pandemic

This two-day virtual forum is an opportunity for young people to share their views on how to transform the world into a more just and sustainable place and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a context of persistent crisis.

Countries around the world are still struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. As the situation evolves rapidly, the pandemic has affected the lives of young people in all regions, limiting their movements and severely affecting social and economic activity. This situation has had an unprecedented impact on health, education systems, the workforce and employment, among other challenges.

Under the motto “Rebuilding better from Covid-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the Forum will also review the progress made in the areas of quality education (SDG4). gender equality (ODS5), underwater life (ODS14), terrestrial life (ODS15) and partnerships for goals (ODS17).

© UNICEF / Naua

Young Jordanian volunteers help their communities during the Covid-19 crisis.

Especially vulnerable young people

Young people around the world are especially vulnerable to the long-term socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, with major disruptions in education, training and employment. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about 17% of young workers (18-24 years old) stopped working during Covid-19. Many young people have also faced food insecurity, while social isolation has led to a global mental health crisis.

The President of the Economic and Social Council, Collen Vixen Kelapire, stated in his opening speech that he is convinced “that the Sustainable Development Goals provide a roadmap for building sustainable, inclusive and prosperous societies and revitalizing the world of solidarity for in the 21st century “.

For him, more than ever, a sustainable future can only be built through the empowerment of young people and a meaningful commitment to them. “You rightly deserve to have a seat at the table when decisions are made about your future,” he added. “That is why we are meeting during these two days of the Youth Forum, convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council.”

Despite these challenges, young people continue to show resilience and agility through volunteering. According to the UN, more community-based, youth-led and intergenerational approaches are needed to meet the needs of young people.

“We are facing many crises today. Climate change, biodiversity loss, inequality, Covid-19, conflict, “said General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid.” If we are to make significant progress on any of these issues, and progress that is sustainable , which lasts for decades, then young people should be part of this process. They have to own it. ”

“Young people are our best hope for meeting the challenges facing the world and for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Whether it is the solution they offered during the Covid-19 pandemic or the many young people at the forefront of climate action, young people have shown that they have the solutions and the will to fight for the planet they will inhabit. for the world they will live. inherit, ”he added.

Climate activists in protest

© Greenpeace / Marie Jacquemin

Climate activists protest ‘Fridays For Future’ protest in London, UK.

Provide solutions

Due to the historical marginalization of young people in decision-making and leadership, it is necessary to amplify the voice of young people and better involve them in the decision-making process and better involve them in the implementation of actions that contribute to a best future for people and the planet.

Thus, for Amina Mohammed, UN Under-Secretary-General, young people must be at the forefront and center of reconstruction. For her, it really starts at the national level, “when we create and design plans to get back to a better world, the energy transitions, the digital transitions to close the gap, whatever it is, the program that is designed around the SDGs. “We need to make sure that young people are on the table now so that we can move forward.”

According to her, youth engagement and participation must go beyond symbolic exercises and checkboxes towards more equitable and sustainable youth-focused approaches.

Creating a better, fairer and more sustainable future

As a leading platform for young people to share their ideas globally, the forum allows representatives of youth-led and youth-led organizations and networks, youth advocates, and other youth actors to interact with states. members and explore ways to promote the development and development of young people. commitment.

During this Forum, participants will propose solutions to help young people overcome the enormous challenges they face, such as: the impacts of major conflicts around the world; the devastating economic, social, health and educational repercussions of Covid-19, and the need to strengthen its resilience to future crashes.

They will also engage in a dialogue on the different actions that Member States and other actors could take to rebuild Covid-19 in a way that advances the Sustainable Development Goals at the local, national and national, regional and global levels.

This forum will also discuss the role that young people can play in society in the implementation of global climate policies and actions aimed at and focused on young people.

Finally, participants will examine the development prospects and participation of young people in key areas such as decent work, economic security and social inclusion.

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