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Achieving Sustainable Development through Youth Activism


New York, 20 April 2022 (TDI): Speaking on Youth Activism, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that the participation of young people has been “pushing the world forward; we have seen powerful demonstrations of youth commitment to equality, climate action, and human rights”. These remarks were delivered by the UN High Commissioner on the first day of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s annual Youth Forum. She implied that the world can achieve sustainable development through youth activism.

While talking about the structural barriers faced by youth worldwide; UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wicramanayake said that participation by youth is hindered by structural, legal, and financial barriers and stereotypes. “Although young people will inherit all the repercussions of the decisions made today, only 3% of the world’s parliamentarians are below the age of 30”, she added.

Covid-19 and Youth Activism

UN experts organized two-day virtual meetings for youth leaders, activists, and Government officials worldwide under the theme Covid-19 recovery: Youth taking action for a sustainable future. The meeting concluded that the vision of the youth is vital and must be considered while planning a post-Covid-19 future.

While sharing the impacts of Covid-19 on the education and training of the students; the High Commissioner shared that one in eight students have been left without any access to education and training. Similarly, school closure due to Covid-19 restrictions has also resulted in an increase in the rate of child marriage, gender-based violence, and early pregnancy.  She implied that youth has “tremendous potential” to help the world recover.

Call for innovation strategies

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed  commended world leaders to address the need for prototypes and design models for “getting back to a better place.” She referred to young people as digital nomads who can help to shape the world’s future trajectory.

Youth legitimately deserve to have a seat at the table. These remarks were delivered by ECOSOC President Collen V. Kelapile. He stressed integrating youth activism into the sustainable development agenda for a better future.

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