UN strongly believes in the mindset today's generation has in order to tackle some of the most challenging problems like poverty, proper sanitation and education for all.
The theme of the winter edition of the 2018 Youth Assembly was ‘Innovation and Collaboration for a Sustainable World’. Delegates from over 100 countries came together for one goal. This 3-day conference had multidimensional sessions where speakers from their respective areas of expertise made sure the youth heard from different perspectives. There were also workshops and training sessions held with activists and civil society groups to provide delegates entrepreneurial knowledge and guidance to pursue their own path towards sustainability.
The notable speakers consisted of President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly - H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, Ambassador and the permanent Representative of Austria to the UN - H.E. Mr Jan Kickert, Ambassador and the permanent Representative of Mongolia to the UN - H.E. Mr. Sukhbold Sukhee, Ambassador and deputy permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the UN - H.E. Mr. Richard Galbavy and Representative of the UN Secretary General and the head of UN office in Belgrade as well as Youth Assembly Honorary Chair H.E. Ms. Simona Mirela Miculescu. Ms. Miculescu summed up the outcome of the conference in one sentence, ‘The creativity and the imagination of youth clearly need to be nurtured, and occasions such as this one are wonderful because these youth are doing more than innovating – they are networking, and they are absorbing precious experiences that will inspire them.’. Every speaker focused on the fact that the biggest untapped resource in today’s fight for climate change and progress towards SDG’s is the youth. Unless and until the youth is involved and given the driver's seat, change will not take place at the speed we desire.
Talking to a few delegates at the event, I realized that there are a lot of amazing projects across the world. If there was a platform that could be established to connect these ideas, it would be very easy to implement them in different parts of the world. Stories mentioned by the delegates about their childhood in war affected countries brought tears to the eyes of thousands. They mentioned intricate details about their everyday life and people couldn’t even begin imagining how this must affect every aspect of their lives. Basic human rights was a dream for them. For others, getting potable and clean water was a dream. However, this led to new ideas and transformations and today people in Haiti are able to drink clean water, free from water borne diseases.
Overall, the conference was a great success and it sparked ideas among thousands. For others, it gave inspiration and for all the remaining ones, it struck a chord of empathy. One outcome was clear - unless we all unite together and lead our respective communities, sustainable future is a long way off. We need to empower today’s youth and make a visible difference in our societies. Taking the first step is the hardest. After that, it is following up on your vision. The youth are aboard, are you?