Youth views placed front and centre at UN Day Dialogue
25 October 2022
BEIJING, 25 October – As part of celebrations for the 77th United Nations Day, the United Nations in China convened the “Dialogue on Youth Solidarity and Engagement to Accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” yesterday. Celebrated every year, UN Day marks the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force, offering an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm the purposes and principles of the Organization.
The UN in China, in collaboration with the All-China Youth Federation and Center for China and Globalization, used the occasion to create a space that puts youth at the centre, to share their hopes and aspirations for the future, while underscoring the importance of intergenerational solidarity in realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving the SDGs.
The youth-led Dialogue, in part, focused on how digital technologies can help deliver on the key commitments outlined in the SDGs, while highlighting the innovative work of related youth-led organizations working in the public interest. More than 160 participants attended the event in person and online, including youth representatives from several regions of the globe, representatives from the international community in China, the Host Government, and development partners with a mandate on youth engagement and empowerment.
Mr. Fu Zhenbang, Vice President of the All-China Youth Federation, shared opening remarks, noting: “The emergence of digital tools and platforms provides a convenient path for young people to participate in rural revitalization, act on environmental protection and help vulnerable groups, but also brings new challenges. We look forward to working with the UN system to help youth better adapt to the digital age and digital technologies.”
Youth from across the globe, as part of the Youth Leaders for the SDGs group, kicked off the event with flash presentations and offered their perspectives on solutions that cross the digital divide and ensure a youth voice in emerging technologies that shape a better future and address pressing issues, including in the areas of accessible education, decent work, and growing misinformation.
Presentations were followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with Chinese youth who have been leaders in their respective fields in developing technologies that help accelerate progress toward achievement of the SDGs, including in the areas of climate change, gender equality, and ending hunger, among others. Panellists emphasized the need to harness emerging innovations in a manner that addresses global challenges while taking care to mitigate potential consequences for vulnerable groups, in order to Leave No One Behind.
Mr. Zhao Chen, UNICEF Youth Advocate on digital accessibility and inclusion, said to the audience: “I am visually impaired. I am aware of the concerns of people with disabilities, and I understand what kind of supports are in need. From my experience working for the social community, I still see issues to be addressed, and I hope that more efforts can be made so that society can see the challenges faced by people with disabilities, and treat us as regular members of the society.”
The event concluded with an interactive fair featuring the work of organizations working for and with youth across a number of the SDGs. Participating organizations used the opportunity to present their work, share relevant publishing material, and connect with attendees and other like-minded groups.
Dr. Mabel Lv Miao, Co-Founder and Secretary-General of the Center of China and Globalization, said, “As the UN Secretary-General mentioned, the UN is the product of hope. Young people are also the hope of humanity. So today should serve as a lesson for us to learn about how we can unite and engage with more young people, and the importance of solidarity in accelerating the SDGs.”
In his closing remarks, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China, said, “Youth are the torchbearers of a sustainable future, but to accomplish the daunting task of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all 17 SDGs, we must all come together, overcome age-related barriers, and foster intergenerational solidarity to promote our common agenda. We can only ‘build back better’ when we leverage all generations’ knowledge and strengths.”
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Louise Xi LI, Head of Communications, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in China
Tel: +8610-85320725, Email: email@example.com