ECOSOC Youth Forum 2018

IFMSA participated in ECOSOC Youth Forum 2018, which was held at the UN Headquarters in New York, from 30 to 31 January 2018. IFMSA was represented by the Vice President for External Affairs Batool Al-wahdani and the Liaison Officer for Human Rights and Peace Issues Marian Sedlak.

The seventh ECOSOC Youth Forum served as an opportunity for young people to share their perspectives and engage in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its review during the ECOSOC High-level Segment, including the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), which will be held in July 2018 under the themes “From global to local: supporting sustainable and resilient societies in urban and rural communities” and “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”, respectively.

The Forum participants were invited to frame their discussions on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) under review at the HLPF in 2018 around: (i) the need for ensuring young people’s individual resilience as members of society; (ii) building resilience in local communities; and (iii) how youth can contribute and benefit from the implementation of the six goals. This is particularly relevant as young people everywhere, especially those who live in poverty, particularly girls and young women, have historically been discriminated against, and continue to be left out, or poorly served, by development efforts.

Since 2012, the annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has become a platform through which young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, innovations, and solutions. The Forum, which has become one of the most institutionalized avenues for youth participation in the official UN processes, allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates and others to engage with the Member States, and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement.

The active and meaningful engagement of youth in the design, implementation, follow up and review of sustainable development goals and strategies, at the national, regional and global levels, has been repeatedly echoed as a top priority and crucial during the previous ECOSOC Youth Forums. This is particularly relevant as youth development is a cross-cutting issue of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

IFMSA supported the side event on ”Youth Consultation for the Global Compact for Migration”, which was organized by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth and partners. This event aimed to translate participants’ views and positions on migration into the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM). Active involvement in this side event feeds into our annual work plan of the Refugees’ and Migrants’ Rights and Health GEFA, in particular, its goal of advocacy and active participation in consultation processes. IFMSA Liaison Officer for Human Rights and Peace Issues Marian Sedlak facilitated a roundtable discussion in the side event, and IFMSA representatives in UN MGCY Global Focal Point on migration Roxanne Tajbakhsh and Hanna Jerndal were responsible for organizing the event. During the side event, IFMSA distributed a policy brief about Migration and Youth, which was prepared in collaboration with the World Health Students’ Alliance and reflected the opinions of the future health workforce and health students around the world about migration issues.

In addition, IFMSA participated in a plenary session, which addressed the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. IFMSA, represented by the Vice President for External Affairs Batool Al-wahdani, gave a statement about the role youth can play in the contribution towards reaching Universal Health Coverage by 2030 without financial hardship, and how they can actively advocate for the inclusion of mental health care in the Universal Health Coverage Agenda. IFMSA shared examples from its work on Mental Health, including the policy documents, mental health program, and the capacity building workshops.

IFMSA remains committed to actively involve and represent youth in the different UN processes. The ECOSOC Youth Forum is an important platform in which we can share our work, exchange expertise and reflect our opinions on important global matters.

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