“The Youth-nited Nations 2019”

ECOSOC Youth Forum 2019 or ”The Youth-nited Nations!’

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum 2019 took place on 8-9 April in United Nations Headquarters building in New York, USA. The main idea behind the event is to provide a platform for young leaders from around the world to engage in a dialogue among themselves and with United Nations Member States and to share ideas for advancing the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris Climate Agreement.

IFMSA was represented by the delegation composed of Marian Sedlak (IFMSA Vice-President for External Affairs, Slovakia), Ayilkin Çelik (AMSB-Bulgaria), Fatima Ali (SFGH UK) and Kiana Lebel (IFMSA Québec).

During the previous editions of the Forum the primary focus was established in line with the SDGs reviewed at that year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) – hence this year the Youth counterpart focused on the following Sustainable Development Goals:
● SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all;
● SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and
productive employment and decent work for all;
● SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries;
● SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
● SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;
● SDG17: Partnerships for the goals, which is being reviewed annually.

As IFMSA’s delegates we tried to get the best out of this event which was attended by more than 800 young people from all corners of the world. We had a chance to meet with a diverse range of people from high level government representatives, NGO representatives, to passionate and hardworking youth leaders working on the whole spectrum of Sustainable Development Goals. ECOSOC Youth Forum is a unique event where you can find peers
working on similar topics, enhance your network’s connections and foster collaborations to achieve your goals together.

We followed plenaries, parallel thematic sessions, regional breakouts and participated in discussions. IFMSA delivered a statement at the Interactive Roundtable: “Investing in Youth
Development: Financing and other Means of Implementation” featuring Ministers and other High-Level speakers and youth organization representatives – find it in this link.

Overall, this experience helped our delegates to understand better the roles and work of and within the UN system, including the positions of NGOs, Member States, UN agencies and all the relevant stakeholders. We have learned about various best practices of youth engagement avenues around the world and had a chance to meet with missions and youth delegates of our respective countries.
This meeting left us with hope, but also with the feeling that there is so much to do – and sometimes so little effort to meaningfully engage the future decision makers of the world, who are already leading the Sustainable Development agenda in many corners of the world. If we won’t finally understand that to be young is an advantage, not a burden; and that the energy, innovation, and passion have the ability to overcome indestructible obstacles – we will make little progress on allowing the SDGs to create the world which we want to see in 2030.
IFMSA’s delegation to ECOSOC Youth Forum 2019

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