An international conference on sustainable development needs more than two days. Despite this, ICSD2015 laid out a fantastic agenda. H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, started the conference. Emerging as a resolute victor over the recent Ebola epidemic, she highlighted the importance of the SDGs for framing Liberia’s recovery. Irinia Bokova, Head of UNESCO, took the stage to emphasize the importance of education, SDG4,  for achieving the global goals. Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Agenda, called on all present - youth with tremendous creativity, passion, and talent - to act now in your local communities.

Achieving the SDGs will require efforts from everyone. Other sessions across the two days highlighted the importance of information communications technology (ICT) and finance in supporting new initiatives. The SDGs form an ambitious agenda. It was therefore fitting to close ICSD2015 with none other than H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda - perhaps the MDGs champion. He reminded us that, while progress is still to be made, we have learned a tremendous amount since adopting the MDGs in 2000. With the SDGs guiding countries around the world towards a long-term vision, there remains much to be hopeful of.

MOBILIZING GENERATION ZERO HUNGER (26 SEPTEMBER)

While the number of people suffering from hunger in developing nations has dropped by half since the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the 800 million people who are still malnourished worldwide are of a majority, children and youth. Thus the challenge of ending hunger by 2030 is one that requires the full mobilization and participation of young people. “Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger”, a high-level event held at the United Nations Headquarters, aims to do just that. Bringing together young leaders, entrepreneurs and activists together with policy makers, world leaders and celebrities, the event explored how young people can achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 of ending hunger, achieving food security, good nutrition, sustainable agriculture and combating food waste.

The event featured President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, Brazilian footballer and World Food Programme (WFP) ambassador Kaká, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and many more calling on youth to spearhead the movement to end hunger once and for all.

In its concluding remarks, Ugandan Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Victor Ochen emotionally recounted his experience living and surviving on one meal a day for over seven years, reminding the audience of the millions of young people around the world today that continue to suffer from hunger. In his address, he highlighted the importance of not only food security in achieving zero hunger, but also promoting justice, peace and human security.

 

SOCIAL GOOD SUMMIT (27-28 September 2015)

 

What type of world do you want to live in by the year 2030? That question is central to this year’s Social Good Summit, a two-day event exploring the importance of technology and new media in addressing the biggest challenges facing the world today, and paving the way for a better future in the next 15 years. It brought together a dynamic group of celebrities, leaders, grassroots activists and members of civil society to examine and discuss key issues, coinciding with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In order for the goals to succeed, they need to be famous. And with technology rapidly advancing before our eyes, it is now more important than ever for all members of the world to utilise everything it has to offer, to not only advocate for the achievement of the new ambitious goals, but also to develop the means of achieving them.

Throughout the two days, we heard from CEOs, actors, musicians, political figures and activists who gave their insight on how exactly technology can be used to create meaningful change - everything from social media as the first responder in times of crises, to important data collection tools for under-represented groups in society. These panels provided the audience with practical and purposeful ways to contribute to the goals, in a world that is growing increasingly impatient with inaction.

In its closing remarks, the Social Good Summit urged everyone not to “forget the stories that move us so much that appear at the top of our newsfeed drop to the bottom of our consciousness”, to “stand together and make a change” and bring our vision for 2030 to reality.

If you missed out, you can view full video coverage of the Social Good Summit 2015 here.

YOUTH GATEWAY LAUNCH

Queen Maxima from the Netherlands speaking about #entrepreneurship and #Youth4SDGs in event organized by the @UNYouthEnvoy

The Global Youth Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals ("Youth Gateway") was launched at the UN on September 29 in partnership among SDSN Youth, the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY).  The Youth Gateway “is a platform for young people globally to mobilize for take action on implementation of the BOLD new global development agenda! With technology today young people can leapfrog limitations of geography and resources by connecting people around the globe through a digital platform. The Youth Gateway will link together education, implementation and evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals ("SDGs") by youth and for youth. The Youth Gateway will facilitate connecting young people with opportunities to take action for contributing to global development, locally and internationally.”

During the event, the importance of investing in youth-led entrepreneurship was stressed by the speakers, with four talented young entrepreneurs showcasing their companies. SDSN Youth believes in the power of mission-driven entrepreneurship, and that youth-led businesses will play an important role in achieving the SDGs - and we are currently designing a project to support young entrepreneurs. More news coming soon, follow us to keep updated!