Young leaders from all over the world gathered this past April 8-9 at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss SDGs 4, 8, 10, 13, and 16. The Forum aimed to present young people’s opinions and recommendations in preparation for upcoming United Nations meetings such as the HLPF. It served as a platform to exchange ideas and best practices as well as shared concerns.
As remarked in the Presidential Statement, the ECOSOC Youth Forum presented 34 ministers, numerous high-officials, and over 1000 young people. It provided a space in which young people were represented, their voices heard, and their thoughts are taken into account. There is still a long road towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and young people are demanding firmer and more efficient compromises by their political leaders to advance in the 2030 Agenda. In this sense, the ECOSOC Youth Forum enabled them to directly address pressing issues and offer their unique and innovative perspectives.
Eleven members represented SDSN Youth and took a prominent role in the Forum. SDSN Youth members counted with two seats at the Trusteeship Council and were invited to several side-events. Also, Mohammed Subhan presented the SDSN Youth South Asia Report, a document that comprised the relevant actions of the network at TERI School of Advanced Studies in the implementation of the SDGs. The report drew special attention towards the various activities which encompassed the work of the SDSN-Youth carried out in different themes within the whole year. The themes ranged from gender equality to climate change and engaged active school students in understanding the various niche of the society which needs exposure, like education accessibility, water, and sanitation access, biodiversity and conservation playing a critical role in climate change and environmental changes, and so on. The team led by Mohammed Subhan has members of different versatilities and addresses the issues of sustainability through the proper channel each playing their own stronghold in them.
Isabel Pérez Dobarro and Borbala Bretus were speakers at the United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth Roundtable on SDG 4. Both SDSN Youth members shared the Global Schools Program, emphasizing on how the initiative provides access to quality education and Education for Sustainable Development resources. Isabel Pérez Dobarro reviewed the current research on the advantages of ESD and the need for new skills sets for the Future of Work, in particular systems thinking, a comprehensive approach, long-term vision, an interdisciplinary perspective, and social skills among others. Borbala Bretus talked about the importance of involving educational institutions and educators globally to the implementation of SDGs by bringing the goals into classrooms.
On April 7, Borbala Bretus, Mohammed Subhan, and Zoltan Tarnai participated in the Youth Blast organized by the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth at the UNFPA Headquarters. The meeting served as a preparation for the ECOSOC Youth Forum, informing the delegates about the UN system and the 2030 Agenda and training them in skills such as statement drafting, partnership building, and multi-stakeholder engagement. Isabel Pérez Dobarro served as a facilitator in one of these sessions.
Spanish TV network Antena 3 featured SDSN Youth members Isabel Perez Dobarro and Borbala Bretus in their Newscast. Both of them appear at the UNMGCY SDG 4 Roundtable where they had the opportunity to discuss the Global School Program as well as the new developments in Education for Sustainable Development. In an individual interview, Isabel Perez Dobarro highlighted the relevance of the ECOSOC Youth Forum as a space for the exchange of ideas and creation of solutions for youth. She pointed out the need for young people to actively participate in decision-making and have their voices heard worldwide.
Young people’s voices must be heard as major stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda if we want to leave no one behind. Considering young people are both the present and the future of our societies, their views should be at the forefront of the SDG implementation process. With this in mind, the ECOSOC Youth Forum is a substantial step in this direction which we hope continues to translate into wider representation and more active participation in decision-making.
Isabel Pérez Dobarro is the Project Leader of the SDSN Youth´s Project Arts Twenty Thirty, which uses the arts as a tool to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. Through this initiative, Pérez Dobarro has organized artistic events all around the world and created a network of international artists committed to SDG implementation. Pérez Dobarro has represented SDSN-Youth at the Winter Youth Assembly, the High-Level Signing Ceremony of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters, among other events. In addition to her involvement in SDSN-Youth, Pérez Dobarro is the Western European Representative of the Fair Air Coalition organization. Pérez Dobarro is a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, holds a J.D in Law, and is currently taking law courses at New York University. In addition to her law and sustainability studies, Pérez Dobarro is a concert pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall, Tchaikovsky Conservatory Moscow, and Ateneo de Madrid, and is a prizewinner of competitions in Spain, Portugal, and the United States.