“If you know who you are and you know your place, then you know what your contribution is”. These words, from Tita Larasati of the Bandung Creative City Forum, were one of the many powerful insights that stayed with me after a week in Malaysia for the World Urban Forum 9. I had the opportunity to attend this event as a Local Pathways fellow, part of UN SDSN Youth delegation, to showcase our projects during two sessions in Kuala Lumpur.
We, the people of South Asia, have grown up with the mesmerizing story of Kuala Lumpur. How a city like ours has transformed itself into an example of urban development, combining heritage, culture, and modernity. Kuala Lumpur as a host city for the World Urban Forum 9 (WUF9) is the true depiction of the significance of its success.
I have talked with hundreds of young people across the world over the last year about the SDGs and sustainable development. Sometimes, I have 30 seconds or 30 minutes to sell a message. That message is always grounded in a ‘thoughtful stewardship’ of our world, in which I encourage critical, aspirational thinking and agency. A simple starting point is where one might be in 2030, and what kind of world do they want to be in.
As a result, we had the unique opportunity to present our projects at the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur. It enabled us to have a voice at the premiere conference of cities and be part of the Cities 2030 global conversation. We had 2 dedicated sessions where we had the chance to engage with other WUF participants to receive valuable feedback and networking, this was certainly stimulating and gave me ideas to pursue upon my return to Mexico City. I am looking forward to follow the paths of each of my fellows for I am certain they will all continue to contribute to more enabling environments for youth, sustainable communities, and more equitable and inclusive societies.
Over the next five years, the policy is expected to lead to the creation of 10,000 startups, bring in investments to the tune of $800mn and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities for around half a million people in the state. This would help Maharashtra significantly progress on the SDG-8, which emphasizes the importance of meaningful employment and inclusive growth. The generation of livelihoods would further act as a foundation to achieve other SDG’s related to education, health, and quality of people’s lives.
The Philippines is among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which is further exacerbated by our lack of capacity and resources. Having a young population, with more than half aged 15 to 30 years old, the Filipino youth can play a tremendous role as catalysts to lead a movement towards climate action and disaster resilience in their communities. So, why not harness the youth’s potential and use their ingenuity?
"Bringing Bijar City's Past Back to Life with Smartphones" was my idea with the aim of creating an in-between sphere between political and public spheres by forming a coalition of NGOs in Bijar City; a city which is located in Kurdistan Province, west Iran, with a long historical background as a commercial node in the ancient silk road. Unfortunately, today, there is almost nothing left of that glory on the map. The previously functioning city fell into a state of disrepair, featuring unpleasant and dysfunctional urban frontage and public spaces.
As a young Turkish woman, I’ve been growing up with the idea that “I have to work hard”, “I have to keep working no matter what”, always asking for more in order to be able to ‘achieve’. I was even judged by many people for being “too-feminist” and even “obsessive”. Well, maybe I should agree that I am. I am a feminist. That’s how I started my presentation at the 9th World Urban Forum, Kuala Lumpur.
That’s the spirit of solidarity and acting together. Because everybody has an understanding that SDGs do not hurt anyone and our priority is leaving no one behind, that’s why we are all there as representatives - we were not just people, we were also Country, Culture, Citizen and Voice of people’s stories who are in our hearts.
No two SDG advocates in the world will have the same outlook or perspective, yet our differences and unique platforms provide today’s youth an uncommon opportunity to learn from one another, partner with youth in different regions, disciplines, and fields, and energize their peers to create and shape their own cohort of stewards for change and action.