Returning in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,000 young leaders from around the world will be in New York from 25 to 27 April to attend the 2023 Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum. This year’s forum will galvanize the talents of young people to address the key solutions needed for a fairer, greener and more resilient future for all.
Youth movements around the globe have brought to the world’s attention the importance of listening and working with young people to tackle the various crises we’re facing today. Despite being uniquely vulnerable to the long-term impacts of COVID-19, young people have repeatedly shown resilience and demonstrated that they are crucial players in shaping a more sustainable world.
The annual Youth Forum is a key platform where young people can voice their opinions, engage with Member States and key stakeholders, and showcase the contributions they can make to achieve the youth-specific SDG targets.
“The Youth Forum comes at a pivotal moment for all of us,” said H.E. Ms. Lachezara Stoeva, President of ECOSOC. “We are at the midpoint of our commitment to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda in seven years…What we need is immediate, bold and transformative action to reverse course and redirect our energy on accelerating the SDG implementation for and with young people”.
The ECOSOC Youth Forum is convened by the President of ECOSOC and co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), and the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, and co-convened by the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) and the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO).
Held in a hybrid format, the 2023 Forum will focus on the 2023 HLPF theme on “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at levels”. It will also review progress on key SDG goals on clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), and partnerships for the goals (SDG17).
Young people will also gather to share their recommendations and innovative ideas in preparation for the SDG Summit which will be held in September 2023 during the UN General Assembly. Marking the midpoint review of the 2030 Agenda, the SDG Summit will be a crucial moment to identify the ambitious actions needed to ensure that we get back on track to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals.
“This year, the ECOSOC Youth Forum unfolds against a backdrop of complex global issues, including escalating geopolitical tensions, a relentless climate crisis, growing poverty, a push back against human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the gradual but uneven recovery from the pandemic,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. “Now, as much as ever before, it is critical that we position young people’s voices, expertise and innovative ideas front and center in our efforts to get the world back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030.”
The three-day event will feature youth speakers, high-level Government representatives, regional and multilateral organizations, and youth-led entities from all regions. The event will have plenary sessions, interactive and regionally based discussions, and side events which will take place virtually and in-person throughout the Forum.
The outcome of the Forum will be an informal summary document of the proceedings by the President of ECOSOC and a Presidential Statement. Youth networks will also bring together youth entities and organizations to prepare the “Voices of Youth” at the ECOSOC Youth Forum.
The Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a flagship initiative of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. Every two years, 17 young change-makers are recognized for their leadership and contribution to combatting the world’s most pressing issues and catalyzing the achievement of the SDGs.
From food to fashion, the Young Leaders for the SDGs represent every region in the world and help young people worldwide in support of the Goals. Many of these world leaders will be attending the Youth Forum to share their initiatives and inspiring actions with Members States and Governments.
The Forum comes shortly after the launch of the Secretary-General’s policy brief on meaningful youth engagement in policymaking and decision-making processes, the third brief in a series in the lead up to the Summit of the Future in September 2024, to provide more detail on select proposals contained in the Secretary-General’s ‘Our Common Agenda’ report.
The brief highlights key proposals with a view towards ensuring more meaningful, diverse and effective youth participation across intergovernmental decision-making processes at all levels, including through fora like the ECOSOC Youth Forum.