The 8th Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum in New York brought together over 1000 youth from across the globe over a period of four days. The forum acted as a platform for young leaders and change makers to discuss with United Nations Member States the role of youth in advancing the 2030 Agenda.
ECOSOC Forum is UN’s largest gathering about and for youth and it provides an opportunity for them to present their achievements and successes as well as challenges and struggles in order to engage the audience in a dialogue about youth-relevant policies and future goals. Each year ECOSOC runs under a different theme and the key theme this year was ‘Youth: Empowered, Included and Equal’ that sees young people in the world as equal partners, with a place at the table where important polices are drafted, peace processes discussed and plans for the future made.
UNDP was represented at the ECOSOC forum by Youth Leadership Programme alumni in Lebanon Martine Zaarour and Daniel Abi Fadel, who were able to showcase their projects and proudly reflect the potential of the young people in the Arab region and Lebanon. YLP partners were at ECOSOC to support the young people and discuss the need for more youth-inclusive agenda – the delegation was joined by representatives from INJAZ Lebanon and DOT Lebanon.
During meetings, talks and seminars YLPers emphasized the importance of recognizing the role of youth in building sustainable communities, especially in a region that has been greatly affected by conflict and violence. The UNDP representatives had a several opportunities to participate in side events with distinguished guests and speakers as well as inter-agency meetings and discussions, such as meeting with Achim Steiner, the UNDP Administrator, attending a session at Earth Institute of Columbia University and leading sessions hosting delegates from UN Permanent Mission of Japan and United Arab Emirates.
They also had an opportunity to discuss the importance of youth in the Arab region with UN Women, Generation Unlimited and the Youth Leadership Council of New York City.