On January 30-31, 2018, the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will host its 7th annual Youth Forum. Every year, The Hunger Project joins this important event that gathers youth leaders from around the world to the United Nations in New York for two days of plenary meetings, events, presentations and interactive sessions.
The 2018 edition of the Forum will highlight “The Role of Youth in Building Sustainable and Resilient Urban and Rural Communities,” with a special focus on Sustainable Development Goals 6 (Clean Water & Sanitation), 7 (Affordable & Clean Energy), 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption & Production), 15 (Life on Land) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
The ECOSOC Youth Forum is the largest youth gathering at the UN, providing young people with the opportunity to engage with governments, youth delegates, policymakers, activists, members of civil society and the private sector. This two-day event serves as a primary platform for the world’s youth to engage in constructive dialogue with the UN community and civil society to discuss ways to promote the youth development agenda at the national, regional and global levels.
During the Forum, The Hunger Project will highlight the contributions and concerns of young people around the world – particularly those living in rural communities – who every day work to end hunger and poverty in their communities. Ana Lucìa Marquez of The Hunger Project-Mexico and Mary Kate Costello of The Global Hunger Project will represent THP and the many youths with whom we work around the world. This includes a seat in a closed discussion with the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to discuss youth priorities in the UN Future of Work initiative.
The achievement and full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of The Hunger Project’s women-centered, grassroots, community-led approach to ending hunger. Our holistic strategy promotes many of the 17 SDGs: empowering women and girls, underscoring the importance of education, raising awareness of climate change and promoting the use of clean water and sanitation. The Global Goals are also reflected in our global advocacy work through our Movement for Community-led Development.
Of particular priority this year will be the cross-cutting role of technology as it influences youth aspirations and challenges the existing educational systems that lack digital literacy and other tech skills. As the earliest adopters of most technology, youth are faced with a unique responsibility to harness the innovation and opportunities offered by technology in order to achieve the SDGs. UN Member States and other key stakeholders will need to fulfill the necessary skills-training and investment in labor markets to bridge employment gaps and yield improved social protection.
The Hunger Project places great importance on the empowerment of young people with skills and training to develop their IT and technical skills. In Benin, for example, we led a series of workshops that reached nearly 350 young people.