11 March 2021

Regional Forum on Sustainable Development 2021 for the UNECE Region: Networking Meeting of Youth Representatives

On March 8, the UN Issue-based Coalition on Adolescent and Youth (led by UNICEF and UNFPA) and GEYC organized a Networking meeting of Youth Representatives with active roles in the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region 2021, in the frame of civil society pre-meetings.

This event connected young people from all the roundtables of the Regional Forum 2021, smoothening the collaborative advocacy efforts. Ms. Nina FERENCIC, Senior Regional Adviser on Adolescent Health, Development and Participation and on HIV/AIDS, UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia welcomed participants.

After exploring the different experiences and backgrounds they bring to the table, participants brainstormed on the four clusters: People (SDGs 1, 2, 3), Prosperity (SDGs 8, 10), Planet (SDGs 12, 13), and Cross-cutting on the 2020 targets. In teams, they drafted their ideas into Action Plans, responding to the following questions: How can youth contribute to those particular SDGs in the post-pandemic context? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? What tools, skills, and support do they need? All the ideas were presented in the plenary in a creative way and were a great start to insightful discussions around the key issues mentioned. 

Participants were also challenged to practice their public speaking competencies while imagining they are facing stakeholders and having 60 seconds to present their messages in a clear, powerful appealing, and argumentative way. Not only did they get the opportunity to tell their stories to their peers, but also they received constructive feedback on the content they shared and the way it comes across. During this exercise, youth were able to build upon each other's ideas and improve their messages in order to impact stakeholders more effectively. 

At the end of the event, participants shared they feel inspired, more prepared to share their messages at the Regional Forum and more motivated to continue their work in the field. Mr. Rune Brandrup, Programme Specialist, Youth From United Nations Population Fund, presented final ideas and suggestions for the youth speakers.

These were the words participants used to describe the Networking Meeting. 

The 2021 Regional Forum will be held under the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and action and delivery on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the UNECE Region“, with a specific focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13 and the 2020 targets. The event will be held in Geneva and online, with the hybrid plenary sessions taking place on 17-18 March 2021 and being preceded by virtual peer learning roundtables (10-16 March 2021).