The role of youth in promoting the SDGs and their attainment - UN ECOSOC

The role of youth in promoting the SDGs and their attainment - UN ECOSOC

The annual Youth Forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations. The Forum allows representatives of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and networks, youth advocates and others to dialogue with Member States, and to explore ways and means of promoting youth development and engagement.



This year's annual ECOSOC Forum concluded on 31st January 2017 focusing on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and doing so, harnessing the power of youth to help achieve these goals. For global road safety, the goal remaining most pressing and relevant is:

3.6 - By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres gave a video message to ECOSOC Youth Forum 2017

"Young people care about global issues...these issues affect you, your friends and families and you live them. You the youth can inspire change as entrepreneurs and leaders to help achieve the goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ." - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

At Youth Forum, UN calls on young people to help realize a better future for all

Drawing attention challenges such as climate change, unemployment and inequality, confronting young people around the world, including in places where peace prevails, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today called for the youth to speak up and share their stories.

According to estimates, about 74 million young people around the world cannot find a job, many youth are driven from their homes due to conflicts, and, in places where there is peace, they suffer violence and discrimination.


Road traffic crashes remain the single biggest killer of young people globally.

The Youth Forum, is held annually by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 2012, offers young people an opportunity to voice their opinions, share ideas, and think together about what they can do to achieve sustainable development.

 Also speaking at the occasion, ECOSOC President Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava stressed that every day, a number of young people risk their lives, attempting treacherous journeys, seeking refuge from war and conflict. Furthermore, many are fleeing crises caused by financial dislocations and climate change.



Such unplanned movements combined with other processes associated with globalization, he added, “are seen as a path to lower wages, a weakening of cultural and religious identities and rising inequality.”

Underlining the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly for young people, he noted:

“It is your future we are building in implementing the Agenda. This is why we need you to play a role in shaping the world you will be living in.”

Similarly, the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson also highlighted the importance of the SDGs and said that the 2030 Agenda together with Paris Agreement on climate change provides a universal masterplan to place humanity on a trajectory to a safe, secure and prosperous future for all.

infograph yrs

“Implemented urgently, effectively and at scale, these agreements will transform our world, to one in which extreme poverty is eliminated and prosperity is increased and shared more equitably,” he said, and added that achieving a future envisioned in these documents would require new and bold ideas, innovative and strategic thinking, and urgent collaborative action.

“It will require fundamental changes in the way we produce goods and consume them if our world is to be sustainable,” he added, underscoring: “Youth will have to be at the forefront of this transformation.”

Also speaking at the Forum, Ahmad Alhendawi, Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth called on young people not to lose hope but to become a source of hope to the world and called on all sectors of the society to work with the youth.

The two-day Forum was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Office of the Youth Envoy of the Secretary-General and the UN Inter-agency Network on Youth Development.


YOURS previously attended the Fifth ECOSOC Youth Forum which, in collaboration with global efforts culminated in road traffic crashes and injuries being discussed as the number one health concern for young people.

The world has just under 4 years to achive the ambitious goal halving road traffic deaths by 2020, we must speed up our inclusion of young people in the road safety decision making process to help tackle this crisis.

This means supporting young people to create solutions, educate their peers, work with government and harness their talent, skills and insights to reduce road traffic crashes.


Read more about how to enagage youth in road safety.