Last week I had the opportunity to attend the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York City, hosted by the Economic and Social Council. This conference was dedicated to youth engagement with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and accelerating the continued recovery from COVID-19. There were both in person and online events which made this conference really accessible to attend in person and remotely. Something unique about this conference is that it gives youth the space to showcase their abilities, emphasize the need for youth engagement and call on leaders to continue to provide youth a larger share of responsibility as this generation is already shaping the future and want to expand their opportunity to participate.
I attended this conference with my peers that I work with at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. My peers on the Global Schools team and I hosted a side event focused on the use of partnerships and featured speakers from across the global who are passionate about education and developing interconnected partnerships to advance the SDGs. I was able to learn more about effective partnerships, how to create lasting partnerships and the importance of partnerships not only in education but the SDGs overall.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I attended the conference in person which was great to network, attend side events and larger forum style events. While the first day was intimidating, after I found my way around, I was able to sit in on a session about human rights and environmental justice. This event was great to see how different aspects of our lives share so many common themes and that there is not a single solution to many of the issues that we face as a society. The sessions on Thursday focused on youth recommendations moving forward and how different agencies can facilitate this progress.
My favorite part of the conference was not only getting to hear all the great work that is happening to advance the SDGs and youth involvement but also hearing young individuals calling for more actions on the SDGs with clear plans of what they want to achieve.
I had a great time getting to know other youth who are involved with the SDGs, networking and getting to know my colleagues better. I hope to be able to attend future conferences fully in-person again as we return to this modality after COVID-19. I left the conference feeling excited to continue my work through my internship and for future possibilities.