North-East Asian youth adopt powerful post-2015 development vision
Job opportunities, rising inequalities, the environment, gender equality and peace and security in North-East Asia are key priorities the region’s youth want to see addressed in the world’s future development agenda.
51 youth representatives from China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia have today adopted a bold declaration on the future of global development entitled ‘The World We Want: A North-East Asian Youth Vision’.
Their vision was finalized in Seoul at a major youth forum convened as part of worldwide United Nations-led consultations to prepare a new universal development framework ahead of the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The young people from all four countries talked openly, honestly and as equals. As young people, I think we tackled some of the more sensitive issues more logically than adults often do. There is a real desire to work together for development and peace in future’ said Clara Suh, 24, a participant from Seoul.
The declaration demands decision-makers also ensure access to quality education, calls for a world free from discrimination and stresses the need for greater peace, security, economic and cultural cooperation and open communication in North-East Asia.
‘I realize that right here, right now I have the chance to fight for the people I have never met and for children I will never know. We have worked so hard to picture a beautiful future for the next generations’ said Qingling Kong, 23, a participant from Beijing.
Prepared as formal input for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the declaration was presented to Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and High-level Panel member, Mr Kim Sung-hwan today on behalf of North-East Asian youth.
Purevdorj Erkhembulgan, Head of the International Cooperation Division in Mongolia’s Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and Hirojima Soma, Economic Counselor in the Embassy of Japan to Korea were also presented with copies of the vision during the public closing ceremony at Korea University.
Participants included graduate students from major universities in the four countries, as well as youths from diverse backgrounds including ethnic minorities, refugees, orphans, rural youths, domestic migrant workers, sexual minorities and disabled people.
The three-day forum was hosted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Seoul Policy Centre, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s Sub-regional Office for East and North-East Asia, the Global Compact Korea Network and Korea University.
Whilst looking forward, participants also looked back at the progress and lessons from the Millennium Development Goals and the challenges ahead. They committed to continue the discussions in their own countries after the event.
In his keynote address to closing ceremony, Minister Kim highlighted his aim to bring an Asian perspective to the work of the High Level Panel and shared his views on the key pillars required for a new framework’s success.
‘To achieve sustainable economic growth and environmental management, a future global development framework should prioritize inclusive economic growth and green growth. Given these considerations, I will contribute two concept papers to the Panel: one on Green Growth and the other on a Post-2015 implementation mechanism’ he said.
Minister Kim also spoke of the need for a wide-ranging global partnership for development.
‘These young people have stated clearly that the Millennium Development Goals have made a huge impact in the lives of billions in Asia and worldwide. They also recognize much more must be done to address extreme poverty, disease, and economic and environmental crises to deliver a better and more equitable world for all’ said Anne-Isabelle Degryse-Blateau, Director of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre.
Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Director of UNESCAP’s Sub regional Office for East and North-East Asia, highlighted the need to ensure a representative mix of young people in securing youth inclusion in the post-2015 consultation process.
‘Given the widening inequalities among and within countries in North-East Asia, it is critical that fora such as this youth conference reach out to various social groups, so that voices from diverse life experiences join the dialogue’ said Mr Ramakrishna.
A global consultation portal has been set up to gather public priorities to be tackled in a post-2015 global development framework as part of the unprecedented UN-led consultations. The portal was officially launched in Korean language at the closing ceremony today and can be found at www.myworld2015.org. The launch of the Korean version is the first non-official UN language of the platform.