Ahead of the UN Summit of the Future: insights from the African Youth Consultative Forum and position paper

May 13, 2024

Addis Ababa, 30 April 2024 — The African Youth Consultative Forum on the UN Summit of the Future convened on 26 and 27 April at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Organized by the Pan African Youth Union (PYU), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the forum aimed to mobilize African youth to actively shape the outcomes of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future, scheduled for September 2024 in New York.

Building on the African Youth Charter and the UN’s commitment to youth empowerment, the forum, under the theme ‘Multilateral Solutions for a Better Tomorrow’, sought to mobilize youth representatives from across African Member States to articulate their perspectives, priorities and solutions for addressing global challenges and also inform the UN Future Summit.

The forum brought together over 100 youth representatives from across African Member States to articulate a common African youth position on the UN Summit of the Future, following the principle of “two agendas, one framework” adopted in the implementation of Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 by the African Union and the United Nations.

Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, Director of the Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate, underscored the need for continuous investment in women and young people to fully harness their untapped potential.

It is not just about us and about today, but towards building a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous future for all.
Prudence Nonkululeko Ngwenya, Director of the Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate

‘This requires being deliberate about demanding increased investment in education, skills development and entrepreneurship and providing the tools young people need to succeed in this ever-changing world. It also means leveraging these safe spaces and enabling environments to participate fully in decision-making processes, shaping policies that affect our lives and the future of our continent,' she said.

The forum focused on five key strategic areas: sustainable development and financing for development, international peace and security, science, technology, innovation, and digital cooperation, youth and future generations and transforming global governance.

Oliver Mutetsi, Vice President for East Africa Region of the Pan African Youth Union, emphasized the importance of providing support and opportunities for youth to realize their full potential and contribute to sustainable development and inclusive growth.

Africa's young people are eager to actively participate in shaping the future of their continent, but they need support and opportunities to realize their full potential and contribute to sustainable development and inclusive growth.
Oliver Mutetsi, Vice President for East Africa Region of the Pan African Youth Union

Mutetsi further highlighted that youth inclusion in key decision-making at local, national and regional levels is vital in achieving Africa’s developmental agenda.

Indeed, a central principle of the 2030 Agenda is the assurance that “no one will be left behind.” The SDGs are meant for all nations, all peoples of all ages and all societies. They entail that youth should be considered across all Goals and targets. 

In this view, the UN Summit of the Future will bring together UN Member States, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), academic institutions, the private sector and youth under the theme, ‘Summit of the Future: Multilateral Solutions for a Better Tomorrow’.

The Summit of the Future and this consultation are timely as they offer a platform for optimism and transformation. They are a testament to our belief in African youth's potential to drive change and innovation.
Matthias Naab, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa

'We will unlock Africa's full potential through sustainable development, peace & security, science, technology, innovation and youth empowerment,” he added.

This once-in-a-generation opportunity serves as an opportunity to rebuild trust and demonstrate that international cooperation can effectively tackle current, emerging and anticipated challenges.

The two-day consultative preparatory forum culminated in the development of a Youth Position Paper highlighting priority issues for the development of the continent, to be submitted at the Summit of the Future in New York.

Extract from the position paper:

In conclusion, we, the African youth, stand united in our commitment to working towards a brighter and more sustainable future for our continent and the world. We call upon governments, regional organisations, international organisations, civil society, and all stakeholders to join hands with us in advancing the agenda of the Summit of the Future and realizing the aspirations of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' Agenda 2030.

About The African Union Commission (AUC)

The African Union Commission (AUC) is the AU’s secretariat and undertakes the day-to-day activities of the Union. It is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Some of its functions include representing the AU and defending its interests under the guidance of and as mandated by the Assembly and the Executive Council and acting as the custodian of the AU Constitutive Act and all other OAU/AU legal instruments.

Learn more at www. au.int/en/commission 

About the Pan African Youth Union (PYU)

The Pan African Youth Union was founded as the Pan African Youth Movement on 26th April 1962 in Guinea Conakry at the edging of Heads of States as a special purpose vehicle to mobilize young people towards the decolonization of Africa. The movement played a strategic role to mobilize political support towards the independence of African states. 

Learn more: https://panafricanyouthunion.org/en/about-pyu/ 

About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.  

Learn more at www.undp.org/africa or follow @undpafrica on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn using the hashtag #OpenHouseRSCA. 

About the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. Made up of 54 member States, and playing a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the Continent’s development challenges.

Learn more: https://www.uneca.org/about 

For media inquiries and further information: 

Joshua Kweikuma Quaye, Youth Engagement Lead, African Union Commission, QuayeJ@africa-union.org 

Michelle Mendi Muita, Regional Communications Specialist, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, michellemendi.muita@undp.org     

Christopher Seagateng, Deputy Secretary General, Pan African Youth Union, dsgsa@panafricanyouthunion.org