Opening Remarks by Ms. Beate Trankmann at the 2024 Movers Camp

June 14, 2024

Ms. Beate Trankmann, Resident Representative of UNDP China delivered opening remarks at the 2024 Movers Camp opening ceremony in Beijing, China.

尊敬的郭新保主任 (Mr. Guo Xinbao, Director General of China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center for Young People)

张翼主任 (Mr. Zhang Yi, Deputy Director General of CICETE)

各位Movers 大家上午好

Welcome to the 5th SDG Movers Camp! This is YOUR Opportunity for youth action towards the Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure our world can sustain future generations.

There is a famous saying by Chairman Mao: 青年人是八九点钟的太阳,世界是你们的,也是我们的,但归根结底是你们的. (“Youth is like the sun of 8 or 9 am in the morning: the world is yours, and it’s also ours, but ultimately, it’s yours.”)

So, it is with great pleasure that I join you today as we celebrate the remarkable achievements and talent of our 85 SDG Movers.

You are a ray of light in turbulent times. With crises on every front – from conflicts, to climate change, to costs of living - the SDGs are way off track. Progress on almost every goal is stalling. Goal 13, Climate Action, is even regressing. We all feel the effects. Extreme weather is increasingly common, including our hottest May on record this year. And disasters made more common by climate change, are escalating everywhere.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to get back on track before 2030 our window for averting climate catastrophe is closing, by changing how we live, learn and work.

But it’s young people like you with the skills, innovation and energy, who can actually achieve that.

No step is too small, for even small shifts – in actions, and attitudes – can create ripples of significant change.
My mum inspired my own desire to change the world. As a kid, she always told me to eat up my food, since kids from Africa have none. I knew the world was unequal. And with both my parents doctors, I wanted to become one myself when I was six, to help children in Africa.

As I grew up, this evolved into my passion for development. Because with the right policies, practices and investments, every child should have food to eat, and doctors to care for them. I wanted to treat the cause of inequality – unsustainable, unequal development. As a student traveling Indonesia in the 90s, where slums were sitting next to skyscrapers, this inequality only deepened my desire to work in development… and to later advocate for the SDGs through my career at UNDP.

At UNDP, we very much value the pivotal role of young people as changemakers.

"Put the most vulnerable, first: The SDGs center on leaving no one behind. So always remember the most marginalized people and places. We must support them first, to ensure a livable future for everyone."

Our Movers Programme, aims to equip youth with SDG tools and knowledge, to navigate today’s many challenges, and become agents of progress. Since we launched in 2020, 396 Movers began their journey in sustainable development, with many making an impact in their communities.

Yan Yangdi, for example, from the 2022 cohort, brought the Programme to Neixiang, an underprivileged county in Henan Province, to ensure quality education. Yangdi lead 420 rural teachers to become Movers themselves. The Movers Toolkit was incorporated into 40 schools across Neixiang, enabling more than 5,500 children to gain SDG knowledge. Yangdi also started her own initiative, to improve mental health among young girls.

Every Mover is a role model, so I encourage you all to embrace your role as SDG champions. Your knowledge, skills and example are invaluable in society.

As you go forward, I have three pieces of advice:

1. Firstly, be bold: dream big and set ambitious goals. The SDGs require transformative change across economies, societies and our own homes.

This can only be realized by aiming high and taking decisive actions. Believe in your ability to make a difference and don't settle for less.

2. Secondly, put the most vulnerable, first: The SDGs center on leaving no one behind. So always remember the most marginalized people and places. We must support them first, to ensure a livable future for everyone.

3. And thirdly, embrace Innovation: Your generation are digital natives. So, do deploy technology to find cutting-edge solutions to complex problems. Explore how digital tools, data analytics, and new technologies can advance the SDGs. Stay up-to-date, and stay open to new ideas. Experiment with creative approaches, and leverage the ability of technology to drive change for good.

The future is in your hands. While the challenges we face are overwhelming at times, in your own ways, in your own communities, you can begin to overcome them…bringing hope and inspiration to those around you.

In the words of our Administrator Achim Steiner: “You are not just the leaders of today but crucial change-makers of tomorrow”

At UNDP, we stand ready to support you, every step of the way.

I would like to thank all our Young Movers for their tremendous hard work and determination. I also thank our strategic partners, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, SCLSCC, CICETE and UN Volunteers for hosting this, along with our community partner, China Education Support Programme for supporting us. We could not do this without you.

Together, let’s keep striving for a better future: where poverty is history, equality is reality, and our planet thrives.