Generation Unlimited

Statement at the first meeting of Generation Unlimited “Co-creating solutions with and for young people” organised by UNICEF - Millennium Hilton Hotel, New York

Posted July 17, 2018

As prepared for delivery.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to participate, as a Global Board Member, in the opening of this first meeting of “Generation Unlimited.”

As we collectively look at the work ahead to continue supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, it is obvious that we will not meet the Sustainable Development Goals if we fail to meaningfully involve and respond to the needs of the largest generation of young people the world has ever known – 1.8 billion young women and men. Addressing young people’s specific needs as well as recognising, promoting and supporting the role of youth as critical and positive agents of change is a top priority for the United Nations.

UNDP highly values the strategic and longstanding partnership with UNICEF, and I wish to commend Henrietta for her leadership in developing this new and ambitious initiative on youth. As next steps are being outlined to deeply reform the United Nations Development System, it seems rather clear that we will only succeed if we enhance our collaboration within the United Nations and forge new partnerships and alliances, including with young people themselves. We urgently have to explore new ways of doing business and achieving concrete and effective results in the field, and have to work hand-in-hand with like-minded partners and youth organisations, movements and networks.

By building on the endorsed and forthcoming United Nations Youth Strategy and our existing and diverse mandates and portfolios, and by bringing together our expertise, assets and resources, we can truly multiply and sustain benefits to young people’s lives, including the most marginalized ones.

UNDP looks forward to collaborating with UNICEF and other partners to identify, scale-up and implement promising, innovative, youth-led and youth-centered solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s most pressing challenges. We look forward to doing so in the following areas, in particular:
-    Young people’s participation in governance, particularly girls and young women’s civic engagement, including at the local level. This would include promoting and supporting the empowerment of young women and men so they can meaningfully influence decision-making policies and programmes related to their lives and lead SDG implementation and change within their societies;
-    Expanded opportunities to young people to develop their capacities, their leadership and their employability;
-    Young people’s positive role in fragile and humanitarian settings;
-    Youth-led initiatives that address climate change. This would mean recognizing and supporting young people’s role as change makers and innovators in climate policy, dialogues and processes;
-    The role of youth in promoting social innovation.

I am very pleased to see two solutions implemented by UNDP already being considered – Youth Connekt and the Youth Leadership Programme.

My appeal to you, as you assess promising solutions and brainstorm on the operationalization of the initiative, over the next two days, is to be as bold, imaginative and concrete as possible.

Please continue to count on our commitment to making this partnership a success – you will be able to rely on my own political commitment, as well as the active support from our UNDP Youth global programme – which promotes civic engagement, youth economic empowerment and the role of youth in resilience and peacebuilding, and from our regional and country teams, most of which already prioritize youth and the role of young people as partners in development and peace.

Thank you very much and I wish you fruitful deliberations.