Voices of youth in the lead up to the Summit of the Future

Statement delivered by Marcos Neto at the 2024 ECOSOC Youth Forum, UN HQ, New York.

April 18, 2024

Photo: UNDP


Dear Young Leaders,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we gather today for this pivotal session of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, I am honored to extend a warm welcome on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

As we are reaching the closure of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, with this final session, we hope to take the opportunity to collect and amplify the voices and innovative ideas offered by the talented young people who are here with us in the room today. 

This is also a chance to amplify the insightful contributions of more than 500 young people who have contributed to the online consultation entitled ‘’Hear our voice!’’ that took place in March, spearheaded by young people, and hosted by UNDP on our Sparkblue online platform. 

UNDP is committed to offer and enable safe spaces for young people’s meaningful participation and engagement, whether offline – like in this room today, or online – making a positive use of digital tools to engage with young people.  

Young people are the torchbearers of our collective future. The upcoming Summit of the Future stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity, where global leaders will converge to chart a course towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient world. 

At the heart of this journey are the voices and needs of our young people and of future generations. As we address complex challenges that disproportionately affect young women and men, such as unemployment, poverty, interlocked forms of discrimination, lack of access to information, to education, healthcare and social protection, collective and coordinated efforts must be made to address them and ensure that young people can effectively participate in sustainable development.  

Throughout this session, we will have the privilege of hearing directly from young leaders, and advocates who are at the forefront of change in diverse fields. 

Their experiences, perspectives, and recommendations will serve as invaluable inputs as we work towards shaping policies, programs, and partnerships that prioritize youth empowerment and participation.

Let us seize this moment to celebrate young people’s achievements and commit ourselves to fostering an environment where every young person can thrive, contribute, and realize their full potential. 

Together, let us pave the way for a future that is not just sustainable and equitable but also inclusive and where every voice is heard.

Thank you, and I look forward to our enriching discussions.