Hundreds of young people from all 192 Member States of the United Nations will gather at UN headquarters on Sunday for the landmark Global Youth Leadership Summit, which aims to get more people involved in promoting international development, including eradicating poverty, hunger and a host of other social ills.
“Young delegates will focus on ways of using their youthful energy and their technological skills to tackle major socio-economic challenges,” said Djibril Diallo, Director of the UN New York Office of Sport for Development and Peace, which is organizing the summit that runs until Tuesday.
The focus of the meeting will be how best to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are an ambitious series of targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000, seeking to reduce extreme poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality, lack of access to education, as well as other social ills all by 2015.
Each of the Member States will be represented at the summit by two delegates – a young woman and a young man – and the use of sport and culture will be emphasized as ways of encouraging the world’s youth to become more involved in the fight for development, the UN said in a press release.
“These young community leaders have the biggest stake in making progress towards the Millennium Development Goals because attaining the Goals will help create a better world for their generation and those following. They will employ the ideas, networks and initiatives from their summit brainstorming to help launch a new decade of bold cooperation,” said Mr. Diallo.
The summit will be the first time that many countries fulfil pledges to include young people and their views at the UN, and the youth delegates will then become spokespersons for the MDGs in their home countries.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan will open the summit in the General Assembly chamber, and this will be followed on Sunday by a panel discussion involving UN agency heads, and then a Youth United against Malaria Concert with celebrated singer Youssou N’Dour of Senegal and other stars.
The delegates will break into groups on Monday to discuss such issues as poverty and job creation; education, gender and maternal health care; and youth and peacebuilding. The event will conclude on Tuesday with the adoption of a Summit Declaration.