UNITAR and CIFAL Shanghai Promoting Youth Engagement in the Advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals
18-20 July 2017, Geneva, Switzerland – Young people are the leaders of tomorrow, and engaging them in international debates is a major priority of the United Nations. Youth participation in the advancement of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is of critical importance, as it is youth who will most experience the impact of the Agenda’s success or failure.
With the objective of engaging youth in discussions on sustainable development and familiarizing them with the SDGs, while raising awareness about the crucial role they have to play in this global endeavor, UNITAR and its affiliated International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL) in Shanghai hosted the “Youth Engagement Workshop”, held at the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from 18 to 20 July 2017.
Over the course of three days, UNITAR hosted a group of twenty-six young students and their teachers from Shanghai. Interactive sessions, lectures and tours provided the group with a comprehensive overview of the SDGs and the UN system. Students also had the opportunity to learn about the Geneva Environment Network and about UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme UNOSAT. A representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) discussed career opportunities at the UN with the students.
The group also had the chance to visit the Palais des Nations, the Red Cross Museum, as well as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The landmark moment of this intensive workshop was marked by short individual presentations by the students, each on one SDG. These presentations gave students the occasion to outline the knowledge they acquired over these three days, and to connect Agenda 2030 to their personal experience and everyday life.
Through this workshop and other similar efforts, UNITAR and its CIFAL Global Network aim to expose youth to the vast work of the UN and International Geneva, with a strong emphasis on the global mission of the SDGs; and, especially, to leave each person convinced of the vital role they have to play in the Agenda – wherever in the world and in whatever sector they might find themselves.
UNITAR and the CIFALs around the world will continue to engage with young people and educators, seeking to help the Agenda 2030 penetrate to the grassroots and to the younger generation, upon whom its success depends.
Photo 1: Photo of the CIFAL Shanghai group in front of the Palais des Nations after the awarding of certificates.
Photo 2: Short presentation of one SDG by a student during the session.