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UN Youth Assembly Discusses MDGs, Post-2015

United Nations9 August 2013: The 12th International Youth Assembly, held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 7-9 August 2013, focused on the leadership of young people in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and in the creation of the post-2015 development agenda.

With a theme of "On the Road to Actions: Moving Beyond the MDGs, post 2015,” the conference engaged hundreds of global youth in panel discussions on topics such as leadership, outreach and communication, entrepreneurship, development and partnerships.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Assembly in a video message on the first day. Telling young people to demand accountability, share ideas, and influence the post-2015 process, he pointed to the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai standing up for gender equality in education. He encouraged the participants to "stand for what is right and act on our convictions."

Panel discussions on "Youth Leadership and Global Development" and "Post-2015: Beyond the MDGs" brought together young leaders, Member State representatives, the UN Secretariat, and civil society to discuss the role of youth in the future development agenda. Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Special Envoy for Youth, told young people to engage with the UN, calling it "a must" that the body recognize young people in decision-making. He announced the Secretary-General's initiative to "work with and for young people" through a UN system-coordinated plan to work on youth issues.

Sam Vaghar, Millennium Campus Network, discussed how his organization is engaging university students in the achievement of the MDGs. Kehkashan Basu, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), explained the importance of the principles of sustainable development and meaningful youth participation in UN activities. Kate Offerdahl, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), discussed the fundamental role of young people in the post-2015 development agenda, encouraging them to engage with their communities to brainstorm Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for their futures. [UN Press Release] [UNSG Statement] [Youth Assembly Program][IISD RS Sources]