ECOSOC Youth Forum Discusses Shaping Tomorrow’s Innovators

27 March 2013: The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, which convened on 27 March at UN Headquarters in New York, provided a platform for young people between the ages of 15 to 24 to explore methods for promoting global and sustainable development and highlighted how information and communications technology (ICT) can help address global challenges. The Forum's key messages and recommendations will be shared with Member States at ECOSOC's High-level Segment in Geneva, Switzerland in July 2013.

The Forum, which was organized around the theme “Leveraging science, technology, innovation and culture to improve societies,”addressed a range of issues, including: the role of culture in the pursuit of ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development; conflict resolution; urban violence; democracy; dialogue; and employment. Three interactive dialogue sessions convened on: girls and women in science; youth as an engine for creative economy; and using social media to realize ideas. A press conference launched Innovate Your Future, an online campaign that encourages youth to share ideas on how science, technology, innovation and culture can contribute to sustainability.

In an opening statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said working with youth is one of his top priorities and highlighted “Education First,” which aims to achieve universal education and improve learning quality. Noting that youth represent the majority of ICT innovators in the last decade, UN Youth Envoy, Ahmad Alhendawi, said he would also focus on how the UN could use ICT, particularly social media, to advance its goals in addition to addressing advocacy, participation, partnerships and harmonization.

As part of the preparatory process for the 2013 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review, the Youth Forum was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), with the support of “New York Tech Meet Up.” [ECOSOC Youth Website] [UNSG Statement] [Forum Press Conference] [UN Press Release] [Forum Summary]