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Young people have role in reaching UN's 2030 Sustainable Goals

By Li Lei | | Updated: 2021-09-28 20:49
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A panel of global youth leaders on Tuesday underlined young people's role in addressing challenges in Asia-Pacific and beyond, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change to poverty reduction.

Young people are central to realizing the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and tackling global threats, said Beniam Gebrezghi of the United Nations Development Program, a UN agency.

It is more urgent than ever to work with young people on those fronts with less than 10 years left to realize the goals, he said at the Fourth Asia-Pacific Forum on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which opened on Tuesday.

However, limited access to the political and economic opportunities are hampering the progress, Gebrezghi, a program specialist with the program's Bangkok Regional Hub, said in a video speech.

"But with a little bit of support, they have the potential to change the world," he said, adding that the forum, organized by the UNDP and All-China Youth Federation, intends to provide such support.

Fu Zhenbang, the federation's vice-president, said in a video speech at the forum the world is struggling with economic recovery induced by the pandemic and has to deal with multiple issues relating to human development and global governance, including extreme weather and poverty.

Multilateralism is central to addressing such challenges, he said.

Fu said the Asia-Pacific is home to 700 million young people, or 60 percent of the world's youth population, and they are beneficiaries as well as important players in promoting global peace and development. "Their involvement and innovation are instrumental to the core issues of human development and global governance."

He called on the region's young people to cooperate in pandemic response in a "science based manner", lead a low-carbon lifestyle and help make the world's development more inclusive.

The forum was part of a series of events to mark the restoration of China's lawful seat at the UN 50 years ago. Youths from countries including China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal shared their views on a range of topics, such as vaccination cooperation, rural vitalization and scientific innovation.

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