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Key Takeaways from the UN Economic and Social Council Youth Forum 2024 

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum will take place from 16 to 18 April 2024 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.                        

The Forum provides a global platform for dialogue among Member States and young leaders from around the world on solutions to challenges affecting youth wellbeing. It also serves as a unique space for young people to share their vision and actions as well as provide an opportunity to advance youth solutions to accelerate  the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.                       

The 2024 Forum’s discussions will be guided by the overall theme of the 2024 ECOSOC and HLPF on “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions”.                        

The discussions will take place around the SDGs under review at the 2024 HLPF, namely, no poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), climate action (SDG 13), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), and partnerships for the goals (SDG 17).                       

The Youth Forum will also gather young people to share their recommendations and innovative ideas in preparation of the Summit of the Future, to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly, in September 2024. 

The 2024 ECOSOC Youth Forum is convened by the President of ECOSOC and co-organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the UN Youth Office, in collaboration with the United Nations Inter Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) and the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations (ICMYO), with technical input from youth organizations relevant to the theme of the forum.

Youth leaders from around the world will have the opportunity to engage with government representatives, youth delegates, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in civil society and the private sector.

Nonetheless, not all young people can be there - and institutional processes such as this one can be difficult to understand. So, what are some takeaways from the Youth Blast organised by MGCY and the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2024? 

🔑 Key Takeaways:

Summit of the Future: The need for UN reform was a central theme, with discussions highlighting vague agendas, implementation challenges, and overrepresentation of the Global North. Civil society engagement, starting from local communities and moving upwards, emerged as crucial for meaningful participation in decision-making processes.

🌟 Importantly, an overarching emphasis has been placed on the role of local communities in driving impactful change. From grassroots initiatives to regional forums, local engagement emerged as a cornerstone for effective global action. 

Some insights from the first day of the ECOSOC Youth Forum where we heard from the President for the ECOSOC, Paula Narváez, the President of the 78th Session of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis, the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres and more distinguished speakers. 

🗳️Trust in international and national institutions is deteriorating. Public trust is plummeting, alienation is growing and the international system is cracking. So, we need action and justice. It has been repeated time and again that we need to bring young people into political decision-making to act on our views and insights. Trust in public institutions is essential to fostering youth participation - this year’s elections globally are taking place in high levels of disinformation and polarisation. So, the question persisted: how can we bridge this gap for young people to ensure meaningful inclusion in decision-making processes?

💡Another key takeaway has been that we must avoid repetition and duplication in fora like this one. It is time for action, with clear, evidence-based implementation plans. 

💻 And, last, building formal and informal networks and dialogue channels is key to amplifying youth voices and included them in implementation plans and decision-making. 


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