Woman in brown jacket stands to speak at UN forum
Wide shot of UN conference room hosting a youth forum
Woman speakers to a group of youth from around the world, in a UN conference room
Woman speaks from a seat, with a sign bearing her name, Paula Narváez Ojeda

ITC at ECOSOC Youth Forum – Innovate and Lead: Skills for Youth to Drive Sustainable Change

1 mai 2024
ITC News

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) works with the UN system to advance sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. The ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York gathered young people from around to share how they can step up progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The International Trade Centre (ITC) hosted a side event titled: Innovate and Lead: Skills for Youth to Drive Sustainable Change. The event was held in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Permanent Mission of Kenya in the United States. The goal was to empower youth with the skills and knowledge needed to spearhead sustainable change in their communities and beyond. 

Opening remarks were made by the ECOSOC President, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile, Paula Narváez Ojeda; the Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, Njambi Kinyungu; and WIPO Director General Daren Tang. Each brought unique perspectives and insights on youth empowerment, innovation, and sustainability.  

This was followed by a lively, unscripted chat between youth and high-level policy makers, facilitated by WIPO Assistant Director General for Global Challenges and Partnerships, Edward Kwakwa, and ITC’s Youth and Trade Initiative Manager, Mayara Louzada.  

The conversation broke traditional barriers of dialogue among youth and the following speakers:  

  • Mohamed Orman Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs in Sierra Leone, discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by youth in Sierra Leone. He highlighted the government's commitment to supporting youth-led initiatives. 
  • Balaam Barugahara, Uganda's Minister of State for Youth and Children, emphasized the importance of youth engagement in driving sustainable development. He highlighted Uganda's efforts in youth empowerment. 
  • Jamila Bio Ibrahim, Nigeria's Minister of Youth Development, shared insights on Nigeria's initiatives to support youth-led innovation and entrepreneurship, emphasizing the role of education and mentorship.
  • Gareth Sella, Colombia's Vice-Minister of Youth, is also a film director and political activist. He spoke about the human rights reforms needed to advance the well-being of youth and to empower the most marginalized.  
  • Karen Jane Salutan, CEO of EdukSine from the Philippines, shared her journey as a young entrepreneur and emphasized the role of education and skills development in fostering innovation and sustainability. 
  • Federico Perez, founder and CEO of Selvitas from Colombia, discussed the importance of environmental stewardship. He shared insights on how youth-led businesses can contribute to sustainable development. 
  • Miles Hodges, an American poet and producer from New York, captivated the audience with a youthful discussion on the power of words and how poetry shapes our realities. Miles performed a poem in which he navigated economic necessities, societal pressures, existential searches, and personal and familial relationships providing a rich, metaphorical backdrop that can relate to the experiences and challenges faced by young entrepreneurs.

The session was visually captured by the Sketch Effect in a compelling and dynamic format. The resulting artwork provided a vivid illustration of the event's atmosphere, highlighting key moments and the energetic exchange of ideas among participants. 

The event attracted a large and engaged audience, with the room filled to capacity. Participants were eager to learn from the panelists' experiences and insights. The discussions sparked meaningful conversations on how youth can actively contribute to creating a more sustainable and inclusive future. 

Overall, ITC's side event at the ECOSOC Youth Forum was a resounding success, highlighting the importance of equipping youth with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to innovate and lead in driving sustainable change globally. 

Colourful sketch illustrates the proceedings of the ECOSOC Youth Forum
17 April 2024, New York, United States. Sketch Effect documented the ECOSOC Youth Forum with this illustration of the proceedings.