Ministers urged to act on youth priorities at UN Forum
Ministers and young people from around the world called for accelerated action on major issues affecting adolescents ahead of the UN’s Youth Forum on 6 April.
The event followed the publication in the British Medical Journal of the call for a global summit on adolescent wellbeing, a campaign which the FIA Foundation has been helping to lead.
The online event brought together over 300 participants from more than 100 countries. The Governments of Costa Rica and the Philippines co-hosted, with a range of partners including: the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, the Global Partnership to End Violence, youth organisation Restless Development, and the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety together with the FIA Foundation.
As the leading killer of young people worldwide, road traffic injury was an important part of the discussions. Participating on behalf of the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety was Omnia El Omrani from Egypt. She said:
“Being part of Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety mobilizing over 400 young leaders from 80 countries, I saw how youth have played a critical part in addressing the number one cause of death in children and adolescents. Now, we need policymakers to engage us and shape a safe post-pandemic world that protects our health and well-being.” Omnia was a leading youth advocate in the Stockholm 3rd Global Ministerial on Road Safety in 2020.
The role of adolescents and young people in rebuilding from Covid-19 was a central part of the discussions which will feed into the UN ECOSOC Youth Forum on 7-8 April. Ministers from all regions participated in the event which was titled “Uniting for adolescents during Covid-19 and beyond”. Countries represented included Ghana, Jamaica, Chile, India, Nepal, Egypt, Bulgaria and Moldova.
Opening the event was Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of PMNCH. Joining her in opening remarks was the UN Secretary General’s Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake.
Kristeena Monteith who works with Restless Development and has served as a UN Young Leader for the SDGs participated in a regional panel for Latin America and the Caribbean. She helped lead discussions with Ministers and government leaders in the region. Highlighting the need for a safe environment as one priority for young people, she said: “Young people everywhere need a safe environment. Too often an issue like road traffic injury – which is entirely preventable – is not being tackled. We want safe streets among the key priorities for adolescents.”
Major priorities from the discussions will feed into the youth report to be submitted to the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDGs in July. Participants gave support to the call for a global summit for adolescents and called for action on priority issues such as mental health, violence, education, sexual reproductive health and road safety – all of which will be submitted to the UN HLPF.