Monday, October 26, 2020

Young voices inspire sustainable development action at UN75 regional commemoration

 The United Nations (UN) is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis with severe economic and social impacts. The regional commemoration jointly hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Office of the United Nations resident coordinator in Thailand today drew attention to the power of innovation and partnerships, especially among younger generations, in building a better future post Covid-19.

“We face colossal challenges. With global solidarity and cooperation, we can overcome them,” shared UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres in a special video message. “That’s what the United Nations is all about,” he said, asking people everywhere to join together, on this anniversary. “The United Nations not only stands with you; the United Nations belong to you and is you: we the peoples.”

“History teaches that we are more effective and relevant, if we empower people to support the societal transformation that we aspire together,” UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said, adding that accelerating progress towards the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework, and other internationally agreed development goals, is possible only through an enhanced multilateral cooperation and development partnership.

In January 2020, the UN also launched the UN75 initiative. Dubbed the world’s largest conversation, thousands of people shared their hopes and fears for the future, as well as their expectations of international cooperation and of the UN in particular. When asked where we should be in 25 years, most responses focused on human rights, environmental protection, tackling inequalities and better access to education. Respondents also cited climate change and environmental issues as the most influential trends for the future.

Several dignitaries and eminent persons also shared messages reflecting on the organisation’s 75-year journey and the way forward. They included Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano, Kazakhstan foreign minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Maldives foreign minister Abdulla Shahid, foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Republic of Korea foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha, Russian ambassador to Thailand Evgeny Tomikhin, chairperson of China Disabled Persons’ Federation Haidi Zhang, Fung Group senior advisor Barbara Meynert, former Pacific Community director general Dr Collin Tukuitonga, Asia director of the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration Elenita Dano, special adviser to the UN secretary-general Fabrizio Hochschild and 75-year old former staff ESCAP member Pudpong Ujjin.

The discussions also brought to light what is needed for change to take root, from embracing sustainability in individual choices to policy support for social enterprises.

No comments: