‘Keep talking,’ urges UN chief in message to World Youth Forum

NEW YORK – Although everyone has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on young people has been “particularly heartbreaking,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

In a video message to the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, he urged participants to help shape a better world after the crisis, in line with the theme of the conference.

“Building a better future starts today. So, to the young people who participate in this forum, continue to express yourselves. Continue to identify the solutions and actions we need to recover.

The Secretary-General spoke about some of the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the world’s youth.

Call for change

Over 1.6 billion people have seen their education cut short, while unemployment among their ranks has risen.

Young people have also seen their access to services such as healthcare and counseling reduced, during a difficult period for mental health.

At the same time, they have intensified.

“On the streets and online, they are calling for change – demanding equality, peace, justice and action in the face of the climate crisis,” the Secretary-General said.

“They support each other, in their neighborhood and on social networks. And through events like this, they provide ideas and solutions on how communities can rebuild themselves and emerge stronger from the pandemic. “

Message to leaders

The forum will run until Thursday and will be held under the theme of Back Together: The World After COVID-19, which, according to the UN chief, recalls that there is no time to waste.

After urging young people to continue speaking out, the Secretary-General also sent a message to the leaders and decision-makers present.

“As you seek to recover, look to the young,” he advised. “Young people are an incredible source of ideas and innovative solutions. Their needs must come first in policy and investment discussions.

Guterres said he looked forward to hearing the results of the forum and working with attendees to shape a better future, beyond the pandemic.

Peace, Development, Creativity

Discussions at the World Youth Forum revolve around three axes: peace, development and creativity.

It was first held in Sharm el-Sheikh in November 2017, according to the official website.

The initiative was developed by a group of young Egyptians at the National Youth Conference in April, who came up with the idea of ​​starting a dialogue with their counterparts around the world.

Since then, three sessions have taken place, the last one taking place in 2019. – UN News

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