It is hard to believe sometimes how a continent, whose difficulties have been known throughout history, can set aside those obstacles and focus on overcoming those barriers to a better future. This is broadly the conclusion that can be drawn after attending the African Youth Forum and witnessing their role in the SDGs approved by the 193 members of the United Nations
The event took place in New York on 25 September. Unlike the formality of the parallel SDG events at the Headquarters of the United Nations, this was characterized by its sobriety and informality. Those present, including a strong representation of YED, were able to see first-hand that young Africans are not waiting for the public authorities to move forward. They are seeking the cooperation and move forward ceaselessly with a view to improving their environment.
One of the most important voices of the African Youth Forum, Rotini was in charge of opening and introducing the event. He explained the goals being pursued at the meeting. That is to say, the participation of young people in the implementation of the SDGs in Africa. He then introduced the speakers but, before each one started, a number of videos were screened. The first one set out the situation of young people in the continent, and the second one presented a message from the Special Envoy for Youth of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Jordanian, Allendawi.
After this, Ravi Karkara from UN Woman took the floor. In his speech, he commended the role played by the Africa Youth Forum in their countries and announced his continued support. He mentioned several problems facing young people in Africa, one of which is youth unemployment.
After this, he spoke of the International Campaign for Youth Employment, which we are promoting at YED.
After Karkara, an activist of the African Youth Panel took the floor and passed on her enthusiasm and determination to reverse the situation to those present. Rather than concentrating on the problems, she spoke of how society should and can cooperate among different levels to achieve the goals.
The event concluded with the Danish representative at the United Nations speaking about her experience in Africa. She mentioned that young people play an essential role in this regard, emphasising the need to become involved in government.
In the final analysis we can see that, for one of the continents with the greatest projection of young people in the world, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are of capital importance, as could be seen in the various speeches on the SDGs by people invited by the African Youth Forum. We must praise the potential of these young people and their desire to start from a local level, cooperating with various agents, and ultimately to continue spreading throughout the country.