Director of Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT, Douglas Ragan presents at APPDSA Northeast Seoul Forum 2015

Global Peace Foundation
October 8, 2015

“The Role of Korea in Sustainable Development”
October 8th, 2015

Honored guests, NGO representiatives, our partners the the Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) with its co-convening organizations including the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Global Peace Foundation (GPF), Korea Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR).

I am honored to be invited here to speak at the first inagurual Global Forum on the Role of Republic of Korea in sustainable development. Over the last 3 years I and UN-Habitat have been blessed to work with the youth of Korea in advancing sustainable development globally. In doing our work we have found that the youth of ROK demonstrate the know how and experience of the Korean people, a people that have the unique experience of developing from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the most economically advanced.

The know-how and experience ROK has gained from this transition, represented in its youth, are invaluable assets that can be nutured and built on, to take on the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next 20 years. This Forum has highlighted the role of ROK in global service and development, engaging youth to enhance development and peace and scaling up successful programs and models. The success of this Forum will be in how in moving forward all those attending here work together, becoming more than the sum of our parts. Important to our working partnership will as well be how we partner with young people, who are not only leaders of tomorrow, but leaders of today.

To truly unlock the potential of youth, we must bring them on as full partners in our work, recognizing their unique skills and knowledge. Valuable as well is the peer to peer aspect of development, with most of the developing world being very youthful – some countries we are working with have near 70% of its population under the age of 30 – Korean youth through UN-Habitat programmes have been jointly designing and delivering programmes youth Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria to name a few places. One example of new programmes we have developed is the Innovate Kenya programme which brings together Korean youth, private sector companies such as Samsung, the Community Chest of Korea and local youth and communities in Kenya. Currently through this programme we are building 6 youth, ICT and entrepreneurship centre in schools and informal settlements.

These centres seek to unlock the potential of Kenyan youth through elearning entrepreneurship programmes, and training in app and programme development. We hope to expand this programme to 3 other countries in the next year. We at UN-Habitat give our full support to our partners and the Republic of Korea in this endeavour. We believe that the enhanced knowledge and understanding regarding development issues linked to youth and community are critical to the ROK. We also believe taht there is excellent potential for the development of a partnership platform that can facilitate the sharing of knowledge and discussion on youth and development issues. and solutions. This Forum is a call to action, and we at UN-Habiatt are here to respond.

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