2021 Global Peace Convention Hosts Youth Forum on Achieving 2030 UN SDGs
According to UN estimates, youth between ages 15 and 24 years represented one in every six persons worldwide in 2019. Some one billion young people will try to enter the job market over the next decade according to World Bank projections, but less than half will find jobs, potentially exacerbating inequalities and social and political instability.
Addressing a Global Peace and Development Service forum, Youth Enterprise and Social Innovation: Achieving the 2030 Goals for Sustainable Peace and Development, on August 11, Kenyan philanthropist and industrialist Dr. Manu Chandaria reminded participants from around the world that youths “are blessed with the free gift of energy and dynamism.” He encouraged them to transform challenges into opportunities through acknowledgement of reality, mending relationships, personal integrity, and a strategic mindset and character that emphasizes “service to others.”
The forum, convened as part of the 2021 Global Peace Convention, was the culmination of a series of regional buildup summits and capacity building and action initiatives in Africa, the Americas, and South and Northeast Asia, with a strategic objective of achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Experts and field managers examined best practices in the thematic areas relating to the sustainable development goals, including the environment, peacebuilding, and employment and youth enterprise in the midst of the COVID pandemic and beyond.
Panelists emphasized that service, youth enterprise and social innovation are essential in achieving sustainable goals.
Service and volunteerism “is very complex, adapting to changing social, economic, and ecological realities,” said Dr. Markanday Rai, president of the Global Peace and Development Service Alliance. With an estimated one billion volunteers involved globally, Rai said, “volunteering is universal. Studies confirm that women take more of a role, yet volunteers come from all sectors, from youth to retirement age.”
Service and volunteerism cross all national, ethnic, and ideological boundaries and are a catalyst for peace, speakers said. Regional and national service alliances are a powerful means of inclusion of often-marginalized groups. Volunteer programs also support development, entrepreneurship and opportunity, while volunteers can learn new skills and develop an ethic of service to others.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
The forum highlighted youth social enterprise competition participants from Nepal, Mongolia and Philippines who shared their innovative projects.
In the three breakout rooms where the model projects were shared, experts and professionals engaged with participants based on themes of Youth Environment Tourism- South Asia and Africa Model; Youth Leadership- South East Asia Model; and Youth Training and Movement- Americas and Northeast Asia Model.
Youth Environment Tourism- South Asia and Africa Model
Global Peace Foundation Nepal President Ram Rohan Panta presented the Peace, Environment and Tourism (PET) Model in Nepal for sustainable development through cross cultural initiatives. Joining him in the session, Kiragenda Sinan, Program Coordinator for Global Peace and Development Service Alliance Uganda, talked about the Ecobrixs Green Enterprise Model in Uganda, with a closed-loop plastic recycling model for sustainable development that has created awareness as well as more green jobs for women and persons with disabilities.
Youth Leadership- South East Asia Model
Jatume Thuenmuenwai, Chief Coordinator of IGEN Thailand, shared about the Peace and Youth Leadership model in Thailand where youths are appointed as “Youth Peace Ambassadors” for sustainable peace, starting with self-actualization. GPF Program Development Assistant for Youth Initiatives Fahly Poblete talked about Global Youth Summit model as a platform for youth leadership and project incubation for solutions that benefit the society with 3 Es (Equip, Engage, Empower) and 3Ds (Design, Develop and Deliver).
Youth Training and Movement- Americas and Northeast Asia Model
Vinicius Mendes, Founder of BESOURO Brazil, shared about the BESOURO Model of youth entrepreneurship and social transformation training. He talked about empowering youths and the socially vulnerable through technical skills and providing resources for their entrepreneurship journey.
Nomunsor Soronzonbold, Assistant Director of My Club Tree Planting, said the One Million Trees Movement had the goal to improve the environment and foster sustainable development by fostering citizens who love and care for nature. The movement has resulted in the planting of over a million trees in Mongolia.
“Become a change agent in your own community and in your life,” said David Caprara, Strategic Adviser for GPDSA, encouraging youths to continue in their path of innovation, impact and change. In concluding remarks, Nicholas Lee, Secretary General GPDSA asked participants to reflect on the past and think about where one is at present and live for the sake of others, taking responsibility for planet and the next generation for lasting peace.
The 2021 Global Peace Convention is a bi-annual assembly of the Global Peace Foundation. The August 6-15 convening hosted some 30 sessions in eight thematic tracks, highlighting values-based peacebuilding, innovations in education, women and youth leadership, international religious freedom, and advances toward a peaceful, reunified Korea.