By Arjan Chakma, member at MY WORLD2030 Asia Pacific
Most of the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh are still unaware of the SDGs. In this article, we will be focusing on the climate change effects on Indigenous communities of Bangladesh and the importance of indigenous people human rights defenders(IPHRDs).
A workshop of indigenous peoples human rights defenders in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Not only as a human rights defender but also as an active youth citizen of the country, there are some responsibilities we must execute, which will help to implement the SDGs more sustainably. We see that today’s youths are more open and accepting diversity than before. They are additionally happier with working or being neighbors with somebody of an alternate race or nationality.On March 23, 2019, the government of Bangladesh officially recognized 50 indigenous communities instead of 27 by issuing a gazette notification, which is a good action of forming a united whole. Though there is a controversy on the total number of communities added in the list. We can hope that by this gazette notification, indigenous communities’ participation will increase in every institution which will result in more peace, stability and effective governance in Bangladesh. But we must say, a significant procedure has started which associating the SDGs straightforwardly to those most marginalized groups.
Throughout my experience, I learned more than I ever expected. I networked with the most astute and pleasant individuals I’ve ever met. Realized how grassroots level workers play a vital role in the betterment of Indigenous communities. They work as a counselor and human rights defender simultaneously. Before the pieces of training and workshops, most of the indigenous communities did not know about their rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.A few days ago, IPHRDs spoke upon various issues at a workshop held in Dhaka. The workshop aimed to strengthen the network, coordination among the IPHRDs of Bangladesh, share and learn the present regional human rights situations through the representatives.Participation in public life and access to land is very significant for indigenous communities to survive. Some countries have already declared that “Indigenous people groups” are among the first to confront the immediate outcomes of environmental change, because of their reliance upon, and cozy relationship, with the earth and its assets. Unfortunately, indigenous peoples in rural and remote areas are mostly unaware of their civil rights hence they easily fall into traps and are deceived.
Climate change is already affecting the many areas of Chittagong Hill Tracts. For example, illegal stone extraction and continuous stone-mining are turning Bandarban (One of the Hill districts) into a desert. Besides, the depletion of local natural resources, pollution and waste problems, gradual deforestation are also affecting the local indigenous communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region because of unplanned tourism development activities. Meanwhile, the eco-travel industry offers a greener option.The novel connection among indigenous groups and their territories has been extensively perceived in international human rights law. So Bangladeshi government must safeguard the special connection of indigenous peoples and their territories by which that ensures their social, cultural and economic survival.
By Rizky Ashar Murdiono, MY World 2030 Advocate in Indonesia
Angga Dwi Martha – “Now the world is currently undergoing drastic changes in climate change, social and economic inequality, to politic and humanity crisis. Youths are usually faced with situations in which they do not have a safe space to move, to talk and to explore their potentials. With social media and other online communication platforms, youths have figured out a new way to include and innovate themselves to create a virtual and physical space for their own growth. Currently, creative art spaces like; music, poetry and digital media have significant roles on creating these spaces.”
Jakarta 11 August 2018 – 2030 Youth Force Indonesia held a Talk show and workshop in commemorating International Youth Day 2018 (IYD 2018). The event that was held in Google Office Indonesia was specifically for youths aged 15 till 30 who were interested in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have the knowledgeable skills in the arts and literacy. The event that took the theme Safe Spaces For Youth “Freedom Of Expression: The Power Of Youth To Challenge Harmful Narratives”consists of 2 (two) session of activities which are Talk show and Workshop. We also introduced the programs that aimed to raise awareness on the attainment of SDGs, for instance ASEAN My World 2030, SDGs Plogging and SDGs Song.
The Talk show session invited the representatives from Google Indonesia, Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia, Ministry of National Development (Bappenas) and UNDP as the speakers. This session discussed about the roles of art and literacy in combating harmful narratives. Creative counter-narratives will play a significant role in tackling the above mentioned problems. Counter-narratives are a message that offers a positive alternative to extremist propaganda or aim to deconstruct or delegitimize extremist narrative, this could involve focusing on what youth are interested in, by offering positives stories about shared values, open mindedness, and diversity.
65 total number of participants that had been selected were divided into 3 (three) group of Workshop class according to their own interests of arts. The Workshop class consisted of Poetry class, Digital Creative class and Performing Art class that mentored by the experts. The Poetry class was mentored by Bentara Bumi as the initiator of Malam Puisi, the Digital Creative class was mentored by Cameo Project (Creator for Changes from Indonesia) and Performing Art class was mentored by Jakarta Performing Art Community (JPAC). During 2 hours, the participants got insights from the facilitator about how to transform dialogue peace into art and literacy.
What makes the Workshop class interesting and different is the project behind it, the participants are expected to make an output from the workshop that they choose. on 19 August, the participants will be performed in front of the audice to share their creativity and art on peace. the following activity include peace and charity performance.
After participating in the Talk show and Workshop, all the participants are expected to bring changes to the community, especially to fellow youths to combat harmful narratives such as violent extremism, hate speech, bullying online and black campaign. From there onwards, safe spaces will be made to maximize the potentials of youth so that they can contribute more to the community.
By Katina Grigoraskos, MY World 2030 Advocate in Malaysia
In many cultures in Asia, paddy milled into rice is the energy-giving, life-sustaining source of food for the majority. Food security has become one of the government fundamental agendas and it is essential for the overall development. Furthermore, the government has emphasized that food security is synonymous with rice security. Many paddy fields have even made way for the more lucrative use of the land – the building of residential housing and shops.
The goal of the Penang Paddy festival is to raise awareness to the hardships of paddy farmers, especially among the younger generation. At the same time, it is also to bring attention to the rapid urbanization of Seberang Perai, where many tracts of agriculture lands are being converted.
On 6 August 2018 Penang State Legislative Assembly, YB Dr. Norlela, State Assembly Person for Penanti, Penang, Malaysia raise the issues of conversion paddy land to housing and commercial purposes. She is aware of the 102.18 hectares of paddy land that been converted. She hopes to save the remaining 396 hectares paddy field in Kampung Terus and Guar Jering. She promotes this awareness by Penang International Paddy Festival programme. ASEAN My World 2030 Advocate, Nadhilah Razak said on this coming August 12 we are planning to celebrate the International Youth Day by collaborate with Penang International Paddy Festival which will happened on the 11th & 12th August 2018 at Kampung Terus, Permatang Pauh, Malaysia. YB Dr. Norlela and YB Nurul Izzah will be the main organizer for this programme as they will become one of the Malaysia My World Stories for this UN SDG Action Campaign.
YOUTHS FOR SDGS IN THAILAND
By Katina Grigoraskos, MY World 2030 Advocate in Thailand
On November 3 & 4, 2018, international school students from all over Thailand participated in the first ever Youths for SDGs conference hosted at Wells International School.
Youths for SDGs is an academic event that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and strives to be a part of this universal call to action. The event’s objectives included raising awareness to the SDGs, creating a network of youths passionate about making change, and promoting creativity in finding solutions towards current local issues. With those objectives in mind, the event consists of three activities: the Breakout Session, the SDG Quest, and the Case Challenge. High school Youth Leaders led the discussions and activities in the Breakout Session and SDG Quest.
The Breakout Session is an interactive discussion where participants get to explore different themes of SDGs. The SDG Quest is a game where randomly-grouped participants can collaborate in exploring fun activities and booths related to the SDGs. The Case Challenge presents a current real-life local issue to the teams to find creative and feasible solutions to.
High school students from international schools were given the opportunity to network and share ideas, as well as capitalize on their creativity and problem-solving skills. A total of almost 150 students from 14 international schools all over Thailand participated in this event. Schools came from other areas of Thailand, such as Hua Hin and Phuket, to join in the event as well.
The event started off with the opening ceremony, where the conference director and initiator of Youths for SDGs, Prima Pupornchai (Wells’ Class of 2015 alumna) gave a welcoming speech. This was followed by a speech from our guest speaker Mr. Sorawit Paiboonrattanakorn, who gave an inspiring speech about establishing Saturday School, a social enterprise where volunteers taught children life skills on Saturdays.
Then the students headed to their respective discussion rooms for the Breakout Session, led by youth leaders. There are six themes, which covers all of the Global Goals. The themes include:
In the Case Challenge, the participants got back together with their teams of three and received the case for this year’s challenge. The theme of this year’s case, Waste Management in Thailand, was revealed. The teams had two and a half hours of case cracking time to find a solution and make a presentation. The following day was the presentation day, which consists of 3 rounds: the preliminary round, the semifinal round, and the final round.
The judges for the semifinal and final rounds were Ms. Chutima Pratheepkongjaroen, Social Impact Manager at Local Alike, Dr. Kallaya Suntornvongsagul, Environmental Researcher and Professor at Chulalongkorn University, and Ms. Qi Xue, UN Volunteer & SDG Research and Advocacy Officer at UNDP.
The winner was team Satit Kaset IP. Their idea was to create an application called MyWaste, which tackles food and plastic waste in Thailand by incentivising people to lower their consumption by earning points in the app. There was a 5,000 baht seed capital for the winning team to to implement a small scale version of their solution.
The closing ceremony concluded the event with a video recap and a closing speech from the conference director, Prima Pupornchai.
Overall, the event has inspired many students to learn more about the SDGs and to create change in the society. It was a very fun, productive, and memorable weekend.
Thank you to our partners, sponsors, school advisors, students and, guests for your wonderful support for this youth initiative. This event was truly an event for youths, by youths.
A group of young SDGs Advocates in the ASEAN region share their experiences being volunteers for the MYWorld survey to raise awareness about the 2030 agenda. Their report and achievements will be presented at the ASEAN Summit on the last day of the Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.
Youth advocates from Cambodia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia take action for the SDGs!
Between June 2018 and March 2019, a total of 60 local events were organized in 9 countries, reaching over 10,000 people. Students, youth, volunteer-based organizations, representatives from marginalized groups and at-risk populations had their say on the SDGs. These unstoppable SDG Advocates dedicated between 100–120 hours/month organizing SDG workshops and Youth Forums on SDGs, partnering with their universities and inviting students, academia and civil society to their events in their countries. Meet the inspiring stories of their journey being a MYWorld volunteer in their local communities!
Dina and “MY Action For SDGs”
“MY Action For SDGs” is a campaign which aims to raise awareness of the SDGs, particularly among youth and children in Brunei Darussalam. Behind the campaign is Dina, who has collected 581 votes so far for MYWorld survey. She also represented Brunei at the ASEAN Women’s Leadership Academy in Jakarta, after being nominated by the Young Southeast Asian Leaders (YSEALI) programme in April 2018. Currently, she is involved in Global Shapers Bandar Seri Begawan and WeCare whose overall aim is to shape employability and provide humanitarian aid respectively. Read Dina’s blog about her experience
Nen & Ky in Cambodia
There are 8 SDG Advocates in Cambodia. They are located in several cities in Cambodia, and together they collected more than 3,000 votes. Among them, Nen Neou has a special characteristic: he was raised in a Buddhist family and he has been a Buddhist monk in Theravada tradition for 7 years. Nen collected 2,068 online votes and 137 offline votes among religious communities. As a Buddhist monk himself, he visited several Buddhist high schools in August 2018 to raise awareness for the SDGs and collect MYWorld 2030 votes, including offline in Khmer language. Ky Veasna is also an SDG Advocate in Cambodia and the president of the ASEAN Youth Leaders Association. He led an introduction session for students on MY World 2030 and the SDGs at the University of Cambodia (September 2018). In collaboration with several NGOs such as WaterAid Cambodia and government representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry for Tourism, he also moderated a panel discussion on young people’s roles on SDG Goal 6 for Clean Water and Sanitation. This discussion kicked off a 3-day camp and the launch of a campaign in Cambodia focused on sanitation, called “Saart Cheanich” (Always Clean). Currently, he has been leading two projects on Water and Sanitation and Combatting Trafficking in Persons in eight provinces across Cambodia. He works with international and local NGOs, governments, young people and local communities.
Nur & her experience with the SDGs and the Indonesian Television
There are currently 8 SDG Advocates who have collected more than 8,000 votes in Indonesia. One of the Indonesian SDG Advocates, Nur Hayyu Supriatin, promoted the SDGs and the ASEAN MYWorld 2030 initiative on the famous Indonesian Broadcasting System or RRI (Radio Republik Indonesia) Sorong. She also organized a public discussion on “Improving Human Development Index in West Papua with SDGs” with the support from the Youth Changemakers Sorong organization located in West Papua. Her work as a MYWorld volunteer has contributed to creating a meaningful dialogue between citizens and their local government representatives. Nur is a journalist that also writes a storybook for Kasimle’s village children to increase their reading interest. Read more about her experience here!
Singapore and the food waste campaign
Taking action with MYWorld 2030 Advocates Programme
Dina, Nen, Kyn, Nur and Shafka are part of the ASEAN MY World 2030 Advocates Programme that was set up in June 2018. Under the leadership of the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and the UN SDG Action Campaign, they have the opportunity to take a leadership role and carry out a series of advocacy activities in all 10 ASEAN countries. They were selected based on gender/ thematic area/ geographic criteria. Currently. there are 21 men and 29 women, professionals in education, climate change and social entrepreneurship areas. The program encourages them to place a strong emphasis on marginalized and vulnerable groups: children, women and girls, economically-disadvantaged people, persons with disabilities, LGBTI+ groups, indigenous people, refugees and stateless persons. and marginalized groups. This way, they can really “leave no one behind”.
The results of their effort in local communities
All of the volunteers are doing a great job spreading awareness on their communities about the SDGs. The stories of the SDG Advocates can inspire a whole community to take action. Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Viet Nam have tailored MYWorld 2030 programmes to implement them this year. Strategic partners, such as the ASEAN Foundation, several universities and regional civil society partners and youth networks, such as 2030 Youth Force, AIESEC and JCI, are involved in promoting the survey at the local level. All the efforts are needed to get everybody in the ASEAN region aware of the Sustainable Development Goals also needs the compromise of everybody. Keep the work up!
Written by Marikris de Guzman and Jose Mateo dela Cruz, MY World 2030 Advocates in the Philippines
IN A WORLD WHERE SELFIES AND THE NEED TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA ALL THE EVENTS THAT ARE HAPPENING REAL-TIME ARE THE NORMS, HOW DO WE MAKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS NOT ACTUALLY SEEN ONLINE? THE ADVOCACY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BOILS DOWN TO PEOPLE.
One former Philippine president said to her successor then – It’s the economy, student! But what is the economy if it does not serve the people. We believe that the same is true for the global goals – the centrality of the goals boils down to the development of the people’s lives and their quality of living.
A crucial component of the programme is the ASEAN MY World 2030 survey, which was launched by the 10 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN and UNDP Administrator at the opening of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in September 2017. Through an online form, anyone can answer the survey and make their voice heard by the policymakers. An alternative to answering the online form is through a printed survey form. In addition to promoting the survey, advocates also conduct activities in their locality to promote awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and feature advocates to demonstrate their local actions.
To bring forth localization, we need to focus not just on theories but on the lived experiences of people. This is where MYWorld becomes relevant – the survey and the Humans of MYWorld features are attempting to get a glimpse of the realities of people and try to measure if the aspirations of the new development agenda have borne significant changes for their lives or not.
As part of our strategy to increase awareness of SDGs in the grassroots level, we have conducted the survey in provincial areas using printed forms to give more space for participation to people who are not easily connected to the internet in the north and south of the Philippines. We did this through tapping local networks from our social capital and mobilizing them to support the conduct of the survey.
For us advocates, we wanted to go beyond promoting the global goals online. We hope to help in generating discussions and developing solutions within our communities. We believe that the people need to be enlightened regarding the SDGs than to merely contemplate about these and appreciate the Global Goals through social media sharing or even posting the goals that mean strongly for you. We knew that what we were doing has inherent limitations. The awareness survey is just the first step in promoting the implementation of the goals. People and institutions alike should be informed about the global goals first. With awareness, we hope that this can spark actions from institutions and communities to build collaboration and partnerships toward localizing and achieving the global goals at the grassroots level.
With this, the real power of MYWorld as a platform comes in – it is bringing back the discussion of these lofty and ideal goals to the people who demanded for sustainable development years ago. Features, campaign hypes, and communication strategies are being done to make people work for the goals but are we venerating the goals as an idea without understanding the real end game?
This year, we are privileged to be part of the ASEAN MY World 2030 Programme which aims to empower young changemakers in the ASEAN region to take upon a leadership role for both the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, led by the United Nations SDG Action Campaign, the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and the UN Volunteers Asia-Pacific. Selected youth advocates from the region will lead and carry out a series of advocacy activities in order to raise awareness about both agendas and increase citizen engagement to inspire concrete actions on the ground.
The challenge here is how to create a society recognizing individual aspirations but collectively working for these shared goals. This means going beyond the comfort of the online space and going to the communities and people where development is greatly aspired for. The battle to make the goals a reality is still ongoing. It will not just end in an online campaign rather it will be a long march from one community to another to educate, advocate, and work together for the global goals. It is a battle for uplifting the lives of more than 7 billion people and preparing this generation and the next to create a sustainable future- a planet that each person can say: MYWorld – a world that we want!
Designed to empower Southeast Asian youth to tackle regional sustainability issues, Young Sustainable Impact Southeast Asia (YSI SEA)’s 14 week-long Innovation Programme 2018 came to an end on 30 July 2018. The programme brought forward 24 participants from across 8 Southeast Asian countries to kickstart solutions for select United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) faced in their local communities.
After a three-round selection process with 800 applicants, the Innovation Programme 2018 nurtured the 24 most promising participants to build 6 social impact startup teams focusing on the UN SDGs. The Innovation Programme 2018 consisted of two main components: the Online Innovation Programme and the Singapore Innovation Programme. The Online Innovation Programme was conducted on various virtual collaboration platforms. Over three months, participant teams were guided by expert mentors and YSI SEA’s curated course modules, from problem identification to developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for market validation.
YSI SEA then flew its participants down to Singapore on 19 July 2018 for the Singapore Innovation Programme. Over the next ten days, teams were able to accelerate their innovation process in each other’s physical presence. Five courses were conducted to prepare teams for pitching day and beyond. The participants also attended a workshop on the UN SDGs, the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the platforms available to them to take actions for the UN SDGs.
Pitching took place during the Singapore Sustainability Conference on 29 July 2018, to an invited group of angel and corporate investors, venture capitalists, accelerators and rotary members at the CDL Singapore Sustainability Academy.
Leveraging on their diverse geographical and technical backgrounds, all six teams displayed their creative prowess in fashioning innovative solutions to the SDGS in the ASEAN region.
While Agrireach created the Reach Cube to tackle poor irrigation and drainage systems in agricultural fields in Philippines’, Allyasia developed an e-commerce platform to empower indigenous communities in Southeast Asia by reimagining their cultural heritage and to provide them with sustainable livelihoods. Gatewaste pitched a mobile application to optimise the recycling system in in Jakarta, by mobilising and empowering scavengers.
When asked about her thoughts on the Innovation Programme 2018, Sophia Enage, a participant of the Innovation Programme 2018 and co-founder of Mushroomable, said, “YSI SEA opened so many opportunities for learning and sharing wisdom as well as actualizing passions in life. In this whirlpool of experiences, learning and realizations, I want and will create sustainable and positive waves that the world will enjoy just like how YSI SEA made it possible for me.” Her startup idea aims to empower farmers to manage agricultural waste effectively, by utilizing rice by-products to grow mushrooms.
The use of technology was apparent in the ideas generated by all the startups. With the goal of empowering healthcare providers in Philippines, Nutri-Alliance proposed an application that educates and supports healthcare providers, through access to digital information, education, and communication materials for healthcare and nutrition. Even Kembalikash, with the mission of educating Indonesian migrant workers f and their families in financial literacy, is working with industry leaders to provide an online payment and financial management platform.
Innovation Programme 2018 was a huge success, and the longevity of participants’ startup ideas for sustainable development will be seen to. These are made possible by a YSI SEA team which has worked tireless behind the scenes. “The whole YSI SEA team holds the SDGs closely to their hearts and their actions. We believe in the fundamental concept of leaving no one behind (and that includes mother nature) and the SDGs embody this concept perfectly”, said Sai Surya, the Managing Director of YSI SEA. “YSI SEA aims to empower these youth regardless of socio-economic backgrounds to solve the sustainable issues they are passionate about with a measurable impact. By creating impact-driven startups and impact-driven young leaders, we hope to push the SDGs and society forward,” he added.
YSI SEA is one of the regional chapters of Young Sustainable Impact (YSI Global). YSI Global was started in Oslo, Norway by a group of youths passionate about bringing young people around the world together to tackle sustainability problems. They saw a lack of startups in the field of sustainable development aimed at alleviating bigger world problems, and decided to bridge the gap between idea generation and impact, as well as engage youth in sustainability and entrepreneurship.
When asked why YSI Global chose Singapore and Southeast Asia to work in the field of sustainable development, Marcus Bruns, Co-founder and CEO of YSI Global commented, “When YSI Global expanded to new regions, we based our decision on the people who applied to start locally. Not only were we lucky to have a great team in Singapore, we also have a youth population of 213 million in the ASEAN region, which makes it a great arena for sustainable innovation and community engagement.”
In addition to the Singapore Sustainability Conference, YSI SEA also organized the Singapore Sustainability Showcase on the same day. Graced by the Guest of Honour, Minister of Social and Family Development and Second Minister of National Development Desmond Lee, the showcase brought different NGOs, social entrepreneurs and corporations together to share on various sustainability initiatives and innovation in Singapore and the region.
“Ultimately when you talk about sustainability, it is how do we endear into each and every one of us that we are nothing more than mere custodians and stewards – that we take what we need today to meet the needs of ourselves, our families, our communities and our societies,” said the minister when delivering the opening address.
The 400 registered attendees of the Showcase were given electronic goodie bags. Among others, the goodie bags featured the ASEAN MY World Survey, which made it convenient for the attendees to take the Survey both during and after the Showcase.
Since its inception in 2017, YSI SEA has received widespread support from organizations such as the Prime Minister’s Office Singapore, Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, World Vision Singapore and National Youth Council of Singapore. YSI Global has the network of 14,000 entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide united with the common goal of reaching the UN SDGs. By bringing together the energy of the youth around the world and by connecting them to private, national and global stakeholders, YSI Global and YSI SEA could create an ecosystem to solve some of the most crucial issues of the 21st century.
The opening of Startup Weekend Bruni Sustainable Development Goals took place on July 20th at the Progresif Cellular Headquarters in Gadong, Brunei.
The theme centered around the Sustainable Development Goals in which the teams’ startup ideas must incorporate at least one or more of the 17 SDGs.
With only 54 hours to put their idea into action, the teams were guided by mentors from a wide range of entrepreneurial backgrounds and the SDG mentor was Nurul Hadina Haji Alias, the ASEAN MY World 2030 Advocate for Brunei.
A team made up of entrepreneurs used their expertise and knowledge to create a workshop filled with challenging yet fun activities to bring participants out of their comfort zone. From learning how to pitch and make a business model canvas, to networking with students from different colleges and universities, whilst providing them with the tools to bridge gaps between trades, the whole event strives to expose the youth’s potential business idea and see those translated into ideas.
Nine teams consisting of youths from different higher institutions and non-government organizations presented their startup idea as the first step to #Act4SDGs in Brunei.
By identifying areas of concern and doing research on marketability, three teams were successful in hitting the judges’ criteria for customer validation, execution and design whilst being a feasible business model.
In the third place was Tambang.bn for coming up with an idea for water taxi connectivity for Kampong Ayer.
In the second place, Pen of Hope, who came up with a business idea for bamboo pens with vegetable seeds.
And the first place went to Trash 4 Recycle (T4R), whose business idea is to make an annual planer with recycled paper.
Afiq Mohammed, who is part of the organizing team, shared with us that, “with Startup Weekend Brunei Sustainable Development Goals, it enabled more youths and leaders to create more solutions to problems that are not only faced in Brunei but also globally. We are hoping to see a lot of ideas emerge from the event that can leave a greater impact by providing support to those in need. Over 30 sustainable ideas were generated from 53 participants. Each idea was carefully refined and the teams were guided by mentors from diversified backgrounds and organizations.”
He concludes by saying “Although we introduced this platform through entrepreneurship, it allows the participants to see beyond making money but making a positive difference for others. It encourages them to be more aware of their surroundings and be more compassionate for others.”
We really hope to see more of these initiatives to support the youth and the generation now to take action for global goals.
From Nepal to New York for Peace
Co-founder of 2030 Youth Force Nepal
In April 2017, I saw an application announcement for a consultation program on Youth, Peace and Security. When I came to read the word ‘Peace’, my childhood memories came to mind. I remember the day when I was afraid of being kidnapped by a local insurgent group, just because I was the daughter of a retired army officer. We hardly ever got any sleep, as the sound of bomb blasts kept us awake. I missed school on many days because of regular strikes. Growing up in rural Nepal, I faced conflict up close during my childhood. Later on, the civil war stopped, but there was no ‘positive peace’. As Nepal is a multi-ethnic country, some of the marginalized communities are still protesting for their rights. This is a cause I care about, and which has led me to organize a media campaign to keep harmony and unity among different castes and ethnic groups. I always had the dream to contribute to peace building at the global level too. These were my thoughts when reading the application announcement site.
In December of 2015, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2250, on Youth, Peace and Security, the first resolution fully dedicated to the positive role young people can and do play in conflict prevention, the prevention of violent extremism and peacebuilding. UN SCR 2250 mandates the UN Secretary-General “to carry out a progress study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution, in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels”, and to present the results of the Study to Member States of the United Nations. The application announcement was for the regional consultation in Asia-Pacific, part of a series of consultations organized for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security.
I applied for the event on behalf of 2030 Youth Force, the Asia-Pacific youth network working on the Sustainable Development Goals, as I am one of the co-founders of the organization. I received the confirmation email with great happiness. It was my privilege and an honor to be a part of the Asia-Pacific Regional Consultation on Youth, Peace and Security conducted in Bangkok on 16-17 May 2017. During the regional consultation, I met 42 young peacebuilders from across the Asia-Pacific region. We discussed recommendations regarding the strategic support young peace builders need. The final recommendations were shaped in five different categories: Support for Youth Organizations/initiatives, Mechanisms for the Implementation of UN SCR 2250, Political Inclusion, Education and Social Media.
Six months after the regional consultation, I received another invitation to attend the Validation Program on the Progress Study of Youth, Peace and Security 2250, which was going to take place in New York on 18-19 November. The event was jointly organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)/PBSO Secretariat for the Progress Study, with support from the Government of Canada. Again, I was extremely happy to receive the invitation, but also aware of my responsibility: this time, I was not only representing Nepal, I was representing young peacebuilders from the entire Asia-Pacific region. I had the huge responsibility to speak and amplify the voice of all the young peacebuilders.
I started to read all the reports from the different regional consultations, which were conducted in seven different regions: Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East and Southern Africa, Europe, Latin America-Caribbean, and West Africa between December 2016 and September 2017. The recommendations from the other regions were similar to the ones from the Asia-Pacific, which made me feel like all the young peacebuilders around the world have the same challenges as us. They also want to feel secure for working in the peace sector. Though we represent our respective regions, which are very different from each other not only geographically but also culturally, all of us shared the same enthusiasm and similar challenges working on building peace.
Finally, the day came and 18 peacebuilders from all the seven regions gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters on 18 November at 9:45 am. We greeted each other with smiles and handshakes. As the program started, I was fascinated by the amazing discussions. Over the two-day program, we not only discussed the recommendations from the regional consultations; we also prioritized the most important recommendations, refined them, and tried to make them more specific and practical. We focused on some of the most important recommendations, such as ensuring political inclusion for young people, creating online and offline platforms for young peacebuilders to learn and share their experiences, resolving the violence of exclusion, ensuring economic inclusion for women and minorities, and collaborating with national and local government bodies to create an action plan for the implementation of UN SCR 2250.
We want our voice to be heard. Young people are not only sources of information to be consulted briefly. We are equal partners who can take the lead on strategic action. We look forward to raising awareness of and implementing the Youth, Peace and Security movement globally.
By Rejinel Valencia
I come from the Philippines, a society where youth are too old to be irresponsible yet too young to assume responsibilities. In our country, people from both the government and our own citizens, are still having a hard time grasping the true essence of genuine youth participation