I attended the 4th annual ECOSOC Youth Forum last week at the UN. I also attended the this forum several years. This year’s forum was two-day event. As I expected, the bulk of the forum focused on the role of young people in the post 2015 agenda. This year marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of ambitious goals by UN member states that was adopted at the set of this century. The goals were to be accomplished by the end of 2015. The UN is slowly moving the conversation away from the MDGs to sustainable development goals (SDGs) as part of a broader post 2015 agenda.
The first session I attended focused on Africa’s youth in shaping good governance and economic opportunities. The panel, moderated by Sierra Leone native Chernor Bah (I spoke to him briefly during check-in), and consisted entirely of young people (ages 15-35 as defined by the UN) from Africa. A genuine and sometimes heated discussion about young girls in Africa during this session perfectly set the stage for the next session, which focused exclusively on gender equality. The lively Femi Oke, a reporter for Al Jazeera, moderated this panel. One of my good friends from college who works for the Angolan mission to the UN invited me to a special session on programs for youth in the Francophone countries. This was probably the best session I attended all day as the speakers laid out a concise and actionable plan for youth in those countries.