Wolrd Youth Forum Promo Poster - Photo Courtesy Of World Youth Forum Official Facebook Page
CAIRO – 5 November 2017: From November 4-10, Egypt’s first World
Forum (WYF) is taking place under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi; bringing together more than 3,000 participants representing 113 states, with 52 official international delegations as well as youth leaders at Sharm El-Sheikh city in South Sinai.
With the theme “We Need to Talk;” the forum represents an opportunity for convening on youth development and engagement issues as well as discussing and reviewing progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
both by and for youth.
The WYF aligns with the overarching theme of the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 that focuses on three main themes; economy, environment and social dimension with special attention to specific segments of the society including youth, women and people with disabilities. Egypt vision 2030 is strongly guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will be thoroughly discussed during the forum.
To illustrate the importance of youth, as future leaders and drivers of change today, to achieving the development of Egypt, the 2030 development vision was officially launched in the National Youth Conference in February 2016. It was introduced as a roadmap to tackle vital issues like government efficiency, economic development, knowledge, innovation and scientific research, energy, health, education, and capacity building to reach a prosperous future.
Youth engagement is central to development and global stability, and it is important that young people take the lead as agents for their own development rather than beneficiaries. Furthermore, plans and programs should be shaped by youth rather than for youth. This implies meaningful engagement of young people as active contributors to the decision-making, programs design as well as mainstreaming their issues across all policies and advocacy efforts in their respective countries.
Through youth engagement, states can catalyze positive change socially and economically. States can also create better services, opportunities and needed support for young people in specific and the whole community in general to develop in a healthy way.
The WYF explicitly translates the set approaches in Egypt’s vision 2030 to achieve sustainable development within the aforementioned developmental themes within the next 15 years. The forum reflects the political awareness of the country to the sensitivity of the current political and social changes on national, regional and global levels including the increase in the youth population. It illustrates Egypt’s understanding of the notion that in order for young people to be truly engaged, they must be active and involved participants.
In its strategy Egypt has set three stages to achieve sustainable development by 2030, these stages are; the return of Egyptian foreign policy to its normal position, recovery, and progress. Since the launch of the strategy, Egypt has been keen to work in parallel on all stages.
The WYF serves as an initiative that enables Egypt to take the leadership in political international and regional movements that aim to activate young people’s role in combating terrorism and managing strategic relations with major powers. Moreover, the dialogue at the forum serves as an opportunity to ensure stronger engagement of youth to understand what they are doing and what is expected from them.
It also gears power towards a strong youth-adult partnership structure, a universal structure followed to ensure stronger engagement of youth, that leads to both generations learning and understanding each other. This approach empowers youth and creates an opportunity for them to be equal partners with adults. In such models, both adults and young people need to be fully engaged, open to change in how things are done, and share a unified vision for the partnership.
In such experiences, adults would understand what it is like to grow up in a rapidly changing world and youth would practice their basic right of civic engagement that prepares them to be active citizens in their countries. Young people would also express the needs of their peers as they are the experts of their own experience. They would also have the chance to present their innovative ideas and solutions to current challenges and global problems.
Moreover, involving youth as partners in making decisions that affect them increases the likelihood that the decisions will be accepted, adopted, and become part of their everyday lives. In addition, empowering youth to identify and respond to community needs helps them become empathetic, reflective individuals, setting them on a course to potentially continue this important work in their future.
A point to be taken into consideration, is paying similar attention to the way forward after the WYF concludes. Making sure that recommendations are implemented is very important to avoid dissolution and distrust between participating young people in the forum and states’ leaders.
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