31 January 2024, Geneva, Switzerland – UNITAR and the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in Shanghai (CIFAL Shanghai) proudly re-launched and hosted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Youth Empowerment Seminar for Change-makers at UNITAR headquarters on the 25th of January 2024.
The seminars convened 35 students from Shanghai, aiming to empower them as active participants in the UN SDGs. Each session provided valuable insights into UNITAR's mission and the UN's role in fostering global cooperation for the SDGs. Participants had the opportunity to acquire knowledge, interact with experts, and draw inspiration for their contributions to the SDGs. Additionally, the seminar included a field visit to the Palais des Nations, enhancing participants' understanding of the historical site.
The seminars featured guest lectures from UNITAR, such as Mr Julian Caletti from the Division for Multilateral Diplomacy, Ms. Adriana Lopez and Mr. Stephen Joyce from the Division for People who offered participants stimulating lectures to discover ways that youth can participate in contributing to meeting the goals of the 2030 agenda. Mr. Jonas Haertle, Chief, Office of Executive Director offered opening remarks to these lectures and stated:
CIFAL Shanghai plays a crucial role in delivering international and domestic training programmes in cooperation with various Ministries and local governments in China. I encourage you all to involve yourself with the thematic areas that CIFAL Shanghai is committed to and engage with the SDGs which all of you have a part to play.
During the seminar, Mr. Caletti further remarked:
If there’s one thing I’d like you to take away from my presentation today, is what daily action can each of you act on if you select just one of the SDGs that you’re passionate about.
In the last lecture, participants were invited to engage in answering questions on the SDGs through a “spin the wheel’ activity. When asked, “How can you use their influence to educate their peers about the importance of clean water and sanitation, fostering a sense of responsibility for the environment among their community members?” regarding SDG 6, one participant responded, “Volunteer, raise awareness of these issues, or simply just go and clean up the beach. It's a beautiful place, and I feel it's important to keep it in good shape”. Everyone has a role to contribute regarding the SDGs. No matter a person's age or disposition, it’s the little things that count. Through collective daily actions, each individual’s role in the SDGs builds towards the progress of achieving the objectives in Agenda 2030.
Following engaging lectures, participants delivered presentations discussing the role of youth in influencing the SDGs. These presentations emphasized the significance of adapting unique targets and indicators to China's context, acknowledging its widespread impact. UNITAR officials shared insights to guide participants in their SDG impact and instilled a sense of empowerment as they strive to be active agents of change. In closing, Certificates of Participation were awarded, marking a milestone for the youth participants as they progress in championing their role in shaping a world aligned with the SDGs' vision.