UN CSD Youth Caucus
The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) officially began on Monday, May 4th. The first days of any UN Commission can be quite overwhelming and intimidating, especially for a first-time delegate. It is expected that new delegates will spend the first few days in a haze as they shuffle back-and-forth from one UN conference room to the next; meet countless new people; attempt to understand copious amount of information and UN jargon; venture to demystify complex UN processes; and balance the endless invitations to briefings, seminars, workshops, learning centers and other events—all in the midst of trying to contribute something valuable and coherent.
Indeed, the first two days of the CSD have been intense, but they’ve also been completely amazing! On Monday (May 4th), I joined the CSD Youth Caucus—an international network of over 2,000 youth leaders from hundreds of organizations that seek to inspire young people to build a more sustainable world. The caucus has two major goals: first, to facilitate youth input into the CSD; and, second, to foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration between diverse networks of youth organizations who are working for sustainability. I’ve come to the conclusion that the CSD Youth Caucus is also a group of extremely passionate, accomplished, determined and dynamic individuals—the kind of people that you would really want in your study group.
Following the Monday morning briefing, a small group of individuals from the Youth Caucus (including BIC intern Jeff Thimm) met to collectively write our opening statement that would communicate our plan for engagement in the Commission. After some brainstorming, fine- tuning and deliberating, the finished statement was delivered by Esther Agbarakwe, a youth delegate from Nigeria. Working on the statement provided me with a wonderful opportunity to understand the Youth Caucus’ goals and to make my first tangible contribution to the CSD process.
Youth Caucus Opening Statement
UN Commission on Sustainable Development 17th Session
New York, 4th May 2009
Thank you very much Madame Chair.
“Swords into ploughshares, words into action”. My neighbors in Nigeria and other parts of the world have to use those ploughshares everyday to feed their children. Some are not aware of the UN's discussions, but their futures depend on the decisions made here at the CSD and, more importantly, your commitment to implementing them nationally.
We have a common responsibility to leave a better legacy for our children.
All stakeholders, especially youth, need to be integrally involved in the process of information gathering, decision making, implementation and review. While youth and other major groups are ready in service, only you – the country representatives – can make these decisions happen.
Through collaboration, we can empower local communities to engage successfully in sustainable development initiatives, using innovative solutions to deal with global challenges.
We do care about what you say here, but our lives depend on how you implement these policies at home. So practice what you preach.
The urgency is immense for taking action now.
We can make the difference that is needed to create a more just, equitable and sustainable world.