About the UNCTAD Youth Network

Youth Network  
QuoteWe have entered the door of UNCTAD 
     and have no intention of leaving
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      UNCTAD Youth Forum participants
 

The youth alone represent over 1.5 billion people and is the largest youth population recorded to date. Recognizing their potential, UNCTAD believes that young people can play a major role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and become game changers.

We at UNCTAD want to contribute to efforts made globally to empower youth and have the voice of young men and women heard. This is happening through a sustainable and collaborative approach that is based on the innovative principle of “about youth, with youth”.

The idea for creating a platform named “UNCTAD Youth Network” grew out from the first UNCTAD Youth Forum that took place in Nairobi, Kenya in 2016 under the overall theme “Shaping the World We Want”. Youth from around the world who are passionate about trade and development issues, can since get involved with UNCTAD, exchange views and experiences, launch campaigns and prepare inputs on important subjects.

Two years after its creation, the UNCTAD Youth Network launched the Youth Action Hubs, an initiative that allows youth to engage globally to give their views on matters within UNCTAD’s mandate. Youth discuss and research pre-set topics and use this input to inform UNCTAD’s work. The Youth Action Hubs also offer a space that will inspire youth to take action locally as game changers in their communities and countries. Each of these Youth Action Hubs is led locally by a youth coordinator.

The UNCTAD Youth Network decides on the topics to be covered by its members. So far, discussions have covered the following issues: youth social entrepreneurship, the new economy, the green economy, cybersecurity, blockchains, smart villages development and gender. Issues that incrementally impact youth such as disruptive technologies, a rapidly changing job market and the force of social-media youth influencers are often brought up by participants. So is skills development in the form of leadership, trust, personal brand building and the right to fail.

Gatherings of the UNCTAD Youth Network often take place in the form of forums, such as the UNCTAD Youth Forums, or side sessions at major events. Youth take part in  conversations with leaders, futurists and experts. Some of the most appreciated sessions are the flagship Youth o’Clocks where eminent people engage with youth to share experiences to make youth thrive.

Another important part of the UNCTAD Youth Network's work consists in creating projects in partnership with other United Nations organizations and partners. This includes for instance support to the UN Youth Strategy and the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth.

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