New York, 21 May 2022 - Youth demands for action presented to government officials during United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting last month will be expanded at the World Urban Forum (WUF) in Poland next month, embodying a global call for local youth action. 

The demands were organized during Youth 2030 Cities, a UN-Habitat and Fondation Botnar initiative that seeks to empower and strengthen the capacity of young people to meaningfully participate in the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in local government decision making.

Over the last six months, Youth 2030 Cities engaged youth in six countries around the world including: Ecuador, Colombia, Ghana, Senegal, Vietnam, and India. The objective of this initiative is to understand what youth organizations are doing on the ground and offer trainings to build local youth capacity around the SDGs and New Urban Agenda (NUA).

Youth Urban Forums took place as the culmination of these trainings where youth were encouraged to discuss challenges facing their local realities and, together with local government, craft an Urban Youth DeclarACTION outlining promises and actions that governments, civil society, private sector, and the United Nations can take to more effectively address local challenges related to the SDGs.

“We the young people of Ghana came together for the Youth 2030 Cities Forum and issued the DeclarAction demanding action by sustainable urbanization while committing ourselves to behavioral change and actions to live more sustainably,” said Naana Segua Eduaful Agyare, Young Reporters for the Environment, Ghana.

Youth DeclarACTIONS: Taking local, youth-led action to the global stage

In Otavalo, Ecuador, the Youth DeclarAction was presented to the Mayor of Otavalo, Mr. Mario Conejo Maldonado, by a youth delegation from Museo Viviente Otavalango and was then agreed to and signed. The first of many Youth DeclarActions to be signed and implemented by local governments.

“There were 8 Millennium Development Goals and now there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We need to include youth in order to help achieve these ambitious goals together,” said Mayor Mario Conejo Maldonado of Otavalo, Ecuador.   

At the High-Level Meeting side events in New York City, on April 27th, youth delegates from Quito, Ecuador (Sofía Brito); Cali, Colombia (Michel Zuluaga); and Accra, Ghana (Naana Segua Eduaful Agyare) presented their DeclarACTIONS to Minister Darío Herrera of Ecuador, Mayor Claudia Hernandez of Bogota, Colombia; Mayor Santiago Guarderas of Quito, Ecuador; Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe of Banjul, Gambia; and Mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—emphasising a need for government support for youth action and involvement in local decision-making to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs.

“We need to create more youth forums and spaces such as this one to make our voices heard. We also need to contribute to the democratic formation of policies,” said Sofía Brito, Diálogo Diverso of Ecuador.

Leading up to the World Urban Forum, these DeclarACTIONS will be combined into a Global Youth DeclarACTION and posted publicly so that youth from around the world can add their ideas and insights.

Youth DeclarACTIONS: Taking local, youth-led action to the global stage

During the WUF Youth Assembly, a panel will take place to discuss the Global DeclarACTION and how every government, organization, and agency can and must work towards youth inclusion in order to more efficiently achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.

“Youth involvement is so important because they constitute a large demographic population, so how are we going to take advantage of that?” asked Ecuador’s Minister Darío Herrera, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing.

Want to check out these DeclarACTIONS? Find them here! UN-Habitat will be posting the Global DeclarACTION for feedbacks 30 days before the World Urban Forum. Make sure you register for the World Urban Forum here!