Seoul, Korea, 26 February 2019 - The 2019 International Youth Day in Korea (2019 IYD Korea) was marked on 26 February in Seoul with more than 500 young people from all over the world attending the Korea National Assembly. The event was organised by UN-Habitat to formulate youth-led local economic development strategies linked to innovative urban regeneration projects in the Republic of Korea.

Members of the Korea National Assembly, mayors, deputy ministers, experts and youth delegates from various fields including social economy, urban regeneration, innovation, smart city, and urban culture joined in the celebrations which also included the centennial of the March 1 movement led by youth in Korea.

Head of the UN-Habitat Urban Economy and Finance Branch, Marco Kamiya shared the agency’s vision for sustainable urbanization and innovation with the audience. Speaking on the theme Urban Peace: Opportunities for All he emphasized that youth are key agents of sustainable urbanization and peace. Key speakers included former Korean Ambassador to the United Nations Joon OH and CEO of Stealien Inc. Chan-am PARK.

Chairperson of UN-Habitat Policy Committee on Youth and Urban, Jong-min KIM advocated for youth-led inclusive and innovative urbanization. He expressed the hope that based on UN-Habitat’s proven experience and lessons learned, the Korean youth empowerment model would spread to the world, especially developing countries.

UN-Habitat is establishing the basis for the Global Urban Regeneration Programme: Youth-led Urban Economic Development - a joint programme with the Ministry of Infrastructure, MoLIT, starting this year, while the Global Smart City and Urban Innovation Programme which is being implemented in partnership with Suwon City focuses on Smart City Start-ups and Innovation.

UN-Habitat is also developing programmes with Daejeon City (ODA project), the Small&Medium Business Corporation (incubation for youth start-ups), and Seoul City (Urban regeneration for youth start-ups) all of which will be a driving force in strengthening cooperations between the Government of Korea and stakeholders in sustainable urbanization.