31 October 2023, Istanbul. – A statement of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board on the occasion of the World Cities Day 2023:
Here, at UN-Habitat World Cities Day in Üsküdar, Türkiye, we, the members of the Youth Advisory Board, want to underscore our belief in the significance of youth involvement in shaping a sustainable and just world, and our role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“Our mission is clear and collective. We stand as a united force, representing diverse backgrounds, all driven by a common commitment to sustainability. Our shared objective is to champion equal rights and justice while working cohesively to maximize our impact.”
We build upon the work of youth globally, brought together by the Youth DeclarACTION for Sustainable Urbanization adopted at the World Urban Youth Assembly held at the opening of World Urban Forum 11 in June 2022. The living DeclarACTION has been further expanded at the ECOSOC Youth Forum in a form of the key messages of youth to ECOSOC President and the UN-Habitat Assembly 2023.
Today, on World Cities Day, we acknowledge the close connection between youth and the future of our cities. Our primary aim is to inspire a generation characterized by compassion and a deep concern for our planet’s well-being. We firmly believe that unity and solidarity are the keys to our success, whether we are addressing issues such as greed or fostering friendships over fear. Echoing the appeal of UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, we are is calling for a new financing framework for sustainable urban development as, by rethinking urban financing, we will enable economic development initiatives that lead to improved youth livelihoods.
The formidable challenge of climate change is at the forefront of our global concerns. We recognize the urgent need for collective action. We are ready and eager to learn from our mentors and actively contribute to our common goals. Youth engagement plays a pivotal role in the fight against climate change and other pressing global crises.
In our pursuit, we earnestly call upon governments and institutions worldwide to lend their support to youth-driven initiatives and projects that serve the greater good. The SDGs embody our shared vision for a world characterized by justice, equity, and sustainability. We firmly believe that each individual has a role to play, and the inclusion of youth perspectives is not merely a matter of fairness, but a fundamental necessity. Incorporating the unique insights of young minds is crucial in effectively addressing the multifaceted challenges before us.
As we stand together on the brink of a brighter future, armed with determination and unity, we are acutely aware of the boundless potential within our grasp. By working in concert, we can overcome the obstacles that lie ahead. We express our gratitude for your support and collaboration on this significant occasion, and we eagerly anticipate a future where our shared aspirations for a sustainable, just, and equitable world become a reality.