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Youth Speaking Up for the Future at the UN Civil Society Conference 2024

Nairobi, May 11, 2024 – Good Neighbors Kenya recently hosted an official event titled “Speak Up! Youth Voices for the Future” as part of its collaboration with the 2024 UN Civil Society Conference in Nairobi. 

The conference convened senior UN System officials, distinguished international civil society organizations, youth change-makers, academia, public opinion leaders, and international media to address global concerns. This event precedes the United Nations “Summit of the Future,” scheduled for September 2024 in New York, providing a vital platform for civil society organizations to influence global discourse on pressing issues. 

Good Neighbors Kenya’s event gathered youth representatives from across the globe who are collaboratively shaping the future agenda in conjunction with the UN Civil Society Conference. It offered these young leaders from diverse nations an opportunity to articulate their visions the future and explore the roles of civil society and youth in realizing these aspirations. The discussions at the event covered essential topics such as sustainable development, international peace, digital cooperation, and youth engagement.

Mr. Namun Heo, the representative of Good Neighbors Kenya, highlighted the UN Civil Society Conference’s focus on examining the transformative impact of climate change on the lives of youth and their families in landlocked African countries. He discussed its implications for achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 4 (Quality Education), and the critical role of global youth in addressing these challenges.

Video: Young leaders advocating for youth engagement in global challenges

The young leaders passionately advocated for youth engagement in tackling global challenges. Ms. Biehu Kateryna, a Ukrainian volunteer with Good Neighbors Romania for Ukraine refugees, addressed the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war’s impact on Ukrainian youth, exploring how Ukrainian communities maintain solidarity in an unstable security environment and identifying avenues for international collaboration to devise solutions. She underscored the essential role of international cooperation in preventing conflicts and promoting peace.

Mr. Yunanda Aditya, a former sponsored child of Good Neighbors Indonesia, addressed the information technology gap between developed and developing nations, its contribution to opportunity inequality, and the influence of a private sector-led global technology society on this divide, seeking solutions from the perspective of youth in developing countries. He advocated for digital cooperation, highlighting the necessity of inclusivity and responsible digital usage to address challenges from climate change to economic disparity.

Ms. Saila Nasieku, a former sponsored child of Good Neighbors Kenya and now a teacher at Romosa Secondary School, emphasized the collective responsibility of communities, nations, and the global society to foster the leadership potential of young people. Mr. Celvester Kitonga from Kenya urged young people to raise their voices on the global stage, demanding accountability and action from the international community on environmental challenges. He stressed the importance of a unified response to climate change.

The insights shared by these young leaders at the event are set to guide Good Neighbors’ sustainable development and humanitarian initiatives, reflecting the organization’s commitment to integrating youth perspectives into its global efforts. Mr. Namun Heo reaffirmed this commitment, stating, “We are dedicated to incorporating the insights and aspirations of young people into our efforts, ensuring that our initiatives resonate with the dynamic needs of our global community.”

Good Neighbors Country Website