Conference of NGOs (CoNGO) and ECOSOC President

ECOSOC Youth Forum SDG4 Breakout Session: Youth Engagement in Transforming Education

ECOSOC Youth Forum SDG4 Breakout Session:

Youth Engagement in Transforming Education

Education is key in driving progress across all SDGs and enabling young people to prepare for entry into the workforce and actively engage on critical social and environmental issues that affect them. The prolonged and repeated class and school closures during 2020 and 2021 have resulted in leaving many of the education-related targets of the SDGs well off track. This global learning crisis is depriving hundreds of millions of children and young people of their right to quality education with increased drop-out rates, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable and marginalized students and young people, particularly girls. Investments in education improve health outcomes, build human capital, reduce poverty and inequality, combat violence and extremism, and boost earnings. Yet confronted with young and growing populations, high rates of poverty and inequality – and compounded by the impacts of COVID-19 –many governments in lower-income countries lack the resources they need to get all children in school and learning.

In addition, COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risks that arise when young people do not have access to (technological) resources and the appropriate education and training to unlock their innovative potential. As digital technologies continue to open up a world of new opportunities, many youth from lower income countries still require access to the internet as well as the right skill-set necessary to leverage new digital technologies to improve their livelihoods and solve urgent social, economic and environmental challenges at community level. Education institutions and professional development initiatives need to equip young people with transferable skills, offer apprenticeships and mentorship opportunities, as well as foster innovative spirit to keep up with the needs of the changing job market. For young people to seize the benefits of the new digital era ahead, providing resilient and high-quality education environments where innovation, best practices and creativity are nurtured need to become an integral part of new learning ecosystems.

Within this context, the ECOSOC Youth Forum SDG4 Breakout session will highlight the role of youth engagement in enhancing the quality of formal and informal education. The skills and knowledge that young people need to effectively contribute to human rights, sustainable development, a culture of peace and non-violence, respect for diversity and global citizenship will be discussed, as well as challenges and opportunities to develop and deliver related educational programmes. This session will provide a safe space for young people to share their perspectives on how to transform education amidst ongoing crises. Through an interactive dialogue, youth representatives will identify recommendations for the future of education and learning, including as part of the overall consultations on the Transforming Education Summit to be held in September 2022.

Main Expected Outcomes
Primary outcomes:

 Raise awareness on youth and student priorities to ensure that education systems are inclusive,
future-proof, sustainable, safe, and backed by education policy, financing, and infrastructure
 Raise awareness about existing youth-led solutions that are transforming informal and formal
 Discuss and propose strategies to strengthen youth engagement during planning processes,
consultations, implementation, validation, and reviewing procedures relating to improving
quality education
Secondary outcomes:
 Existing youth and student organisations and affiliations and youth-led solutions are provided
opportunities to gain support through sustainable funding and resourcing
 Youth and students are invited by member states in intergenerational dialogues to shape
national education commitments.

Connection details
This event will take place in English and will be entirely virtual. Please register here to participate. The
event will also be livestreamed on UN Web TV.
For more information please visit the SDG4 Breakout session dedicated webpage.

Moderator: Ulises Brengi, SDG4Youth Network Transforming Education Summit Youth
1:30 – 1:35 Introduction of the session
1:35 – 1:50 Opening Remarks

Sobhi Tawil, Director of Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO
Loes van der Graaf, Education Focal Point, MGCY
Screening of the video “Start acting by learning for our planet”

1:50 – 2:50 Young Voices on Transforming Education

Noella Bidikukeba Ilunga, President of DAFI Club in Zambia
Melissa Diamond, Founder and Executive Director of A Global Voice for Autism

Guncha Annageldiyeva, International Coordinator of Communication at Y-PEER Network

Andres Allan Sanchez Osorio, Honorary President and Founder of Fundación Efecto Valores
Selin Ozunaldim, Youngest representative of UN Women’s global gender equality movement HeForShe in Turkey
Smriti Khemka, Member of the Global Youth As Researchers (YAR) Learning Team
Asimawu Tahiru, Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Youth Leader
Muhammad Sarim Raza, Youth Leader at UNCTAD

Hao Jingfang, Chinese Youth Representative
Mariya Badeva, Bulgarian Youth Representative

02:50 – 02:55 Interactive moment

Attendees will share their views on transforming education through an
online tool
02:55 – 03:00 Closing Remarks

Armel Azihar, SDG4Youth Transforming Education Summit Youth Advisor


NGO access to and at the UN is also UN’s access to the voice, expertise and support of civil society to the multilateral body, CoNGO President asserted at a meeting called by the ECOSOC President

New York City, 7 April 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – The United Nations and non-governmental organizations are each the poorer without the other. Grassroots, national, regional and international diplomacy have benefited from UN and NGO consultation and collaboration in addressing wide-ranging issues and problems confronted by governments, peoples, and humanity’s shared habitat.

This is the gist of the presentation by Liberato Bautista at the February 1, 2021 joint meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Chairs of its functional commissions and expert bodies. Bautista, the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations, was invited  to address the meeting by the ECOSOC President, Ambassador Munir Akram.

“It was a laudable gesture by Ambassador Akram to invite me to address the meeting, and calling me to speak in the middle of a crowded two-hour schedule, when all participants were still online to hear what the sole NGO representative had to say,” Bautista recollected.

“Engaging in dialogue and maintaining accessible lines of communication is critical to the consultative relation between NGOs and the UN System. NGO support for robust multilateralism entails access by NGOs to and at the UN, which in the same measure, also means UN’s access to the voice, expertise and support offered by civil society,” Bautista stated.

Bautista, addressing the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected NGO access to and at the UN, asserted that NGOs, like CoNGO, “stand ready to secure together the public space so that inclusive, participatory and democratic institutions thrive and prosper” rather than curtailed and pushed back during the pandemic.

The challenges that lay ahead for both the UN and NGOs for which their consultation and collaboration are needed were laid bare by Bautista. “It is time that the multistakeholder actors of our collaboration, including us NGOs, are put to work to address this coronavirus pandemic and the intersecting pandemics resulting from climate change, from hunger and poverty, from forced migration, from racism and xenophobia, employing every principle and approach, not the least of which include whole-of-government and all-of-society.”

Advocating for robust consultation and collaboration between the UN and NGOs is at the core of CoNGO’s key aims and objectives. And addressing the ECOSOC at this meeting is not CoNGO’s first time. Before this February meeting this year, Bautista also addressed the briefing for civil society organized by the ECOSOC presidency of Norway on May 4, 2020.

At the May 2020 meeting, Bautista maintained that “policy-making in a time of pandemic must strengthen our resolve to work together to address underlying fundamental inequalities in our society that hinder the full realization of the SDGs. In this important task,  a genuine engagement of civil society at the national and global levels is primordial.”