Empowering Youth Voices for the Pact of the Future:  Insights from "Paving The Way to The Pact of the Future Conference"

Empowering Youth Voices for the Pact of the Future: Insights from "Paving The Way to The Pact of the Future Conference"

SDSN Youth joined the Paving The Way to The Pact of the Future Conference organized by SDSN Portugal.

Written by Nardos Berehe, Global Youth Networks Project Lead and Antonio Díaz Aranda, Global Events & Partnerships Lead

As the world gears up for the upcoming Summit of the Future in New York this September, discussions at the "Paving The Way to The Pact of the Future" conference, organized by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Portugal underscored the pivotal role of youth in shaping the agenda for sustainable development. This important event brought together global leaders and thinkers to explore crucial issues of sustainability, climate action, and international cooperation. SDSN Youth was actively involved in the event with the participation of Nardos Berehe, Project Lead of the Global Youth Networks, and Antonio Díaz, Global Events & Partnerships Lead.

Nardos took part in the Meaningful Youth Engagement Parallel Workshop as a commentator, passionately sharing how SDSN Youth is at the forefront of advancing youth efforts globally. Meanwhile, Antonio made a compelling case in the Transforming Education session, tackling the critical question of why our current education systems are falling short of accelerating systemic transformation. He emphasized the crucial role of youth inclusion in decision-making processes within the education sector. 

The event was graced by influential figures such as Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms at the European Commission; Clara Raposo, Vice-Governor of the Bank of Portugal; and Maria Cortés Puch, Vice-President of SDSN, among many others. The presence of every participant and speaker added immense value to the discussions, making the event a remarkable convergence of thought leaders and changemakers.

At the heart of the conference discussions was a compelling call for a new economic order centered around human rights, climate protection, and environmental sustainability. Green finance emerged as a pivotal tool, with digital transformation seen as essential in reshaping economic landscapes. Youth have a unique opportunity to contribute fresh perspectives on leveraging technology for sustainable finance and promoting inclusive economic growth.

Critiques of GDP as the sole measure of progress sparked vibrant conversations on the need for comprehensive metrics that holistically reflect wellbeing and sustainability. Youth voices are pivotal in advocating for new indicators that prioritize social and environmental outcomes alongside economic growth. This shift ensures policies align with the aspirations of future generations for a sustainable future.

One of the conference highlights was the launch of the 2024 Sustainable Development Report by SDSN in which an important call to action was raised for leaders to actively engage in the achievement of SDGs, as the world is behind most of the targets and in some cases, important setbacks were identified. In this matter, youth are poised to propose innovative solutions that integrate environmental sustainability with social equity, fostering collaboration across sectors. 

Education’s role in shaping the global agenda was also prioritized during the conference as it plays a pivotal role in equipping youth with the skills and knowledge to navigate global challenges effectively. Advocating for educational reform that integrates sustainability, critical thinking, and leadership development empowers future generations to drive positive change. By reshaping curricula and promoting lifelong learning, youth can prepare themselves to lead in a sustainable and equitable future.

The upcoming Summit of the Future presents a unique opportunity for young people to engage meaningfully and make their voices heard on the global stage. SDSN Youth plays a crucial role in this endeavor. By empowering young leaders through education, advocacy, and practical action, this global community ensures that the next generation is prepared to tackle global issues head-on. Through initiatives that foster leadership, innovation, and sustainable development, SDSN Youth amplifies the voices of young people, making sure they are integral to the decision-making processes that will shape our world.

We invite youth everywhere to join the dialogue, share their perspectives, and collaborate on innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Together, we can ensure that the outcomes of these discussions pave the way for a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for all.

Read more