SDSN Youth Participates at the 9th International Youth Conference

SDSN Youth Participates at the 9th International Youth Conference

SDSN Youth participated and led a session at the 9th edition of the International Youth Conference

Written by Nardos Berehe, Global Youth Networks Project Lead 

From 30th May to 2nd June 2024, the 9th edition of the International Youth Conference (IYC) was celebrated, a global platform for youth engagement and policy-making with the United Nations (UN). Backed by the collaboration with reputed organizations such as the  UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlements Programme), AFS Intercultural Programs, the Centre for Civil Society Unit of the United Nations Department of Global Communications, IOM - UN Migration, and more, the Conference served as a place to empower youth to engage with global issues and challenges by fostering their voices and actions in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDSN Youth was privileged to have the opportunity to lead a session on “Empowering Youth Voices: Strengthening Global Participation”. The workshop aimed to explore strategies for solidifying meaningful youth engagement in the global decision-making process. In this session, speakers  discussed the importance of youth involvement in shaping policies and initiatives on a global scale and recommendations on how they can strengthen their role as agents of positive transformation in the international arena. The full session, which is now available, was presided by the Global Networks Lead Nardos Berehe, the Black Sea Network Coordinator Evangelia Savvidou, the Nigeria Network Coordinator Emmanuel Ola-Olowoyo, and the Program Associate for Networks and Youth at SDSN Raquel Armendariz. 

The session explored the importance of youth involvement in shaping policies and initiatives on a global scale, fostering innovation, designing future-oriented planning and resilience, driving diversity and inclusion, and empowering responsible leaders with global impact. The poll circulated showed how using social media campaigns and digital platforms are key to exchanging youth ideas and perspectives to enhance their participation on a global level. To showcase meaning youth engagement, two case studies were presented to show successful projects in two youth networks. 

For the Black Sea Network, Eva explained that some of the activities she led included  youth discussions, speaking clubs, reports on participants’ concerns and solutions, climate hackathons in collaboration with the local municipality and the university, street actions to raise awareness to promote climate action, and youth education peer learning sessions. These examples were proof of the importance of involving stakeholders in the communities, showcasing how inclusive participation can lead to more effective and sustainable outcomes  

On the other hand, Emmanuel took over to offer some examples of the Nigeria Network. Some of these included the  execution of the SDGs Advocate Program (SDG-AP), a 3-month intensive training and advocacy program on sustainable development for Nigerian Youths, a community of exceptional young leaders who will champion and promote the SDGs nationwide. In this program, over 10,000 Nigerian Youths have been trained, and thousands of primary and secondary students trained across over 1000 primary and secondary schools by these passionate SDG Advocates. Other initiatives being done at the Network include running a Climate Actors Accelerator Program, the organization of the Conference of Youth on Environment and Climate, Business Sustainability Bootcamp, and the creation of the SDGs Connect and Innovation Challenge. 

In addition, in order to amplify the voices of youth, effective recommendations were put forward which were:  

  • Promote Inclusive Platforms: Establish and empower youth councils and parliaments to ensure youth voices are heard at all levels.
  • Encourage Partnerships: Foster collaborations between governments, NGOs, and youth organizations to develop policies and initiatives that benefit young people.
  • Leverage Digital Tools: Support youth-led media ventures and use social media to promote activism and engage key audiences.
  • Invest in Education and Capacity Building: Implement training programs to equip young people with the skills and knowledge needed for effective governance and leadership.
  • Engage and Fairly Represent: Integrate youth participation into institutional frameworks and hold stakeholders accountable through regular reviews, reporting, and feedback loops.
  • Recognize and Reward: Create recognition schemes to acknowledge and reward youth contributions throughout the year, not just at specific moments.


As the sessions drew to a close, the audience was given the opportunity to share how they describe the approaches youth can engage in the international arena in one word. s shown in the word cloud below, participants agreed that partnerships and collaboration are at the center of advocacy efforts to change the world:

Here at SDSN Youth, we are committed to these efforts and empowering young people to be the leaders of tomorrow by building partnerships, advocacy, providing capacity building, fostering innovation, and supporting projects that are making a real difference in their communities. 

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