An initiative launched at the World Youth Development Forum has called for all parties to actively listen to young people, respond to their demands and engage them in decision-making processes.
The three-day forum, which concluded on Saturday, saw participants advocating to include young people in various fields, including inclusive and equitable quality education, employment and entrepreneurship, the digital economy, climate action and green development.
Around 2,000 youth representatives from more than 100 countries attended the forum online and offline in several Chinese cities. Themed "For a Shared Future: Promoting Sustainable Development with Youth and for Youth", the forum was hosted by the All-China Youth Federation.
Young people have unlimited potential to generate positive social innovations and promote human progress, and the United Nations 2030 Agenda and United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without them, the initiative said.
All countries, regardless of their development stages, should protect and promote the development rights and interests of youth and urge governments to empower them at every socioeconomic stratum of society to cultivate a sustainable force for global development, it said.
In addition, all stakeholders should prioritize the development of youth and incorporate their work into national and international development strategies, it said.
Yu Jiadong, vice-minister of Human Resources and Social Security, said the Chinese government has always attached great significance to youth employment and launched a series of policies to expand employment and entrepreneurship channels for young people.
The government has prioritized the employment of young people who are having difficulty finding jobs, especially those who are disabled or struggling financially, by offering them one-on-one employment support, he said.
Beate Trankmann, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme in China, said the world should find a way to sustainably harness technology to deal with the many pressing challenges facing our world, and that digitalization can be a force for good and help get the world back on track to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"As the most tech-savvy generation of young people in history, you are poised to lead on the digital economy," she told guests.
Today's youth are digital natives and have the passion to create innovative solutions, drive social progress and inspire change for a more inclusive and sustainable world, she added.
Mei Ziyan, a fifth grader at a primary school in Dali, Yunnan province, said his father told him that when he was little, many of the children in his hometown did not go to school due to poverty. Now, although his school is located on the foot of the Cangshan Mountain, Ziyan is able to make friends with peers in big cities like Shanghai and in other countries as his school has access to high-speed internet.
And thanks to the government's poverty alleviation efforts, children nowadays not only have access to education, but to high-quality education, he said.
"If you visit China's vast rural areas, you will find that the most well-built structures are school buildings, and the most beautiful scenery is on school campuses."