The World Youth Development Forum opened in Beijing on Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the forum. The forum was attended -- either via video or by person -- by more than 100 distinguished guests including Niger's president Mohamed Bazoum, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, as well as about 2,000 youth representatives from over 100 countries.
Expressing opinions and exchanging ideas, the participants called for actions in various fields including inclusive and equitable quality education, employment and entrepreneurship, digital economy, and climate action and green development on the theme of “For a Shared Future: Promoting Sustainable Development With Youth and for Youth”.
At the day's forum, UN Secretary-General Guterres sent a video message expressing his hope that countries will strongly support youth to play an active role in all aspects of political, economic and social life. “I urge the leaders and officials joining your discussions at this Forum, to heed your calls for change, to put your needs first across their policy and investment decisions, and to urgently support your inclusion and engagement across all aspects of political, economic and social life.”
Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, pointed out in her address that we must work with and for youth as full-fledged partners and not only beneficiaries. “Today's generation of young people is among the largest in history. There are currently 1.8 billion of them on this planet, which poses an amazing opportunity - but only if we can recognize their value and give them the space to fulfill their potential.”
Initiated by the All-China Youth Federation, the forum is aimed at building cross-regional, cross-industry and cross-sector exchange and cooperation platforms in an effort to build global development partnerships involving international organizations, government agencies, youth organizations, young leaders and people from all walks of life.