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Nov 7, 2017

Youths of the World Gather in Belize

The World Youth Conference 2017 is being held under the theme, “Globally Running to 2030, Becoming Sustainably Strong.” The three-day meeting of youth leaders from across the world commenced today at the Ramada Belize City Princess. At the end of the conference, the Mahogany Declaration will be signed by all participants, which will lay out the plan of action or global agenda for the future development of the youth. News Five’s Duane Moody spoke today with youth leaders and the International Youth Committee about the significance of the conference.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Over two hundred and fifty youth leaders converged at the Ramada Belize City Princess for the fifth World Youth Conference by the International Youth Committee, which is headquartered in India. The conference sets the tone for what needs to be done for and by young people from the various regions and countries represented at the meeting. Day one focuses specifically on the seventeen sustainable development goals—the achievements so far and shortfalls. Belize’s former CARICOM Youth Ambassador Tarun Butcher, who lobbied and won the bid for the conference to be held in Belize, says that the youths are also challenging the SDGs as they currently stand.


Tarun Butcher

Tarun Butcher, former CARICOM Youth Ambassador, Belize

“What we are doing today is something that we have done in 2014 in Colombo, Sri Lanka; we challenged the Millennium Development Goals, we challenged the Ministers of Youth and Youth Development and the Directors of Youth that were present. It was a momentous occasion moving towards 2015 and that post agenda that would become the 2030 agenda. We challenged them on really what have we accomplished because there are gender inequalities; climate is still very real and is still a problem; we still have millions of people living in poverty, without food, without safety; there is no peace and security. What have we done? And today over the course of this week, we will be challenging the SDGs, seeing what’s in place, what are the conventions that we’ve signed onto. Do they really make sense? What aren’t we doing enough of and why aren’t they working and also identifying what does work? But really we want to focus on how we the youth can make it work where it is not.”


At the end of the conference, the Mahogany Declaration will be signed, which is a global agenda for participants to take back to their respective countries as a guideline for what must be put in place to address various issues, including and not limited to economic development, healthcare, climate change. Doctor KK Singh says that a common solution to global challenges must incorporate the youth.


KK Singh

Dr. KK Singh, Chairman, International Youth Committee

“Our younger generation has the capacity and the patience. They have the power of completion also to deal with these issues. And they are the most dynamic form of human beings where one can address issues to bring a solution. So if we hand over the tasks to the young people so that we can move faster with a guarantee to solve the global issues.”


According to Chairman of the IYC, Doctor KK Singh, unemployment is a common challenge across all countries. Skills development and investments in the youth can improve this condition. This, as well as, climate change and education are areas of interest to Haiti’s Sharpton Toussaint.


Sharpton Toussaint

Sharpton Toussaint, Youth Delegate, Haiti

“As you know I am from Haiti and it is one of the countries that are mainly affected by climate change in just last year. So I think that coming here will help me to understand more the SDGs and to improve my knowledge about the climate change, education. Apart from the hurricanes, the earthquakes, my country has a lot of issues with inequality. So we have certain inequalities between the different types of people, social classes. And also we have a problem with education so we have like forty percent of the population who don’t know how to even write their names.”


United Kingdom and Haiti differ vastly in many ways, but as Nazzy Amin explains, inequality is remarkably similar. The accountability advocate goes to university and schools to speak about the SDGs and the issue of gender inequality. Aside from empowering young people to become leaders, she says that it is about letting people know about the SDGs.


Nazzy Amin

Nazzy Amin, Youth Delegate, United Kingdom

“Generically with the sustainable development goals, I feel like there is a lack of information about them for young people on the ground. The SDGs are supposed to be for everybody and the agenda is to leave nobody behind. But the biggest issue is we are probably leaving those people behind or those youth behind who have always been left behind because they don’t understand the SDGs.”


Closer to home, our Central American sister country Panama wants to network with colleagues to solve issues of climate change and corruption in government.


Manuel Coloma

Manuel Coloma, Youth Delegate, Panama

“For my country its two areas, I believe. The first one is climate change because we are seeing that in the world, we have a lot of changes in the weather and it is affecting not just my country but other countries in terms of raining and it is hotter. Also…the government and development, because in our country, we have corruption, we have sometimes bad governments, but we need to make a change. We need to make a change and different things to solve it because we have a lot of years fighting with this situation.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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