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Nov 10, 2017

Wrapping Up the World Youth Conference

Belize hosted the World Youth Conference 2017 this week and it concluded on Thursday night. More than one hundred and fifty youths from across the world gathered in Belize to come up with an action plan that centered on the sustainable development goals and outlined ways that youths can positively contribute to their home countries. After days of panel discussions and meetings, the high-level youth event concluded with much fan-fare in Belize City. News Five’s Andrea Polanco shares more from Thursday night’s event.


Ezbai Francis, CARICOM Youth Ambassador, St. Lucia

“We, the delegates of the world youth conference 2017,representing forty-three countries of the world, having met in Belize City to consider the sustainable development goals and in particular, our role as leaders.”


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For the past three days more than one hundred and fifty world youth leaders met in Belize for the World Youth Conference. At the end of this meeting of global minds, the young leaders drafted the Mahogany Declaration. It is a document that maps out the world’s youth plan of action to address development in their countries and recommitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Ezbai Francis

Ezbai Francis

“Reaffirm the importance and indispensability of a truly participatory and inclusive approach to the implementation of the sustainable development goal that value the worth and rights of every young person. Recognize and reaffirm the universal declaration of human rights as well as other international instruments relating to human rights.”


Belize’s Minister of Youth, Patrick Faber and Doctor KK Singh, Chairman of the International Youth Committee, received the Mahogany Declaration at the closing of the 2017 world youth conference.  The Mahogany Declaration covers areas of climate change; economic empowerment; social justice and equity.


Ezbai Francis

“We therefore commit in our November 2007 Declaration to the Sustainable Development Goals individually and collectively to: eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world; transformation towards a sustainable and resilient societies; empowering youth and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”


Crime was a topic that resonated with most of the participants. Across the world, the youth are most affected by crime and violence – so Guest Speaker Greg Nunez, a Belizean PhD candidate, addressed the youth honing in on inner-city crime on the underprivileged youth population.


Greg Nunez

Greg Nunez, Guest Speaker

“Neither would I have been here had I not at age twenty-one overheard that the then Minister of Education would be visiting my place of work. I wrote a letter, ran up to him when he was leaving and getting into his vehicle. I subjected myself to a chokehold by his very capable and muscular bodyguard. He would see my hands out-stretched and my squeaking voice from the chokehold saying, ‘please, just read it.’  In it, I would inform him of my current circumstance, which would include a planned murder of another youth and me needing to leave to seek a future. He would, without meeting me personally, ask for my past academic information and subsequently grant me a scholarship to study. Our young people are not a lost cause. Our south side Belize City are not a lost cause. The youths of the ghettos, the boroughs, the barrios of your individual countries are worth fighting for. The only lost ones are the ones that have prematurely died because our inclusivity wasn’t inclusive enough. It is a sad reality that when you are poor the odds are stacked against you. You are at an enormous disadvantage and anyone who says otherwise is uniquely naïve or ignorant or very convenient in their outrage about inequality.”


Minister Faber challenged the youth leaders to continue to contribute meaningfully to their countries through the work and friendships built at the conference.


Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth & Sports

“The bonds of friendship that you have created over these few days together and the work that you have plan to do should not come to an end. In fact, you should make sure the work continues not only for the duration of your loves but also for other young people and the population of the world itself so that the great work that you have done over the last few days will definitely continue to live on.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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