The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in New York co-hosted the 20th Session of the ‘Summer Youth Assembly’ along with the Permanent Missions of Kenya and Portugal, in collaboration with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation.
The opening ceremony was held on the 9th of August, 2017 in the General Assembly Hall at the UN Headquarters, and the sessions continued with a number of panel discussions, workshops and interactive events until the 12th of August, 2017 under the theme “Society for all: Equity and Inclusion for a Sustainable Future.” The opening ceremony was attended by over 800 youth delegates from over 110 countries.
The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, H.E. Dr. Rohan Perera in addressing the opening segment of the Assembly, and with reference to the theme of this session, said that inclusion becomes more meaningful if it is based on equity, which is central to development. All these factors go in tandem and become key aspects for building a strong and healthy society. He also underlined the urgent need to focus on education, especially in the form of skills development and innovation in order to address the practical realities of the present day evolving world. Dr. Perera further noted that the Government of Sri Lanka recognized the challenges youth have to face in society, and had launched targeted programmes to address many of the concerns of youth with a view to achieving inclusive and sustainable society.
President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomsen noted that 65 of the 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals are focused on empowering and enabling youth. He further emphasized that the vast potential of the 1.8 billion young people across the world is actual central driving force that will take the world to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, also addressed the gathering and said that her belief is that the present young generation can be the first generation to end poverty and the last generation to fight for climate change. She noted that the role of youth should be recognized as a leading one in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and reiterated that “there is no better investment than in the capacities and potentials of young people and there is no better fight than the fight for the world we want.”
Permanent Representatives of the Permanent Mission of Kenya and the Deputy-Permanent Representative of the Mission of Portugal also spoke at this opening event.
The ‘Summer Youth Assembly’ was concluded on the 12 August 2017, which was also the ‘World Youth Day’.
The Youth Assembly was webcasted on the UN Web TV.