December 15 , 2020

Amakobe Sande speaks at the launch of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue

On December 15, 2020, Amakobe Sande, interim resident coordinator of UN China spoke at the launch of the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) Program. The following is an abridged transcript of the speech, which has been edited for length and clarity.


Dear friends,

On behalf of the United Nations in China, I wish to congratulate all of today’s participants in the “Global Young Leader Dialogue Program”. I want to thank the Center for China and Globalization for hosting such a special event.

Our shared vision for a brighter, more sustainable future is what brings us here together. At present, young people are confronted with a planet with many challenges. 2020, the 75th anniversary of the UN, has been a year of great disruption for the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented global health crisis has had severe economic and social impacts on all sectors of society. Progress on poverty and inequality is threatened, with already vulnerable people facing the most serious consequences. All of this occurs amidst the worsening climate crisis and destruction of our natural environment. Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals remains the blueprint on recovering better from the pandemic. With ten years left to achieve the SDGs in this Decade of Action, young people around the world are answering the call.

Young people are agents of change, proposing innovative solutions and driving social progress, all to make the world a better place. We must amplify your potential, and the UN in China and globally will continue to advance this cause for young people everywhere. This year, we have seen distrust and isolation grow in many countries, just when we need collective action. To emerge from the pandemic stronger and better equipped, we must discuss how we can build the future we want in global solidarity.

In January, the UN launched the UN75 global dialogues, asking people from all walks of life about their hopes and fears. These discussions have taken place in different settings, from boardrooms to classrooms, here in China and across the world. In our UN75 Youth Dialogue series in China, we saw young people from across China bring meaningful ideas and suggestions to the table.

Ideas to make society more accessible through technology for persons with disabilities. Ideas to make society more equal through gender equality in the workplace. In these twelve youth dialogues hosted by the UN in China, these ideas were seen by tens of millions of participants online. In the responses to UN75, we the people have been clear. We agree on improving access to basic services – healthcare, water, education. We agree on building a more inclusive economy. We agree with the Secretary-General when he states that “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century”. Despite these challenges, it is your generation that remains and has to remain optimistic about the future.

I ask the young leaders in this room to keep this spirit in all of your future endeavors. I wish you every success at today’s event and call on your action to ensure we achieve the SDGs to build a better future for all.

Thank You!

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