I have four short points.
First: The United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth is the official general assembly mandated platform for youth participation in sustainable development processes. We are a network of networks, with over 5000 member organizations run by young people in over 180 countries, and we already work with many of your organizations. If we do not, please join us. Joining is probably the easiest action you will be asked to make at this symposium, and a step towards achieving the harder ones.
Second: I wrote a book for UN-Habitat, called The City We Need, and I’d love to talk with you more about it. SDSN Youth is actually a partner in the World Urban Campaign, and I encourage you all to look into Urban Thinkers Campuses happening near you.
Three. Education. Educators know that standardized testing doesn’t actually measure knowledge. Why do we continue to apply the same methodology to testing nations? We must focus on the process, not only the product, and constantly reflect on qualitative results, not just the quantitative.
I’ve heard it repeatedly these past two days, about education and bringing the goals to the illiterate. If you are hearing this, either in person or on line, we can work together. But that isn’t important. We need to partner with those who can’t hear this. If we want to partner with people who have no concept of anything we’ve spoken about, we have to adapt our methods. AND. OUR. SELVES.
I personally am an architect and was blessed with an incredible education, but it was working as a laborer on construction sites to pay for school that helped me understand the effects of my work on others.
How can we create a just society when the education system, or lack thereof, polarizes people until we get the major two class divide we see so starkly in the world today?
We do not all have to be doing the same thing, biodiversity creates a symbiotic relationship between the plants, and so must our diversity be used to create symbiotic partnerships.
Finally: Many of us have felt in larger conferences that we don’t get the same opportunity to speak. If we can’t even protect the time allotted for our speeches, how can we expect people to protect the time allotted for the SDGs, let alone the planet?
During lunch today I completely rewrote my speech based on my conversations with you over the past two days, and so I’d like to extend my gratitude to the translators for their work as I go off script. Staff and organizers, thank you. and thank you to the security, servers, cooks, cleaners, and everyone who made this possible but probably hasn’t been thanked for their hard work.
Thank you for listening, and thank you for the opportunity to listen to you, as well.