The closing session began with a brief introduction of the Youth Assembly Resolution by one of the members of the drafting committee. Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development last year, the YA Resolution was developed to ensure that youth delegates’ ideas will be made concrete as a definitive document, which will not only serve as a call to action, but a pledge of commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In recognition of the important role of youth in achieving the SDGs, six pledges of commitment for sustainable development were presented at the General Assembly Hall.
United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
Ahmad Alhendawi spoke after the presentations and urged the youth delegates to celebrate International Youth Day next year by reporting the progress they have made in reference to these pledges. He also emphasized the importance of putting youth, peace, and security in the center of public discussions, as well as holding leaders accountable in their promise to achieve sustainable development by 2030.
Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues at the U.S. Department of State
The second half of the closing session was filled with inspirational words and celebrations of youth’s achievement. Andrew Rabens from the US State Department encouraged young people to overcome that powerful force which draws us back from taking action: “It’s time for us to overcome any fears and insecurities that we may have, send forth those ripples of hope from all of our corners of the globe, and build them into a current of youth activism.”
Senior Adviser Strategic Partnership and Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary-General/Deputy Executive Director of UN WOMEN
Ravi Karkara of UN Women urged young people to take action in local and marginalized communities, develop a culture of accountability, and participate in initiatives that advance gender equality and sustainable development: “We call upon you and your leadership today. We need you to bring your voice and expression and tell the world what the Sustainable Development Goals are…We can’t communicate if we don’t do it with youth.” At the end of his speech, he asked everyone in the hall to stand up and pledge to take action in implementing the SDGs.
UN Youth Champion, International Year of Youth 2010
Monique Coleman began her speech with an anecdote of her personal journey from being an actress to taking on a new role as the champion for the International Year of Youth in 2010. From these experiences, she emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there (belief) and taking that first step to attaining your goals (willingness). “How do we transform that vision into action? It starts with belief. We choose to believe in something that’s seemingly impossible.” Ms. Coleman said. She then purported that vision should be connected with one’s passion: “Your purpose requires your passion. It’s a necessary component for the things that you love.” Ms. Coleman also pointed out that young people should not feel discouraged or limited: “Doing the work qualifies you for the work that you are not qualified to do.” Her speech received a standing ovation, which was followed by a “yes, we can” chant by the audience.
H.E. Ms. Simona-Mirela Miculescu
Honorary Chair of the 2016 Youth Assembly / Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UN Office in Belgrade
As the session drew to a close, the Youth Assembly Honorary Chair, Simona-Mirela Miculescu, asked the audience to say five words to sum up the event. The audience responded with the words “amazing”, “inspiring”, “humble”, “passion” and “voila”. With grace and gratitude, she encouraged the audience to stand up and take a bow to the organizing team, as well as to all of the speakers, as a sign of appreciation. She ended her closing remarks with words of wisdom: “Never forget to dream, to discover, to explore, to vote, to get involved.”
Chair of the 2016 Youth Assembly
The 2016 Youth Assembly chair described 2016 as a year of many firsts. This year’s summer edition was the first time that the assembly developed a Youth Assembly Resolution document that reflect the youth delegates’ pledges and recommendations for the Sustainable Development Goals. In terms of online engagement, the youth delegates also took part in taking #SDGselfies, which aims to raise awareness to the goals. Ms. Jou expressed excitement about the coming year and her interest in hearing how youth transform their pledges today into real action. She ended her remarks with a question, “Are you ready to lead?”, to which all the youth delegates said, “Yes!”
Director & Treasurer of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation
In his closing speech, Friendship Ambassadors Foundation’s Director and Treasurer underlined the importance of the bond that were made between and among everyone who participated at the Youth Assembly. He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to all who contributed to the growth of the foundation since its inception in 1973. In this spirit of thanks, he recognized the contributions of the Honorary Chair, Chair, and Youth Chair of this year’s Summer Youth Assembly with bouquets of exotic flowers.