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MDG Advocates at Rio+20 - Sustainable Futures: Progress of the MDGs through Youth Innovations
21 Jun 2012 -  UN Secretary-General's MDG Advocates Kickstart the Jobs of the Future
Rio de Janeiro, 21 June 2012 -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's MDG Advocates --eminent experts representing the private sector, academia, government and civil society came together for a dialogue with young people on "Sustainable Futures: Accelerating the Progress of the MDGs through Youth Innovations." The goal was to strengthen global advocacy on the MDGs during the Rio+20 Summit and ensure linkages between poverty, climate change and sustainable development.
The panel moderated by Fabien Cousteau included interventions by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Jeffrey Sachs, Muhammad Yunus, Ted Turner, Marina Silva and Ambassador Dho Young-Shim and featured Youth representatives Ralien Bekker (MGCY) a youth advocate, Edinilson Ferreira dos Santos (UN-habitat) who works on promoting public participation in slum upgrading project, by young social entrepreneurs, Jill Van den Brule (Soleil Global) working on solar powered lighting to address energy poverty, and Sebastian Stier (Code Sustainable) working on leveraging the power of technology and games to promote sustainable development.
The event signals that innovation and youth engagement is high on the UN agenda to move the anti-poverty goals forward in the post-2015 period. "Young people can and must play a central role in bringing dynamic new ideas, fresh thinking and energy to the'Rio+20'process.," said the Secretary General.
The MDG Advocates Group, co-chaired by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda was established by the Secretary-General in June 2010 to help him build political will and mobilize global action for the benefit of the poor and most vulnerable.
In the current global economic climate, there is an increasing need to build strong political support for innovative financing mechanisms. Harnessing the power of partnerships to scale up youth innovations is the key to addressing poverty, promoting environmental protection and a more equitable world. Young people under 25 represent half the world today and must be at the centre of driving change. The Secretary-General is also appointing a Special Advisor on Youth in order to mobilize the UN system around an action plan.
The goal is to change business by empowering them as change agents to implement sustainable solutions. This year, 80 million young people will enter the workforce, with very few prospects. Scaling-up current examples of youth involvement in the green economy in action is key -- particularly in developing countries -- for it has the incredible potential to deliver a 'triple bottom line' of job-creating economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion.