Socially conscious youth is the only factor that will make or break our future.

Aug 12, 2016

12 Aug 2016, Dubai (UAE) - UNDP UAE and the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare commemorate the 15th annual UN International Youth Day.

Frode Mauring, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. to the United Arab Emirates -also covering the states of Oman and Qatar- Speech on the 15th annual UN International Youth Day

General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Young people are not only our future -- they are our present. Our planet has never been so young, with 1.8 billion young women and men. They are the most connected, the most outspoken and the most open-minded generation the world has ever seen.

I am honoured to be here with you, in a country where youth is the most valuable asset, representing 42% of the UAE’s national population.  While I stand here with you, 13 young Emirati athletes are competing in 7 different disciplines at the Rio Olympics.

I am pleased to celebrate, for the second time, this significant event in a country where not only development is prioritized in all agendas.  Also its federal and local governments work within the vision of the UAE, to put youth, their empowerment and their well-being, at the heart of their strategies.  I truly believe in youth and their capabilities as the most important stakeholders to drive the sustainable development agenda forward in this country.

The concept of “Youth Leading Sustainability” aligns perfectly with the UN’s chosen theme for this year: “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”.  These themes are inspirations on their own! They shall remind us that it is not enough to hope for a better tomorrow – we, hand in hand with youth, must act now and be part of the efforts in achieving the desired goals.

I will use this opportunity to acknowledge the strategic vision and leadership of HE Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, throughout the previous years, that has empowered Emirati Youth and has shaped policies that promote their development.

I also wish to congratulate HE Minister Shamma Al Mazrui for her proposed 100-day action plan that includes the establishment of local youth councils across the United Arab Emirates. We truly believe that the entire population of UAE, youth now and in the future, will benefit from this strategic plan.

UNDP strives to develop the capacities of citizens and reduce the impact on the environment through innovation, new technologies and behavioural change. We strive to play a positive role in the communities and countries where we operate. Engaging and mentoring talented young people is key to both these aims.

In this context, I wish to shed light on UNDP’s support to the UAE in promoting the leading role of young people in achieving sustainable development through sustainable production and consumption. As part of its successful partnership with the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, UNDP created Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, a unique entity now operating with fully capacity that provides support to other countries in the region.

In addition, UNDP is delighted to be part of an ongoing inspirational initiative “the Carbon Ambassador Programme”, supported by Dubai Carbon, in collaboration with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). This programme is a youth engagement initiative providing UAE youth with the know-how and skills to fulfil the ambitious Emirate energy and green economy roadmap to 2030.

In my capacity as the UNDP representative, I wish to reiterate our readiness to work hand in hand with you and your reputable institutions, in the public and private sector, to achieve desired goals and fulfil the vision of the Government of UAE.

I agree that Youth Civic Engagement is not an easy task. It needs sustained and coordinated efforts from all sectors at local and federal level. The nexus between sustainability and youth civic engagement must not be glossed over. It does not require much thinking to realize that socially conscious youth is the only real factor that will make or break our future. Cooperation between all stakeholders on enabling the most essential element in sustainable development: Youth civic engagement is, therefore, a must.

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