The seminar on ‘The Role of Youth in the Implementation of the SDGs’ was held at COMSATS Secretariat on 24th April 2019 to commemorate the 1st UN day on Multilateralism and Diplomacy for peace. The faculty and students from Mardan University and COMSATS University Islamabad participated in the event. UNIC Representative, Mr. Vlastimil Samek, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
In her welcome remarks, Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Advisor (SDGs) highlighted the stakes that the youth has in SDGs and sustainable development. She laid great emphasis on equality, quality education, gender parity, employment opportunities and due engagement in society, especially in the context of youth. She also touched upon the pillar three and four of the Government of Pakistan’s poverty alleviation strategy titled Ehsaas (human capital development and jobs and livelihood, respectively) especially in the context of youth development.
In his address, the Mr. Samek called for due commitment towards achieving SDGs at all levels, national, regional and global. He placed due emphasis on “Partnerships for the Goals” and considered it the most important of all SDGs. Mr. Samek mentioned UN’s commitment towards youth empowerment and participation. He was pleased to note that COMSATS University Islamabad is a part of UN’s academic initiative. He specially referred to the UN Secretary General’s message for the day: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2019-04-24/secretary-generals-message-the-international-day-of-multilateralism-and-diplomacy-for-peace-scroll-down-for-french-version.
In his address, Mr. Dalair Khan, Lecturer Abdul Wali Khan University (AWKU), Mardan, appreciated the theme of the event and opined that investing in youth is investing in future. He considered the event important due to its emphasis on SDGs and hoped for it to address key issues of gender parity and inclusion.
The main highlights of the technical session that followed were talks by Mr. Adam Koniuszewski (CEO Bridge Foundation Poland) and Mr. Faran Mahmood of Sustainable Development, Cambridge University. Mr. Koniuszewski shared the experience of his organization for inclusion of immigrants in society and informed how improvement in their communication abilities helped integrate them in society. He considered youth’s role in achieving sustainability and SDGs of crucial importance.
The technical session also featured four talks from young university students from Pakistan, Nigeria and Nepal, who delineated on various aspects of the theme of the event form youth’s perspective.
In his talk, Mr. Prem Thapamagar, a Nepalese undergraduate student at COMSATS University Islamabad, emphasized engaging youth at various levels and for a for effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He was of the view that youth, if provided, with the enabling environment, can effectively advocate the United Nations cause for sustainable development. Youth which comprises 24% of the world’s population can also offer innovative solutions to prevailing challenges.
A Nigerian student of COMSATS University Islamabad, Mr. Anya Augustine Igwebuike, opined that investment in youth in education, innovative skills, industrial trainings, capacity building, and leadership roles must be of prime concern of nations as it can bring the anticipated transformations and change.
The talks were followed by interactive panel discussion that had an active participation from the audience comprising young Pakistani and foreign students. The session was ably moderated by Mr. Faran Mahmood.