Okeil: With the participation of young people from 13 countries, we were able to come up with strategies that are in line with the SDG Summit Political Declaration
Essam El-Din: Youth must be included in the national review processes concerned with achieving national agendas
Yesterday, Monday, 25 September 2023, Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights successfully concluded the second phase of its training program titled "Mechanisms for Sustainable Development and the Role of Youth in Achieving It." The Program took place in New York City, USA, from 16 to 25 September 2023. This phase of training brought together a group of passionate young individuals from 13 Asian, African, and European countries, who are interested in the field of sustainable development.
The primary objective of the training was to enhance the capabilities and skills of the participating youth in understanding the mechanisms related to sustainable development. Additionally, it aimed to empower them to actively contribute to these mechanisms. The training also focused on equipping the participants with the knowledge and skills to formulate development strategies that will accelerate and promote the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the short and medium term.
During the initial phase of the training, Maat organized immersive sessions where participants had the opportunity to attend the Sustainable Development Goals Action Weekend and the Sustainable Development Summit, took place from 16 to 19 September 2023, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The participants engaged in various activities, including attending meetings with UN experts and diplomatic missions. The second phase of the training provided them with firsthand experience in the formulation of development strategies that contribute to addressing the challenges and obstacles that the world is currently facing regarding the global sustainable development agenda.
Participants managed after the 10-day training to come up with three strategies addressing key development challenges at the economic, social, and environmental levels. The first strategy focused on “combating seawater and land pollution”, particularly in relation to SDG 14 of the 2030 Agenda, concerning life below water. The second strategy aimed to address the issue of “commodification of women”, exploring its impact on the economies of developing countries. This strategy aligned with SDG 5 of the 2030 Agenda, which seeks to promote gender equality. The third strategy aimed to reduce the “wage gap between men and women”, targeting SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 8 on decent work, and SDG 11 on reducing inequality.
Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and Chairman of Maat, emphasized that these strategies align with the political declaration issued during the 2023 Sustainable Development Summit, and highlighted the significance of incorporating youth's vision in formulating and implementing development plans, as well as ensuring the effective execution of ambitious government plans for sustainable development.
Okeil stressed the importance of continuing to empower young people to actively engage in international mechanisms for sustainable development. This can be achieved through coordinated live training and realistic simulations at the United Nations headquarters, as well as training programs aimed at building their capacity and skills in formulating development strategies and enhancing their analytical capabilities to identify and solve developmental challenges in their respective environments.
Passant Issam El-Din, Director of the Sustainable Development Unit at Maat, mentioned that the training came up with several direct recommendations from the youth themselves. These recommendations are based on the challenges faced by countries worldwide and aim to enhance the role of youth in international, regional, and national mechanisms for sustainable development. One notable recommendation is the integration of the youth's perspective into the national review processes conducted by countries within international mechanisms related to sustainable development.
It is worth noting that Maat’s work is ongoing, with additional meetings and activities planned with think tanks, international experts, universities, academic institutes, members of the US Congress and diplomat missions, with the aim to further strengthen collaboration and partnerships in the pursuit of sustainable development.