NEW YORK, 31st January, 2017 (WAM) — Drawing attention to challenges such as climate change, unemployment and inequality, confronting young people around the world, including in places where peace prevails, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, yesterday called for the world’s youth to speak up and share their stories.

“Tell us how the United Nations can see the world from your perspective, and answer your concerns,” said Mr. Guterres in a video message to representatives gathered at UN Headquarters in New York for the sixth annual Youth Forum.

According to estimates, about 74 million young people around the world cannot find a job, many are driven from their homes due to conflicts, and, in places where there is peace, they can suffer violence and discrimination.

The UN chief, however, emphasised that young people are also at the vanguard of progress as entrepreneurs, activists and community leaders.

“You have the talent, energy and ideals to prevent conflicts, defend human rights, secure peace and realise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he added, noting that their messages will help “create a safer and more stable world for all”.

The Youth Forum has been held annually by the UN Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, since 2012, and offers young people an opportunity to voice their opinions, share ideas, and think together about what they can do to achieve sustainable development.

Speaking at the forum, ECOSOC President, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, stressed that every day, a number of young people risk their lives, attempting treacherous journeys, seeking refuge from war and conflict. Furthermore, many are fleeing crises caused by financial dislocations and climate change.

President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, highlighted the importance of the SDGs and said that the 2030 Agenda, together with Paris Agreement on climate change, provides a universal masterplan to place humanity on a trajectory to a safe, secure and prosperous future for all.

Ahmad Alhendawi, Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, called on young people not to lose hope but to become a source of hope for the world and called on all sectors of society to work with them.