16 August 2023
UN Philippines chief: Young people are “crafting a new vision of society”
As part of the celebration of International Youth Day (IYD) on Saturday, 12 August, United Nations Philippines Chief Gustavo Gonzalez called for more spaces and channels for young people to be able to air their concerns and contribute to decision-making processes regarding social and political issues. In a video message for the Youth Organization Registration Program National Convention, an event spearheaded by the National Youth Commission for IYD, Gonzalez said spaces of expression are needed to harness the youth’s potential for imagination and transformation to address current global crises. “After decades of progress and optimism, development gains are being reversed by the combined impact of climate change, conflict, financial crisis and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, adding, “It is the children and youth, who make up half of the country's population, who will struggle with the choices of our generation.” Gonzalez shared, however, that in the face of the overlapping challenges they face, young people worldwide are leading the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “For the past 20 years, a new generation of young leaders has started bringing not just a strong voice against the status quo or a desperate call to save the planet—they started crafting a new vision of a new society. That's an important social, and I would say political change, which is placing the new generation as genuine game changers,” he said. The UN in the Philippines works closely with young people to empower them for active participation in society, while also protecting them from violence and harmful practices that may limit them from realizing their full potential. Opportunities for youth engagement and participation have been embedded into all of the UN’s areas of work in the country, including the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2024-2028, a plan currently being developed with the Government to outline the UN’s forthcoming priorities and actions.