Over the years, international organizations have taken tremendous strides in their universal effort to combat global poverty. In 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals in an effort to end hunger and promote sustainability. There has been great advancement from countries such as Costa Rica and India, which have both made incredible achievements in meeting specific targets.
Furthermore, companies such as Volvo have also done their part by committing themselves to promoting a clean environment. Public-private partnerships are now becoming more common, as they offer opportunities for countries in the global south, who face immense challenges.
For these reasons amongst others, the U.N. recently launched a new initiative geared towards empowering young leaders in the global south.
Youth for the South
The project is officially known as ‘Scaling Up Southern Solutions for Sustainable Development Through Advanced Youth Leadership,’ or ‘Youth for the South.’ It will offer interactive sessions, on-site and on-the-job training, and distance learning for leaders of developing countries. Furthermore, it will provide an opportunity to younger generations to sit at the table, have their voices heard and come up with innovative solutions towards job creations.
The Global South-South Development Expo 2017 in Antalya, Turkey, delivered this initiative in November 2017, as part of their six-publication launch. The initiative is designed as a partnership between the U.N. Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), among others.
The crux of this project is to empower young leaders “to promote transformational change in their communities and countries, and to identify and adapt successful solutions.” Additionally, one of the major focal points is to enhance leadership development programs that will meaningfully impact the youth population across various sectors.
Part of this process will feature rigorous training by 30 to 60 young leaders selected by UNFPA from six developing countries. The trainees will not only possess the qualifications needed, but they will also maintain a strong personality, as they are most likely to influence their communities when they return.
Their performance will be monitored by representatives and staff of various U.N. agencies.
The Global Stage
The majority of the poverty that exists across the world is in the global south, which is why the development of this project should be effective to create universally meaningful change. This initiative will feature numerous phases tailored to meet the needs of those who lack basic training. The first phase will include agriculture and rural development, social protection, sustainable energy and youth employment.
UNOSSC urged the importance of working with the youth, as some 85 percent of the world’s youth are now residing in the global south. UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Alanna Armitage, emphatically spoke of the advantages that the youth will gain as part of this project launched to empower young leaders.
The initiative will help make important gains “at a personal level, really strengthen young people’s leadership by providing them with the skills and opportunities to build their own personal leadership.”
Improving Global Participation
Despite the strong contribution that developed nations provide in direct foreign assistance towards developing countries, the majority of them still do not meet the U.N.’s expectations. The irony is that countries like Turkey, who do not account for much of the world’s economy, are the second largest of humanitarian donors, spending $6 billion on humanitarian assistance.
One high-level U.N. representative noted that the 2030 agenda’s central promise to leave no one behind will “be elusive if [these] 91 countries … remain at the bottom of the development ladder.”
To empower young leaders is to empower our world. How this initiative will impact countries’ progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is yet to be determined; however, seeking to assist young leaders from developing nations by allocating the means to allow people to flourish comes at a vital time if we are to eradicate world hunger.
– Alexandre Dumouza