UNOSSC Director shares his life-changing story of participating in similar youth training program
The Closing and Certificate Ceremony of the weeklong training program entitled “Youth Leadership Program in Agriculture for Belt and Road (YLPA): Managing the Rural Transformation in Asian Countries”, under the UNOSSC’s “Youth4South” initiative, was held on 23 April 2019 in Beijing, China. Close to 30 young officials and professionals from Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, Planning and Development of 11 developing countries from the Asia and the Pacific Region participated the training.
At the commencement of the ceremony, Mr. Feng Weizhe, Director of the International Office of China Agricultural University, Dr. Zhang Haibing, Assistant President of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS), and Mr. Jorge Chediek, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Director and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation each gave a keynote speech. This session was moderated by Dr. Li Xiaoyun, Dean and Professor, China Institute for South-South Cooperation in Agriculture (CISSCA).
In his speech, Mr. Chediek elaborated on the rationale of engaging youth in South-South Cooperation and advancing the five priority areas of the Belt and Road Initiative. First, 42% of world population is under 25 years old. Youth is the present as well as the future. Second, youth has the potential to take the lead in addressing the development challenges that we are faced with today. This is especially true in the context of South-South cooperation because countries from the Global South host the majority of the youth population and many dimensions in development processes are shared in common by Global South countries.
Mr. Chediek also drew audience’s attention to the “resounding success” achieved at BAPA +40 early this March where the world leaders agreed that South-South cooperation is essential for achieving global prosperity and advancing the 2030 Agenda. At last, Mr. Chediek cordially shared his personal story of participating in a similar training program years ago as a youth representative. There he met people who he would not have met in his own community and got to know the world globally. “It was life-changing.” He said.
The opening remarks was followed by a dialogue among student representatives of the training on the youth’s role in promoting Belt and Road and South-South cooperation moderated by Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang UNOSSC Deputy Director. Young professionals and leaders from government and non-for-profit organizations shared their experiences and take-aways for the way forward.
Ms. Wang highlighted the importance of mobilizing resources and support from Nordic countries, recalling that the outcome document of the BAPA+40 where participation of Northern countries in South-South Cooperation was warmly welcome and recognized. In her concluding remarks, Ms. Wang appreciated the progress that has been made by these young talents in their various capacities and called for all young people to “stay young and pay attentions”.
The training is the second in its series of the YLPA, a program, hosted by CISSCA, under the umbrella of UNOSSC’s “Youth4South” Advanced Youth Leadership Programme which is designed to support South-South cooperation in promoting youth leadership and capacity development.
This year’s training took place from 17 to 24 April 2019 in Hebian Village of Yunnan Province in China and was hosted by China Agriculture Society and co-organized by Belt and Road Institute for Agriculture Cooperation, CISSCA, SIIS, UNOSSC and supported by World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The first YLPA training was launched on the sidelines of 2018 China-Africa Cooperation Forum by the CISSCA and the UNOSSC with a thematic focus on nurturing youth leadership for agricultural development in Africa.