International Youth Conference 2020
May 30 - 31st
The role of youth in regeneration of the post COVID-19 world
Drafted after consultation with youth and speakers who were a part of the International Youth Conference 2020
For young people around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has been no less than a catastrophe. In addition to witnessing the failure of the healthcare system, waves of unemployment have been reported from around the world. Stock markets crashed, development halted, and schools closed down. This pandemic and its impacts have given birth to anxiety and depression which has and will continue to disproportionately affect the youth.
It is in such tumultuous times only that youth can rise to the occasion and rescue societies from major disaster in the aftermath of a pandemic. The scores of youth who registered for and showed up at the conference are a testimony to this very fact.
The International Youth Conference (IYC) has been the first-of-its-kind global platform and conversation on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world. The discussions at the conference spanned around various aspects of the turmoil, where the need to fight inequality, demand accountability from governments and the authorities, rebuild economies, and keep focus on macro-level issues in spite of the pandemic were discussed. Solutions towards regenerating and rebuilding the world were also discussed, and youth can indubitably play a major role in the process.
This document is a guiding point, a reference for youth through which they can drive social action and take corrective measures to restore economies and rebuild the world in the age of the so-called “new normal”.
On an Individual level,
we the youth can and will:
1. Be kind. The entire human race is going through this turbulent period, and we are in this together. Everyone is battling depression. A little kindness goes a long way. Engaging ourselves in positive and healthy activities like reading books, watching informative movies and documentaries, writing blogs etc. is necessary to nurture ourselves and our communities
2. Be responsible. By limiting physical interaction and travelling responsibly, we can limit the spread of COVID-19 and speed up the timeline in which we can engage with our community in person.
3. Learn new skills and identify economic and engagement opportunities to stay productive and focused towards the goal of bringing peace to our societies..
4. Educate and help others develop digital literacy and skills through the effective use of virtual tools and open-source, readily available content. Much freelance and virtual work can be found through using such skills, and employers will find a larger pool of skilled workers to outsource jobs to.
5. Become advocates of digital transformation. We have witnessed millions of people lose their jobs while people and businesses which have adapted to the digital world have survived. We must preach the use of technology and the development of digital skills to those who are underprivileged and underserved as part of the economic empowerment of the masses. We will organize training sessions and workshops and help those within Gen. X and Gen. Y adapt.
6. Use social media to raise awareness among people on how to contribute towards sustainable development, both for our communities and our planet.
On a Communal level,
we the youth can and will:
7. Support and protect the most vulnerable from the practices of individuals and corporations who continue to profit from the pandemic. We will stand against the greed and morally corrupt practice of disaster capitalism.
8. Organize community-based volunteer groups to engage people to take unified actions to rebuild communities and start programs/initiatives using numerous online resources and organizations.
9. Use the “Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)” method to rebuild sustainable communities. The ABCD method tells us how to generate and mobilize resources from within the communities.
10. Promote small and local businesses in our communities and encourage entrepreneurship to rebuild economies. These small businesses are the backbone of the economy and have the potential to create numerous, sustainable jobs for people. This will not only help the economy but will also curb unemployment.
11. Call upon people to differentiate fake news from the facts. We have seen the havoc caused by unverified stories, especially during the time of the pandemic. We will seek verification of news through our individual news consumption and on a larger scale. A quick Google search is enough. We will also encourage ourselves and others to look at authentic sources like WHO and federal and provincial governments for information.
12. Check the UN’s Verified database (https://shareverified.com) for best practices and human interest stories on the pandemic. We will use it as a resource for the latest and accurate information.
On a Global level,
we the youth can and will:
13. Sustain urgency and keep the climate emergency as a top priority in all discussions, especially as conversations of rebuilding economies become more relevant.
14. Comply with and endorse the Youth Climate Compact drafted at the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference as a guiding point for driving all action around the climate crisis.
15. Support and help the UN’s mission of accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
16. Let the UN hear our voice by taking the UN75 Survey www.un75.online or by hosting a dialogue around the UN 75 (www.un.org/un75). The UN Secretary General has made it clear that the global community must listen to the youth,so it is critical that we make our collective voice count.
17. Call-out racial, ethnic, and sectarian discrimination whenever we see it happening in our neighborhoods, communities, cities, and nations. The pandemic has brought inequalities on all levels to light. Lower socioeconomic and marginalized communities have been most affected healthwise, economically, and socially. We will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and will stand against it.
18. Demand accountability for government actions and push for large-scale policy change which will ensure the rights of all people and the health of our planet. We will hold them accountable for the handling of the pandemic. We will run for these positions to ensure that corrective and just action is taken for our communities.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced and exacerbated major issues affecting all societies, it has also forced us to introspect and reexamine how we interact with our planet and each other. We must modify our priorities and our approaches to solving local and global problems through the responsible use of technology, the continuous uplifting of voices from our most affected communities, and the equal education of all. We must consider this an opportunity to connect with other youth from around the world, understand the issues that are unique to them, and find effective ways that we can make necessary, actionable change together and as individuals. As citizens of this global community, we must see our struggles as part of a much larger conversation and preserve the momentum from the dialogue of the IYC.