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BYND2015 Global Youth Summit sets course for Future We Want

World’s youth lend voice to define sustainable development agenda


San José, Costa Rica, 9 September 2013 – The BYND2015 Global Youth Summit kicked off this morning with an intergenerational dialogue on what the future holds in the post-2015 era. As world leaders begin to set priorities for sustainable development in the years ahead, young people from around the world have gathered in San José, Costa Rica, to share their views on how technology can drive socio-economic development. It is their aim to influence the priorities of global leaders and decision-makers as they set the future agenda for sustainable development that will build on the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015.

The BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, being held in San José, 9-11 September 2013, is an initiative of ITU, specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies, and the Government of Costa Rica.

While some 500 participants have assembled in Costa Rica, over 3500 young people around the world are involved virtually in the discussions from 47 hubs or workshops in 27 different countries using a unique crowd-sourcing platform and other social media channels where they can actively contribute their ideas. Many of the young people participating from remote hubs are not connected to the Internet and do not own a computer, demonstrating emphatically that the Summit is serious about digital inclusion.

BYND2015 will conclude on 11 September with a declaration delivered to the President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla, who will take the collective message of the world’s youth to the United Nations General Assembly later this month. Addressing young people at the opening ceremony last evening at the National Centre for Art and Culture in San José, President Chinchilla said, “Regardless of language, ethnicity or geography, you come to this meeting to speak in a common language: The language of hope for a more prosperous, fair and free world, thanks to the incorporation of ICTs as an instrument of change.”

Stating that the Global Youth Summit will provide fundamental contribution to the redefinition of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations beyond 2015, President Chinchilla told the young participants: “Each and all of you will tell us how definitive is the contribution of the Internet and ICT to build a more prosperous world, a more just world and a world of greater freedom and responsibility. You have the initiative, you have the floor. We nurture our proposals with recommendations. We listen.”

Greeting participants, both onsite and online, at the BYNND2015 Global Youth Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Young people, perhaps more than anyone, understand how ICTs can help make a difference in people’s lives. In recent years we have seen how youth-driven social media platforms can help disseminate ideas and generate momentum for change.”

As the first UN Secretary-General to use social media platforms such as Weibo, Facebook and Twitter, Mr Ban stated, “ICTs will play a central role in our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define and pursue a post-2015 sustainable development agenda. They give us immense power to accelerate progress on education, employment, poverty reduction, access to health care and the empowerment of disabled persons, women and youth.” The UN Secretary-General’s message was delivered by his special envoy for youth, Ahmad Alhendawi.

“In a connected world, everyone has a voice,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said, addressing youth participants at the launch of BYND2015, “so it is now up to you – the youth delegates here – to take the process forward and to make your voices heard.” Referring to the catalysing power of digital technologies in shaping the global development agenda, Touré noted, “The BYND2015 Summit is a showcase of the power of technology to connect and empower people and to bring them together around a common cause; to collaborate and create solutions for their future.”

Dame Patience Jonathan, First Lady of Nigeria, recently appointed Champion of Child Online Protection by ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, has founded many philanthropic and empowerment projects for children and women. As BYND2015 falls within the framework of ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative, Dame Patience highlighted the importance of ensuring a safe and secure online experience for children around the world.

Also present at the ceremony was Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo. “Young people bring with them the promise of a better future,” noted Sheikh Abdullah. “The ideas and aspirations of the young generation will help solve the problems of today, and build the solutions of tomorrow. We need to look at real-life social problems, and find technology solutions.” Sheikh Abdullah added: “I often feel that – as companies and as societies – we need to do a better job of listening to young people, and understand their wants and needs.”

Ooredoo, Intel and Claro are sponsors of the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit along with some 40 business entities as supporting partners. Their contribution has been invaluable in bringing hundreds of young participants to Costa Rica. The Telecentre.org Foundation, with a network of over 100,000 telecentres worldwide, has been instrumental in mobilizing the telecentres community to participate actively in BYND2015. Over 900 unique ideas have so far received around 14,000 votes along with 11,500 comments. Thousands of people are contributing via social media with a combined reach on Twitter alone of over 15.6 million.

The BYND 2015 Hackathon will look at how the use of apps and ICTs can help define future post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Global Youth Summit will debate the role that governments, the private sector and international organizations need to play to support innovation, while focusing on key areas such as the environment, health care and education as well as youth employment and citizen participation. The Summit agenda was defined by the youth themselves, while ITU, the Government of Costa Rica and the many sponsors and partners have acted as facilitators to set up the BYND2015 platform.

Social media channels: http://www.itu.int/en/bynd2015/Pages/social-media.aspx



Media accreditation for the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit is compulsory. Please see: www.itu.int/en/bynd2015/Pages/media-accreditation.aspx

For more information, please see www.itu.int/en/bynd2015/Pages/newsroom.aspx or contact:

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
tel +41 22 730 5046
tel +41 79 249 4861
tel sanjay.acharya@itu.int
Caterina Elizondo Lucci
Periodista,Oficina de Comunicación
Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones
Costa Rica
tel +506 8311 8725
Note for media: ITU’s video newsroom provides fast access to broadcast-quality footage and news packages. Register at www.itu.int/en/newsroom/Pages/videos.aspx


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