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World youth set priorities for post-2015 development agenda

BYND2015 Global Youth Summit: ICTs hold the key to shape our future

San José, Costa Rica, 11 September 2013 – The journey into the future has begun with the BYND2015 Global Youth Summit setting priorities for the Future We Want. The  BYND2015 Youth Declaration will be presented today 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.

The aim of young people gathered in Costa Rica, and those participating from remote hubs around the world, is to influence the priorities of global leaders and decision-makers at the United Nations as they set the agenda for sustainable development beyond 2015 to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Young participants at BYND2015 called on governments to provide more flexible, dynamic and open means of governing to reach more people more easily than presently possible. They emphasized that the key to a successful development paradigm will be innovation and asked for education systems that equip students with not just theoretical knowledge, but with a practical mix of marketable, innovative and relevant skills needed to compete in the global, digital economy.

In the area of healthcare, participants believed ICT tools should be developed that will redefine how we experience health care in the future, with innovative systems that would connect patients to information on health services, and improve the issues of accessibility, affordability and acceptability. Focusing on a sustainable future, the Summit called for a world where we don't have to choose between quality of life and quality of the environment and called on governments to leverage innovative, ICT-based tools for warning, information, preparedness and recovery in the face of natural disasters. They also advocated being smart and safe, calling for greater awareness-raising to make our online communities safe while embracing all the tools, technologies and industries which shape the online world.

“Young people nurtured in a world of technological innovation have demonstrated at BYND2015 that ICTs are the driving force to meet future sustainable development goals,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré. “Their engagement in the Global Youth Summit – the hundreds who made the journey to Costa Rica, and the thousands who connected from remote hubs around the world – ensures their inclusion in the most important decisions of the 21st Century. After all, today’s youth will inherit the world tomorrow. And they will be our future leaders.”

In a first for UN summits, young people from around the world showed collectively that ICTs connect people in ways never experienced earlier and that social media can forge positive engagement beyond national and cultural barriers in a common purpose to make the world a better place.

Over 600 young participants from 68 countries met in San José, 9-11 September 2013 along with over 4000 others who joined the discussion virtually from 50 hubs in 30 countries in self-organized workshops. Over 1000 unique ideas were generated on the specially designed online crowdsourcing platform where the youth community has voted around 15,000 times and provided more than 12,000 comments. Tens of thousands of people joined the conversation via social media with a combined reach on Twitter alone of over 16 million. The online conversation took place in 74 languages, where education, health and access to ICTS ranked as the highest trending topics.

Demonstrating emphatically that digital inclusion is of critical importance to building a knowledge-based information society, many of the young people participating in BYND2015 from remote hubs were people who are not normally connected to the Internet and do not own a computer.

BYND2015 also brought together over 60 software developers and computer geeks from around the world in a 24-hour Hackathon to hack the MDGs and create apps with a focus on health, education and the environment that would help define and achieve sustainable development. Thematic and technology experts leant their weight behind this effort to generate technology-based solutions aimed at addressing global challenges.

Listening to the young deliberating issues that would affect their future were Dame Patience Jonathan, First Lay of Nigeria and Champion of ITU’s Child Online Protection, Nestor Osario,  president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for youth, Ahmad Alhendawi.

Mr Alhendawi said he was committed to taking the message of youth to the United Nations, while urging young people to take responsibility themselves to continue to make themselves heard.

The Youth Summit found strong support in key ITU partners Ooredoo, Claro and Intel and a host of other partners who supported different sessions and activities as well as the Telecentre.org Foundation, which mobilized its global telecentres community to participate actively in BYND2015.

“Ooredoo is a founding partner of the Global Youth Summit because we believe that supporting the needs and aspirations of the next generation is an essential duty for communications companies,” said Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo. “The ideas and recommendations of the event will make a major contribution to human growth and development in the coming years.”

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