Having the opportunity to attend the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum as a World YMCA representative for both YMCA Australia and YMCA Victoria was an absolute eye-opening privilege. Attending as one of over 900 young/young people related delegates of the Member States, young people demonstrated a resounding commitment to leading progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for the UN 2030 agenda, in their home nations. The biggest issues that young people faced however, barriers that not only disempowered them but progress towards achieving the SDGs, were growing inaction on climate change and a lack of access to meaningful and fair employment. As António Guterres, Secretary General of the UN said, 'Engaging youth globally is essential for the well-being of the entire world', and while a lot of work has yet to be done for total inclusion, I see the YMCA as a leading organisation in engaging young people in shouldering the weight of progressing towards the SDGs. For this to happen however, we need to ensure that at all levels we are giving young people the opportunity to be heard and for their voices to be acted upon, as the Austrian Youth Delegate said in a whopper power statement, 'Nothing about us without us.'
- Kergen Angel