NUSA DUA, Bali — "Dream, believe and make it happen" – Inspirational words from celebrated Indonesian singer Agnes Monica which set the tone for the opening of the ICPD Global Youth Forum, which began in Bali on December 4. Hundreds of youth delegates from across the globe and thousands more online are participating in three days of sharing their voices and their vision on the future they want.
The Forum highlights five pillars of youth-related issues including health, education, employment, youth rights and well-being, and civic participation and is part of an UN-mandated review of progress on the goals set out in the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon sent a message of support to the conference, reinforcing the potential and passion of young people as, "the front line of the change around the world". The Secretary-General identified youth empowerment as one of his top priorities over the next five years.
According to UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin: "Being young is about being invincible; being young is about shaping your life, shaping yourself and believing in yourself, it is about living your dreams. I believe the world will be a better place if we allow young people to determine their own lives and to be able to make choices about that life."
The first plenary session focused on Staying Healthy and began with a keynote address from Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. Other speakers included Indonesia's Minister of Health Dr. Nafsiah Mboi and Meredith Waters, from Advocates for Youth representing the voice of young people. The second plenary session explored the issue of 'Comprehensive Education' and focused on the issues of relevance, quality and inclusiveness of education.
Each plenary is followed by a series of World Cafe sessions where participants are able to discuss and debate the issues in more detail and agree on recommendations which will be incorporated into the final outcome document to be produced at the end of the Forum. Recommendations from the outcome document will go directly into a UN Secretary-General report, which will be presented to the General Assembly and will help define development priorities for the next 20 years. The Global Youth Forum will conclude on December 5th.