GA: Statement to 2022 ECOSOC Youth Forum

Statements by State Secretary of International Development Bjørg Sandkjær and Youth Delegate from The Norwegian Children and Youth Council, Henrik Nordtun Gjertsen, at the 2022 ECOSOC Youth Forum 'COVID-19 recovery: Youth taking action for a sustainable future', 19-20 April 2022.

Ministers and youth delegates, friends

We are at a critical point in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. While some countries are reopening, others are facing new surges of cases and deaths.

Although we are all affected by the pandemic, we are not affected equally.

Countries, groups and individuals that were already in situations of hardship have been hit the hardest – as is always the case in times of crisis.

Young people are among the groups bearing the heaviest burden.

Schools have been closed. Labour markets upended. Health systems have been pushed to the brink, mobility and freedom has been severely limited.

All the while, climate change and economic uncertainty lingers, and protracted crises continue to affect millions of people.

People are anxious and worried for their future.

With Russia’s war in Ukraine, we can expect millions more to become acutely food insecure. The consequences are felt world-wide, and especially by the world’s poor and in less affluent countries.

With the current critical situation for the world’s food supply, the task of safeguarding food security – from land as well as from the ocean – has become even more important.

We must protect and sustainably use oceans- and land-based resources, in order to create the future we want.

We must continue to work for quality education and wherever we go remind each other that gender equality is necessary to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth

No government can reach the sustainable development goals alone.

To be successful, we need a whole-of-society-approach for planning, implementing and reviewing the 2030 Agenda.

Civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples, social partners and other stakeholders must all be included. And – of course – youth must have seat at the table where decisions about our present and their future are being made.

I am proud that Norway has been a longstanding proponent for youth participation in processes at and delegations to the United Nations. We must continue to acknowledge the perspectives, capacities and competences of young people. We must listen to their voices. Learn from their experiences. Include them in decision-making processes.

Dear youth delegates,

You are the ones who will be carrying the sustainable development agenda forward.

It is a big task. We are facing a planetary crisis and war and conflict continues to create immense suffering for civilian populations.

Let me assure you that I will be standing alongside you, working relentlessly together with you for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery.

We need your strength and your go-ahead spirit because we must move fast to create a world in which we can all live in peace and prosperity.

With that, I wish to pass the word on to Norway’s youth delegate to this forum, Henrik Nordtun Gjertsen from the Norwegian Children and Youth Council.

Henrik, the floor is yours.




Statement by Youth Delegate Henrik Nordtun Gjertsen

Dear youth delegates and ministers, 

Youth today, are faced with the consequences of the severe actions previous generations have made by draining the planets resources when we knew well what the outcome would be.  

The responsibility of dealing with the consequences should not lie on my generations shoulders. 

But with the lack of adequate action from the world leaders, it seems like this will be the case.  

This responsibility lies especially with us who have enjoyed the wealth of the exploitations.  

My generation thought we had experienced our world changing event when we faced a pandemic.  

This paled when there once again broke out war in Europe. My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their independence and their basic human rights.  

The attack on Ukraine will also greatly affect the world’s supply of corn and wheat, which will have consequences for the world's poorest.  

It is more important than ever that every country has secure access to food, and sustainable food production systems. 

This crisis highlights the other grave crises around the world, and the long road towards reaching all the SDGs.  

The work with SDG no.4 on quality education and 5 on gender equality is key to improving social equality, and enable growth on the individual plane, but also for countries and for regions.  

Work with SDG no. 14 on life below water and 15 – life on land, is key to developing a sustainable food system around the world.  As youth, it is our ungrateful task to hold our politicians accountable for neglecting it.  

Lastly, I would like to give my strongest support to all the Ukrainian youth who now have to hide from bombs and bullets. 

Thank you.