The role of youth in tackling poverty and hunger at local, regional and international level

On February 11, Ukrainian Youth Delegates to the UN 2021/2022 Alina Kurska and Denys Ganzha took part in a side-event at the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Social Development. Here you can read their speeches.

Alina Kurska

As Ukrainian Youth Delegates to the UN we are committed to achieving SDG Goals, in particular goal 1 No Poverty and goal 2 Zero Hunger and believe that youth must play an important role in this process. According to the UN estimates, young people make up almost 16% of the world population. Young generation constitute a great part of climate activists, human rights advocates and NGO leaders who can play a leading role in raising awareness of poverty and hunger issues, monitoring the situation in their respective countries and providing relevant data analysis which may help in shaping the right national strategies and coming up with viable action plans.

Reduction of poverty comes in line with education and investments in human capital. More educated youth is better prepared for the future and thus can significantly contribute to accomplishing no poverty goal. Alternatively, lack of policies aimed at advancing youth education, namely among the vulnerable groups will be extremely costly to reverse, both for young people and for society.

Ukraine is not staying away from the problems of poverty and hunger. Right now many NGOs are working closely with UNDP in Ukraine to support sustainable solutions aimed at tackling poverty and hunger. 

Denys Ganzha

The further steps could be the larger engagement of youth in the process as well as creation of the programs aimed at supporting young inventors and providing them with resources needed to bring their innovative ideas to life. In addition, special projects should target youth in the rural areas promoting learning opportunities and practical knowledge in farming and agricultural activities. Such initiatives may have a great impact on improving the welfare of rural communities.

At the global scale young people are also having a stake in shaping sustainable food systems. According to the 2021 UN report on youth and agriculture, agri-food systems became a large provider of jobs for the young people, particularly in the Global South. However, the industry does not provide decent work or adequate income opportunities, which reduces the appeal for youth and leaves a large reservoir of jobs unused. At the same time the national and international efforts to ensure a larger engagement of youth in sustainable agri-food systems may become a prerequisite for the drastic transformation of agri-food systems and a step up in achieving SDG goals.

It is high time that governments, international organizations, NGO’s and youth representatives work together across sustainable food systems, inequalities, poverty, education for all and other accompanying problems to pave the way for a better future.

Here is a video of the event: