This side event to the 2024 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development discussed how to cooperate better to deliver on the sustainable development goals by placing young people at the center of the agenda, and explore how to meet the needs of young people through the six transitions while also preparing for the challenges of the future.

About this Session

The 2023 SDG Progress Report has clearly shown our efforts to address global challenges and achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030 very weak, insufficient; stalled or gone into reverse. Key findings in relation to young people include higher unemployment, low connectivity, limited digital skills, to climate change education not kept up with youth demand, youth not prepared for a greener future, and limited participation in decision-making.

In response, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has called for a “Rescue Plan for People and Planet” for ambitious actions and shifts to jump-start progress through strengthened multilateral cooperation and support for the United Nations development system.

The six transitions proposed are linked to food systems, energy, digital connectivity, education, jobs, and planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. These are priorities with catalytic and multiplier effects across the SDG and require the full engagement of young people.

The 2024 RFSD is taking place against the backdrop of the outcome of the halfway review of the SDGs [in 2005 heralded as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions”], but also looking forward to the “Summit of the Future” [also “a once-in-a-generation opportunity and a moment to mend eroded trust and effectively tackle current challenges] to forge a new international consensus to deliver better for present and safeguard the future.

Therefore, this side event brought together UN agencies, policy makers and practitioners to discuss and showcase, how to cooperate better to deliver on the above aspiration and goals by placing young people at the center of the agenda, and explore how to meet the needs of young people through the six transitions while also preparing for the challenges of the future? How to build trust and accountability with young people on commitments made in the past, including STEP UP: a joint commitment by Heads of UN entities to promote the right of young people and future generations to a healthy environment and their meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels, in relation to climate action and climate justice? How to integrate the voices of young people in global governance? And how to use the energy, passion, creativity, and dedication of young people to bring about impactful solutions to accelerate the SDGs by empowering young people.


By order of intervention. 


Chair, Steering Committee for ESD, UNECE


Coordinator, UNECE ESD Youth Platform


National Youth Council, Ireland


Political and Sustainability Communications Specialist | Secretary General, Cyprus Young Greens


Climate and Youth Advocate | EU Climate Policy Consultant | Environmental Engineer

Katja ČIČ

Programme Director, Youth Health Organization


Policy and Partnerships Coordinator, Europe Office, UNEP | Moderator



Live on Webex.

RFSD 2024

The Regional Forum for Sustainable Development 2024 will take place in Geneva on 13 and 14 March 2024, preceded by pre-meetings on 11 and 12 March. While taking place at a time of multiple crises, including the triple planetary crisis, in recognition of the strong affirmation of the 2030 Agenda at the SDG Summit, Governments and Stakeholders across the UNECE region are now looking for impactful, innovative and crisis-resilient policies and solutions to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Against this background, the theme for the 2024 Regional Forum is: Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Economic Commission for Europe region in times of multiple crises: The effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions”.



Photo Credits

Eduardo Kobra mural dedicated to sustainablity, on the wall of UN Headquarters, in New York. Photo © Ben Lau