On August 12, on the initiative of the National Youth Council of Russia, an online meeting «SDG Youth Ambassadors in CIS Member States: Time for Mobilization and Action» dedicated to the International Youth Day took place, bringing together SDG Youth Ambassadors and national programme coordinators from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.
During the opening segment of the meeting, welcoming remarks were delivered by the special guests of the event: Grigory Petushkov, Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Russia, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Director of the UN Information Center in Moscow, Alexey Borisov, First Deputy Chairperson of the United Nations Association of Russia, Mezahir Efendiyev, Member of Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Vladislav Kaim, Member of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Board on Climate Change.
The national programme «SDG Youth Ambassadors in Azerbaijan» was presented by its coordinator, project assistant at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Azerbaijan Azer Abasaliyev. The programme was launched in 2018 within the framework of the joint project of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and UNDP — «Creating New Platforms to Support Active Youth Engagement in Global Policy Debates”. The recruitment of 17 SDG Ambassadors is carried out every 2 years and is open to young people aged 14 to 29.
Tynchtykbek Bakytov, coordinator of the programme, expert on youth engagement at the United Nations Population Fund, shared experience of implementing «SDG Youth Ambassadors in Kyrgyzstan» programme. This initiative was launched in 2019 by the United Nations in Kyrgyzstan with the support of the State Agency for Youth, Physical Education and Sports. The programme involves selection of 34 young activists aged 16 to 28 (2 ambassadors per SDG) to promote the SDGs in Kyrgyzstan for 1 year.
«SDG Youth Ambassadors in Russia» programme was presented by Olga Popova, Deputy Chair of the National Youth Council of Russia. The project has been running since 2017 on the initiative of the National Youth Council of Russia with the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, UN Information Center in Moscow, Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. 17 Youth Ambassadors aged 18-30 are selected annually. Within their mandate, they carry out educational, research and civil society activities in the field of sustainable development and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in Russia and in the world.
During the meeting, the SDG Youth Ambassadors from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia shared with each other their experience in carrying out youth initiatives to promote the SDGs at the local, national and international levels, as well as their plans for the near future.
One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the decision to establish a Youth Network of CIS Member States on Sustainable Development Goals in order to coordinate and consolidate the efforts of young people and youth NGOs of the Commonwealth countries to achieve the SDGs. In the near future, a working group comprising representatives of the CIS countries where “SDG Youth Ambassadors” programme is currently realized will be formed to carry out this initiative. Moreover, the participants supported the idea of organizing the first CIS Youth Forum on Sustainable Development Goals, which is scheduled to be held in 2021 in Russia.
17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015 by the 193 Member States of the United Nations. In 2016, on the initiative of the UN Youth Envoy «UN Young Leaders for the SDGs» programme was launched to promote the SDGs among young people. The programme nominates 17 young activists from different countries with notable background in one of the SDGs. During their mandate, they promote the Goals in their countries and around the world. A number of countries have adopted this initiative at the national level. In the CIS region “SDG Youth Ambassadors” national programmes are run in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Turkmenistan.