UNMC was delighted to join Youthink Center to participate in the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2015. This was held in June 2015 in Guiyang, China. During the conference, an interactive space featured an exhibition of people from around the world who prioritized eco-friendly options in the UN MY World Global survey, the virtual reality experience – Clouds Over Sidra, and a touchscreen that visualize peoples’ voices hosted on the World We Want platform.
People young and old, from NGOs, civil society, youth-led organizations, the media, universities and the government watched Clouds Over Sidra, the story of a 12 year-old girl, with absorbed fascination. “This is like being inside a movie!” said one young man from the media after watching the film. As most of the conference participants have never been to Syria or stepped into a refugee camp, many have commented on how this is perhaps the only way they would only be able to meet someone like Sidra.
The Eco Forum Global was first launched in China, and approved by the state with “ecological civilization” as the theme of this international high-end summit. The forum is dedicated to bring together representatives from government, business, academia, science and technology, media, nongovernmental, and other community leaders to carry out exchanges and cooperation, spread the concept of ecological civilization, and share knowledge and experience. For the UNMC, the Eco Forum Global offered an unique opportunity to showcase MY World data collected from around the world, highlighting those who prioritize “Action taken on climate change”, “Protecting forests, rivers and oceans”, and “Access to clean water and sanitation”. Through the Humans of MY World exhibition, forum attendees were able to meet a young man from Puerto Princesa in the Philippines, who said “The ocean is everything for me. it’s my job. It’s my life. If you put trash in this water you may as well be putting it inside my home. I can’t stand for that.”
The Youth Forum of Eco Forum Global Annual Conference Guiyang 2015 was hosted by Youthink Center and included speakers from the UN Millennium Campaign and UNEP, the Guizhou Province Youth Federation,UNEP TUNZA, ADB’s NGO and Civil Society Center. “All-Makers Times : Investment in youth eco-ventures” was the theme and a collection of youth attendees as well as experts and scholars were present to discuss youth entrepreneurship issues particularly for the environmental sustainability industry. Mitchell Toomey, director of the UN Millennium Campaign, offered insights on the importance of youth taking action, ownership, and leadership positions as the post-2015 development agenda is about to be finalized. At the same time, he shared the UNMC’s plan to offer a series of initiatives to empower youth with tools to make their eco-civilization dreams a reality.
The Secretary General Wang Zekai of the Youthink Center and other guests of honor also delivered keynote speeches.
In China, the UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC)’s partnership with youth-led organizations is another great example of how the motivation of young people to make the world a better place has gone beyond expectation. Young people in China have not only contributed their voices to the agenda, but they have helped set a unique localized strategy for China to ensure maximum engagement. Youthink Center’s founder, Mr. Zekai Wang, is a young man 27 years old. He approached the UNMC in 2014 regarding a possible collaboration, when few in China had heard of the MY World Survey. Since then, his organization has enlisted over 3,000 volunteers to utilize social media and offline tools to collect the voices of over 133,000 people in the MY World survey.
The UNMC visit to the Eco Global Forum was a huge success by creating partnerships, raising awareness, and inspired youth to take action. The UN Millennium Campaign imparted inspiration from their people-driven data and solutions, strengthening youth action in China during the implementation stages of the post-2015 process.