Building a sustainable and inclusive world for generations to come

4 juillet 2024

How can local governments and youth collaborate better for a sustainable and inclusive future? This question was central to the Shaping our Future Conference, held on June 12 in Utrecht. At the invitation of Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht and President of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), over 125 participants, including young people and local government representatives from 24 different countries, gathered at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.

The conference was organised by VNG International and the Municipality of Utrecht, in collaboration with the National Youth Council and international networks such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and PLATFORMA.

In line with Mayor Dijksma’s vision, the conference was set up by and for young people, with the aim of developing innovative solutions and concrete recommendations to enhance the influence of youth in decision-making processes through local governments.

The day was filled with inspiring plenary sessions featuring speakers such as Emilia Saiz (Secretary General of UCLG), Kimberley Snijders (Chair of NJR), Sandra Pellegrom (National Coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick (President of the Nouakchott Region, Mauritania).

Young people were at the forefront

Additionally, participants actively engaged in dynamic breakout sessions to formulate recommendations on key themes such as climate resilience, sustainability, education, and employment. In these interactive sessions, young people were at the forefront, discussing and developing action plans on how to involve youth in local and regional decision-making on these key themes. These plans were written down by the participants and presented during the plenary session by the moderators. CEMR-PLATFORMA Young Elected Officials Committee was represented by Francine Farrugia (Malta). 

The outcomes of this conference are part of the contribution from the UN Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments to the UN Summit of the Future in New York in September. Mayor Dijksma is a member of this advisory group and will personally present the recommendations formulated on June 12 to António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN.

Together, we are committed to fostering a future where local governments and youth work hand in hand to build a sustainable and inclusive world for generations to come.


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