Be active, Be heard, Be Ung i Verden!
By Frederik Felding (@FFelding) and Nick Skenderian (@nickskenderian)
A powerful slogan that accurately captures what has been stirring in Copenhagen for the past months. But what exactly is Ung i Verden? Directly translated from Danish, Ung i Verden means ‘Young in the World’. It has become the branded name of a network of seven Danish youth NGOs (including several students of the MSc in Global Health program) — United Nations Youth Association of Denmark, MS Action Aid DK, Amnesty Youth, Nødhjælpens Ungdom, DFUNK, Red Cross Youth, and Red Barnet Ungdom — working together to inspire youth all around the world and raise a unified voice to find solutions to local and global challenges. The new network in Denmark promotes youth as an essential actor in decision-making and accountability in matters affecting youth in the world. There are 1.8 billion youth today, but there still remains disparities in opportunities and involvement. As an example, unemployment burden is most felt by the youth—this will remain the case unless youth are further involved in decision-making processes.
Ung i Verden seek opportunities in making our mark on matters happening in the coming crucial year, 2015, and make youth part of decisions affecting their life. More specifically, proceedings such as the Post-2015 Development Agenda, COP 21 Conference in Paris on Climate Change, and the Danish parliamentarian elections, will be taking place.
Ung i Verden and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
What’s better than starting this section off with a quote from a world leader to churn your mind on the importance of involving youth here and now for a sustainable future? At the recent U.N. Climate Change Summit held in New York City, Barack Obama stated:
“We [global citizens] are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it” – Barack Obama, U.N. Climate Change Summit
The criticality of engaging a holistically integrated global community in the formulation and finalization of the soon-to-be implemented set of sustainable development goals, involving themes like climate change, environmental sustainability, poverty, and global inequalities and inequities, is imperative. To go one step further, not only is it important to involve an interdisciplinary team in developing these goals, but it is also just as important to engage a community representing all colors of the age spectrum.
In the build up to the United Nations General Assembly next year, the Beyond2015 Conference will be held in Copenhagen this week where civil society attendance will exceed well over 200 members. It is one of the largest attempts to gather representatives of civil society from all over the world, to ensure a sustainable and inclusive Post-2015 framework. To answer the burning question that must be consuming your mind at this very moment—YES, Ung i Verden will be there and we will make the youth voice heard in a presentation given during the ‘High-Level’ segment of the Conference. To make matters even more interesting, Ung i Verden will also be hosting a youth workshop the day before the Beyond2015 conference. Sixty-five young people will gather to learn and have their say on ways that youth can become actively involved, uphold accountability, and influence implementation of the Post-2015 sustainability goals.
Ung i Verden Protests Danish Government ODA cuts
While preparations for the youth workshop and Beyond2015 Conference are underway, Ung i Verden are also showing their face…concealed behind the faces of various Danish MPs…in a recent protest about a decision by the Ministry of Finance to cut Denmark’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 20% or 2.5 billion kroner. As a result of this reduction in annual ODA expenditure, such matters as upholding women’s rights and education in other parts of the world are threatened. Ung i Verden are disheartened by actions such as this and will continue to voice their concerns until they buzz in the ears of the MPs responsible for this.
As we started the body of this blog entry with an influential quote, we would like to end with an image that speaks a thousand words. To all of you reading this entry, no matter your age, race, religion, income-level, or discipline, take time to consider what an exciting era we are living in at this very moment. We are seeing a world that is becoming more and more “Glocal”, as stated by Dr. Morten Skovdal, a professor at the Copenhagen School of Global Health, on the need to rethink the interconnectedness of local and global challenges and solutions. We are in a time where country borders define less of who we are and social media unites us to form a global community. #YouthEngage exemplifies this case, in which youth activists from 24 countries participated in a global tweetathon, which lasted for 24 hours and covered 24 topics concerning youth engagement. With this in mind, while Ung i Verden is just one piece of the metaphorical puzzle, it is important to remember that “Vi er Sammen i Verden | We are Together in the World”.
To follow our movement and let us know your thoughts, follow our hashtag on twitter and instagram: #UngiVerden
& Check out our website: www.ungiverden.org