6 October 2017 - Amid global challenges that the twenty-first century presents, eminent figures in politics, the private sector, civil society and academia recently gathered at the Global Youth Leadership Forum to discuss the main problems facing the international community and ways to address them.
Following last year's success and positive feedback from participants, the second edition of the Forum took place from September 24 to 30 in the Magdalena Palace of Santander, Spain, with a view to promoting dialogue and information sharing on pressing global challenges. Co-sponsored by UNODC, the event provided a platform for more than 200 young leaders coming together to exchange ideas on what to expect from tomorrow's world.
Representing UNODC, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony. He discussed how transnational organized crime has become one of the major winners of globalization, jeopardizing equitable and inclusive economic development.
Having engaged in several high-level panel discussions with youth leaders, entrepreneurs, and Government officials as well as academics, Mr. Lemahieu said: "Fragile countries characterized by weakened institutions and capability have proven to be easy prey for transboundary criminal operations. Transnational crime is best compared with a virus which festers in a low immunity governance environment."
Joining him, Jacobo Pombo, President of the Forum, expressed appreciation to UNODC for cosponsoring the Forum. He emphasized that talented young civil servants and entrepreneurs constitute the platform to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 goals. During the event, Mr. Lemahieu and Mr. Pombo signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at further strengthening cooperation between the Office and the Global Youth Leadership Forum.
Throughout the event, participants discussed, among others, the importance of sustainable development, national and international security, the future of education and youth unemployment as well as the role of international organizations, the private sector, civil society organizations and academia in overcoming the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Also participating were young business leaders such as Sanjay Varma, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kalido-App and nominated entrepreneur of the Asia and Pacific in 2013; and Archie Ravishankar, founder and CEO of Cogni software banking. Ana Botín, President of the Santander Bank; Alexandre de Rotschild, Executive Deputy Chairman, Management Board of the Rotschild Bank; and Rafael Catalá, Minister for Justice of Spain were present as well.
The Global Youth Leadership Forum was created in 2016 to establish a unique platform for discussion and knowledge exchange to address global challenges. The next session is expected to take place in 2018.