Opening Ceremony of the virtual Asia-Pacific Forum on
Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Good morning and welcome to all of you - our young, talented entrepreneurs from across the region,
And Ms. Dong Xia, Deputy Secretary General of the All-China Youth Federation,
It’s very nice to be with you today, at this annual Asia-Pacific Forum on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
It’s a pity that we can’t get together in person, but in a way this online forum is a test case for the future we’re already adapting to.
And it is great to see young people like you all taking that future into your own hands, with the fresh perspectives and fearlessness the world needs now… The imagination and energy you bring makes every difference in the global fight to end poverty, reduce inequality and save our planet – the Sustainable Development Goals. And your impact is especially great in the Asia-Pacific, home to 60 percent of young people worldwide.
Last year’s Forum saw some truly inspiring projects that made the world a better place. For example, one project from Bangladesh, named iFarmer, created a digital platform linking investors with farmers – giving them access to funding. iFarmer now has 5,000 farmers – enabling more than a million dollars in funding and supporting over 2 million dollars’ worth of produce. So I can’t wait to see what ideas you share today.
The theme for this year’s event is Alleviating Poverty. And we hope today you can share your solutions to beat poverty with others – encouraging more people to take action for a future that includes all people on earth.
Right now, young people may find it harder to be hopeful about the future. 2020 has changed the world in ways we never imagined, with the pandemic threatening not only our health but so many livelihoods. This year, nearly 400 million people may lose their jobs globally, including one in six young people… As if starting your career wasn’t hard enough. Up to 100 million may be pushed back into poverty – our worst crisis in almost a century.
But we can’t give up. Because we know, more than ever, humanity can, and must, do better.
Covid-19 won’t be the last crisis of our lifetimes. It pales in comparison to what climate change could bring, unless we learn from this.
Entrepreneurship goes a long way in fighting poverty thru creating jobs. That’s why UNDP works with the All-China Youth Federation, to support young people to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship and empower them with 21st century skills.
To build back fairer, greener and stronger, we need everyone, especially young people. You know the needs of your communities and how they’re affected. Whether it’s loss of income, or other factors affecting poverty – such as education, health, access to clean water – all these challenges must be met. And your energy and ideas can do that.
So we’re thrilled to see more than 100 young entrepreneurs from the region, sharing your achievements towards the SDGs. We look forward to learning about some of the best practices from your countries, through your stories.
Thank you all for joining today, and the ACYF for hosting with us. Thanks also to our partners – China Youth Daily, Guangzhou Youth Federation and the KAB National Promotion Office.
Never underestimate the power that one person can have. Your creativity matters. Your years of hard work matter. Your vision for our future matters. Because your generation will change the course of history.
I wish you all, and this forum, every success. Have fun and inspire us! Jia You!