Emerging Trends | Infrastructure | Youth
September 10, 2013

#BYND2015 Highlights from day number one

By Felicity Theaker

Last night, Costa Rica hosted the opening ceremony of our #BYND2015 Global Youth Summit, with several of our key speakers coming together to discuss the overall issues that young people are facing today including; youth unemployment, the need for child online protection as ICTs become increasingly important, the opportunities, benefits and the risks of digital inclusion globally and what the priorities should be for the post-2015 agenda.

Young people have been engaging in a number of ways including through our innovative crowdsourcing platform, through social media and perhaps most exciting of all, through their own off-site hubs that aim to bridge the digital divide by providing an opportunity for young people with limited or no connectivity to have their voices heard.

Day 1 began with a general discussion of the theme #GetAhead which is a particularly popular track on the platform and with a total of 337 ideas to date. The dialogue assessed the issues young people are facing and the ways in which ICTs can be used to solve them, however in order to solve these issues, young people must first be connected.

Although it cannot be denied that the internet has brought about a wealth of new and largely positive opportunities, there are now online dangers that must be addressed, including child online protection and cybercrime. Young people must be educated and given the tools to stay safe whilst also reaping the full benefits of the internet.

Following the initial kick-off dialogue, there was an introduction to the #GetAhead session that centred on how ICTs can relate to the changes that are required for youth (un)employment and the barriers young people face; one of the biggest barriers in life is the fear of failure, but actually people fail every day and it should be embraced.

What’s important is focusing on your particular skill set and ensuring that you are good at what you do, perhaps look for a gap in the market, find an unfulfilled need. With this in mind, technology can be seen as a tool, it can be used as an enabler and a facilitator depending upon your individual needs.

A valid issue that was raised is the fact that different individuals face different barriers such as a lack of transparency in the government or issues relating to connectivity and accessibility.

An intergenerational debate, a Kofi Annan Live Google+ Hangout on the post-2015 priorities, a workshop entitled ‘build my digital enterprise’, and realise your own creative digital independence online, were just a few of the workshops that followed in a packed program.

During the digital enterprise workshop, Rob Fitzpatrick, the moderator suggested that people start businesses for multiple reasons, for financial gains or social change, whatever the reason, he suggested taking one step at a time, start small and then scale up because this gives the organisation a chance to build their brand and gain support. There may be barriers to this including a lack of funding and time, motivation or trust, however, these are barriers that can be overcome.

Then came the #BYND2015 Hackathon – 24 hours to hack the MDGs. Today we also saw the launch of an m-health application that will allow our youth delegates to count how many steps they take during the off-site visits; and an initiative from the ITU in collaboration with UNICEF which launched the Be Smart Be Safe Child Online Protection video concept competition.

The #GetAhead session wrapped up with over 20 young people taking the stage, sharing the highlights of their day and their key priorities for the UN. Evening sessions continued with campfire conversations on issues such as internet freedom and how Millennials were using ICTs. Finally, an open session started at 20h00 where youth delegates began to brainstorm and draft the Statement that will be one of the key outcomes of the Summit. Stay tuned for our second daily round up tomorrow.

By Felicity Theaker – Reporting live from the #BYND2015 Global Youth Summit in San José, Costa Rica.
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