My experience as a UNA-Canada Service Corps delegate to the ECOSOC FORUM 2021
By Dominique Mieguim
On April 7-8 2021, I had the chance to participate virtually at the 10th anniversary of the ECOSOC youth forum as a UNA-Canada Service Corps Delegate. This annual initiative, which provides a global platform for a candid dialogue among Member States and young leaders from around the world on solutions to challenges affecting youth wellbeing, usually takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this event was held virtually and featured plenary sessions, interactive thematic and regionally based discussions.
I do not know if it is because it was my first time to participate at a worldwide event or if it is because I was serving as a United Nations Association-Canada Service Corps Delegate but I felt privileged and would like to share with you my experience.
A fast-paced environment
With over 10.000 + youth leaders connected, Over 60 high-level government officials, including head of states, vice presidents, Ministers who joined the intergenerational dialogue, I must admit that it was a fast-paced environment. Switching quickly between different speakers lasting an average of 7 min each and follow an uncountable number of short speeches related to one another of the SDG 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17 required to be attentive.
However, the fluidity of the transitions appears as breath-catching and helps you keep up with the flow!
A rich content
Whether you are a graduate or an experienced professional, this is where you remember how important it is to focus on one thing at a time.
I was caught by the relevance and the passion presenters demonstrated when they were talking about the issues they work on. From the political and economic instability of Lebanon while they are trying to control the spread of COVID, to the creation in December 2020 of the WHO youth council to provide advice directly to our leadership on health and development issues. The point being, I was challenged in my endeavor of addressing climate change and pollution. So be prepared! you might want to switch your career after!
The pertinence of the Breakout sessions
Breakout sessions offered great opportunities to show and promote solutions at all levels. Main findings on the effects of COVID-19 on young people and their surroundings were shared during the <A people-Centric response>. Other pressing themes such as recent innovations on reshaping sustainable food systems by WHY FARM and post-pandemic recovery recommendations by IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Students ‘Federation) were addressed.
I was also thankful for the fact that today we are more aware of the complexity of development challenges. We now know that each context is different and that it is necessary to tailor our work to fit the needs of our country and the community we serve so we can build back better.
As a Canadian originally from an African Country (Cameroon), I enjoyed sneaking myself to the Africa Regional Session while attending the North American (since both sessions were overlapping). Keep in mind! It is all about finding your own subjects of interest and interacting in the group chat!
Serve as a UNA – Canada delegate
It sounds exciting, right? I asked myself how would I represent such a historic organization. Rest assured! We had training sessions and a debriefing as well as a workshop on mental health, well-being and professional development a few days before, to ensure that we were right up to the speed ahead of the events.
So if after reading this blog you would like to have a similar experience and meaningfully participating in United Nations Association in Canada events, deepen your understanding of diplomacy. You can look up for more opportunities here or simply subscribe to the UNA-Canada newsletter here so that you will not miss a life-changing opportunity!