UN DAY – A UN 75 Dialogue at the International Court of Justice
24 October was UN Day. To mark the 75th anniversary of the organization the Chair of UN Studies in Peace and Justice and partners hosted a UN75 Dialogue in the Hague at the International Court of Justice with the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Stef Blok.
This event was a follow up to a virtual UN75 dialogue that took place in September. The report from that event is now available online and includes a summary of the policy recommendations that we submitted to the UN on behalf of the 70 students that attended.
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On UN Day, the dialogue opened with pre-recorded messages and a call to action from the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake. The message to the present and virtual audience was simple. In a year characterized by unprecedented crises it is important that continue to support and amplify youth voices in shaping the future we want. After the video messages, the panelists set the scene for the upcoming discussion.
The International Court of Justice President, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf focused on the role that international law can play in achieving the SDG targets. He opened by welcoming the youth representatives and emphasized that to have meaningful youth participation we need to have permanent youth consultation. The President closed by welcoming the participants and audience to home of peace making.
After a short musical interlude, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Stef Blok then took the floor and highlighted the importance of young voices in discussion about peacebuilding. From his point of view, if we did not include young people it will be difficult if not impossible to establish the visions we have for the future.
After the panelists shared their thoughts, five youth representatives from the virtual UN75 dialogue in September shared their thoughts on how the UN could improve the organisation’s efforts to tackle conflict, gender inequality, inequality among and within states as well as climate change. The speakers were also accompanied by virtual participants who asked the panelists a series of question about the future of the UN and how we are going to address these issues.
To close the event Mayor of the Hague Jan van Zanen, spoke about the importance of including youth in decision making process and reaffirmed the City’s commitment to making it possible. He also joined in the national celebrations by turning the outside lights of peace palace blue.
We would like to thank the panelists for taking the time to engage with young people on such important issues. We would also like to thank our organising partners for helping to put together this UN75 dialogue at the Peace Palace with young people in the Netherlands.