Comprehensive REPORT OF PARTICIPATION at The 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference, gyeongju. SOUTH KOREA
SUBMITTED BY OLANREWAJU GIDEON SEUN, YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE FROM NIGERIA
The 66th United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference focused on Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together” was recently held in the City of Gyeonju, South Korea from 30th May to 1st June 2016. More than 2,200 NGO representatives from some 700 NGOs hailing from an estimated 100 countries gathered at the Hwabeak International Convention Center (HICO),Gyeongju 2016 for extensive deliberations towards harnessing strategies,expertise and resources across the widest spectrum of civil society to unleash a range or education initiative that ensure inclusive, safe and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Happening in the first year of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by United Nations (UN) Member States in September 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure human rights and prosperous and fulfilling lives for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030,the Conference through its three days of conveyance examined critically through roundtables,workshops,side events and plenary sessions the three pillars of formal education, informal education and training and advocacy and public information as the means to correct gender, ability,social, economic and other inequalities that create or perpetuate marginalization and disfranchisement and thus,hinder achievement of Goal 4,and each of the additional sixteen Sustainable development Goals.
With much gratitude to the Office of the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for sponsoring my participation at this Conference as a youth representative from Nigeria, I was availed the rare opportunity to project the voices of young people from vulnerable communities of Nigeria most affected by poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change. Apart from participating in the different plenary sessions of the conference where i made significant contributions as applied,i joined the Youth Voices at the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference to actively push the Youth Agenda for Education for Global Citizenship towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 4 through the Youth Declaration that was presented and incorporated into the Draft Outcome Document of the Conference i.e the Gyeongju Action Plan.
Highlights of participation at the Conference
YOUTH CAUCUS ON YOUTH LED INNOVATION IN EDUCATION
I had a powerful start experience to the 66th Annual United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Conference Gyeongju South Korea with the Youth Caucus on the theme; Youth Innovation in Education;having the gracious opportunity to see,meet,shake and hear the United Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon who made a resounding note on the involvement and engagement of Youth from CSOs and NGOs in the developmental aspirations of the United Nations with over 150 young attendees. With over 15,000 young people registered to participate in this epoch making event,it was another opportunity to re-emphasize the position of Youth as partners in the implementation processes of the Sustainable Development Goals. In his words ” The old era is gone as the United Nations now fully understand and have seen forehand the immense contribution of Young people to the developmental process as their input to the 2030 Agenda has been valuable and unprecedented. However, in the coming weeks and months,we need you to do more. Raise your voice and hold your leaders accountable with that voice. Make it loud and strong. It’s then you will become a big power,an authority and greater force to reckon with. With the previously created Office of the UN Secretary General Special Envoy of Youth, we are really to expand to accommodate more of your energies and competencies in order to create a sustainable world that we seek to build for all of us,a world that we want. Who knows maybe a Youth is the Next Secretary General?. Finally,if you have passion, do have compassion too. The two goes hand in hand as we need each other ”
Later,i spoke through a Focused Group Discussion on “Education and Inclusive Growth in Nigeria where i shared best practices on the innovative LEARN-THINK-ACT Model that has developed thousands of learners in Nigeria into active citizens and not just students, who has gone ahead to champion local and Sustainable causes in their localities. Based on this,i got the recognition Of Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely,Community Mayor of Harlem and the Goodwill Ambassador to Africa and the Adviser to the Permanent Mission to Sao Tome & Principle to the United Nations, Patrick L.Sciarratta who both applauded the initiative.
( I got a rare chance of having photos with these two distinguished personalities ).
HIGHLIGHT:I deduced from close interactions with some key members of the Secretary General’s Envoy that the United Nations Envoy of Youth,Mr Ahmed Alhendawi will be visiting NIGERIA in August 2016.
ROUNDTABLE ON THE ROLE OF STEAM IN POWERING THE SDGS
With two roundtables open for attendance, i opted for the The Round table 2 on the theme; STEAM should power the SDGs which had quite a lot of take-aways. Critical examples of how the “Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics” interdisciplinary learning model has helped nations such as Mexico,South Korea, Nepal and Croatia to scale up their developmental strides was discussed and analysed. It was established that expanding opportunities for scientific training is an essential component of economic development for all nations which led to this proposition from my experience.
RECOMMENDATIONS: For #NIGERIA to grow exponentially towards creating sustainable models of production and consumption, public health, urban design and infrastructure,water distribution, and food and energy production, WE must;
i.) close the interlinked Financing and access gaps in providing Edu-technology in order to offer major new opportunities for the delivery of innovative STEAM curricula to schools and educational centers across Nigeria.
ii.)explore practical investment,policy and advocacy strategies to expand access to science,technology, art and mathematics education that ‘leaves no one behind’ and proactively reaches out to girls and women.
iii.) Adopt critical thinking and creative strategy as a driver for innovation and problem solving.
IV.) Recognize NGOs as implementing partners and NOT competitive agents or distractive critics.
I placed Nigeria at the forefront of deliberations when i pitched a question to the Director, UNESCO Section on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, Alexander Leicht on what UNESCO is doing to build the capacity of teachers and learning on the part of learners in the areas of Climate Change Education, Education for Sustainable Development, Education for Global Citizenship in rural communities of developing countries such as Nigeria where online learning approaches are ineffective due to low Internet penetration. Much of his responses dwelt on the UNESCO UNITWin schools and Teachers course packed tools thats has been in use in certain developing countries and how these has helped in incorporating the thematic areas into the national education curricula. I later met with him to discuss the details of the working engagements of the UNESCO Country office in Nigeria and the Regional Office in Dakar Senegal and how they are willing to implement grassroots projects in Sub~Saharan Africa.
From the various knowledge gathered at the conference, i will propose that the nation (Nigeria) explore ways and means by which education for global citizenship can be integrated into curricula and the agenda for education. The government should also provide structures within the educational system that will enable all people to actively contribute to the political and developmental processes.More so,effective capacity-building programs for education practitioners should be prioritized and implemented.. Furthermore, in furtherance of the Sustainable Development Goals,there is need for government, civil societies, NGOs and social influencers to use a common development framework as it allows them all as stakeholders to work together and channel all of their resources and expertise towards achieving specific joint goals. It is also imperative that the government drive shared prosperity for Nigerians using a multi-stakeholder participatory approach with thorough engagements involving the CSOs, the private sector and the diplomatic community. Finally and most importantly, government institutions, civil societies and NGOs should and must include more youth in their ranks and to continue to work in furtherance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a particular emphasis on promoting education for global citizenship.