Good day everyone. Thank you all for joining us today at the opening of the Youth Sustainability Development Conference 2021 (Pan-African Edition). On behalf of the YSDC 2021 Staff, I am pleased to welcome you all joining us across the African Continent and the globe.

From Day 1, YSDC has always been about putting youth at the center of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In 2019, the maiden edition of the YSDC took place in Lagos under the theme “Youth Engagements towards Achieving the SDGs” and over 100 participants who were secondary school students were impacted and at the end of the conference, these participants began to think of themselves as solution providers to social, economic and environmental issues within their community.

In 2020, the second edition held via a virtual platform under the theme “Youth at the Center of the Achievement and Implementation of the SDGs” and 150 youth across 20 countries were impacted and the same result as that of the maiden edition was achieved. Youth beginning to see themselves as solution providers.

With the declaration of Decade of Action by the United Nations, and to accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges such that more meaningful local and global actions are ignited, the YSDC 2021 (Pan-African Edition) under the theme “Collaboration for Change: Empowering Youth to Deliver Action Towards the SDGs” set to support social entrepreneurs and innovators across the African continent.

Based on their area of project, attendees who are social entrepreneurs are divided into committee groups which focus on specific UN SDGs. By applying proven methodologies and granting access to the most relevant and up to date case studies, each committee will formulate an idea that can accomplish the SDGs in a practical and impactful way.

It is important that we emphasis that in this decade and beyond, we are dedicated to

  1. Promoting youth and private sector leadership in the space of sustainable development.
  2. Connecting private sector and youth led initiatives in the space of social impact.
  3. Finally, building a network of global change makers such that they are provided with opportunities to further deepen their knowledge and understanding on sustainable development.

In achieving these long term goals, we believe that the fundamental measure of our success will be the value we create for our stakeholders over the long term period. This value will be a direct result of our ability to make huge contribution to solving the world’s biggest challenges- ranging from climate change, youth development, poverty and inequality.

At YSDC, we can imagine the future and we care about it. We know we are part of a story that started long before we can remember and continues long beyond. We sense we are born at a time of important change and we feel the responsibility to make sure that change comes out well.

To the YSDC Board, Co-organizers, Partners, Directors and Delegates, it gladdens my heart to not only  see how far we have come with YSDC 2021 Pan-African Edition but also what we will achieve together in this decade and beyond for humanity and Planet Earth.

At YSDC, putting youth and private sector at the center of sustainable development is a core priority for us.  As always, IT REMAINS DAY 1.

Sincerely,

Damilola Hamid Balogun

Co-founder and Chief Executive, YSDC.