“Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”
The United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) took place at the UN Headquarters in New York City from July 9-18, 2019 to discuss the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to eradicate poverty by 2030 world-wide.
This year’s theme was “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, which focused on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 for Quality Education, SDG 8 for Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 10 for Reduced Inequalities, SDG 13 for Climate Action, SDG 16 for Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions and SDG 17 for Partnership for the Goals. Peace Boat participated in the HLPF through hosting an exhibition throughout the conference in partnership with the UN SDG Action Campaign, participated in several side events, and advocated for implementation of SDG 16, on peaceful societies, as a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
The Peace Boat exhibit at the HLPF, held in partnership with the UN SDG Action Campaign, engaged visitors at the UN on innovative ways in which Peace Boat pursues SDGs education through its Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors program, Youth for the SDGs Scholarship program, as well as its Ecoship project- which will sail as a flagship for climate action around the world. At the exhibit, visitors had the opportunity to talk with Peace Boat youth interns and global voyage participants to learn more about how they can get involved in and take action towards the implementation of the SDGs through Peace Boat’s various programs.
On July 10th, Peace Boat US Director Emilie McGlone spoke on the urgency of mobilizing young people for climate action and adaptation at a side-event titled, “Youth Climate Action for Small Island Developing States.” Former Peace Boat “Youth for the SDGs” Scholars had the opportunity to share their stories and motivation for climate leadership at the event. Peace Boat youth scholar Earlene Cruz moderated the panel discussion that included Selina Leem, a youth advocate and “climate warrior” from the Marshall Islands, and Milka Rodriguez, a Peace Boat “Youth for the SDGs” scholar who conducted her own study in the Dominican Republic on micro-watersheds and community access to quality water sources.
From Selina Leem’s testimony of the rising tides due to climate change which unearthed the bones of her loved ones in a graveyard on Majuro Atoll, to Milka Rodriquez addressing the lack of community awareness of and involvement in protecting and sustaining clean water sources in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, such powerful testimonies highlighted the dire need for innovative strategies towards climate resilience for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These inspiring young leaders embody the drive and dedication to implement such strategies and address these pressing issues.
Peace Boat’s initiatives to work with and amplify the voices of youth advocates from SIDS garnered the attention of UN affiliates and related organizations and contributed to highlighting the critical role of youth in the implementation of the SDGs. Throughout the conference Peace Boat pursued SDG 17 through creating meaningful partnerships for the goals, as well as advocaded through its interventions and discussions on the importance of SDG 16 for the success of peaceful, just and inclusive societies, as a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).