Last September UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake unveiled a unique installation that brought the voices of young people to the heart of the United Nations General Assembly.
As the UN prepared to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, the Youth Assembly, a digital installation created by Google for UNICEF, used mobile technology and social media to deliver personal messages from young people across the globe directly to world leaders.
The messages highlighted the challenges young people face in their homes and communities – including extreme poverty, inequality, violence, deadly disease and conflict – and expressed their hopes for the future.
At the unveiling, David Beckham urged world leaders to listen to these messages – and to take action – to transform the lives of millions of children by putting the most disadvantaged children and young people at the centre of all decisions and investments in the new 15-year development agenda.
“It breaks my heart to see the struggles that children and young people across the world face every day,” said Beckham.
“I’ve met children and mothers in South Africa living with HIV, I’ve met children living in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and I’ve met children who have experienced violence in Cambodia. Whatever challenges they face, they all share the same hope for a better future – and we have an opportunity this year – with the world focused on the new global goals – to make that hope real for millions of children.”
Beckham presented the results to the question “What is the ONE thing you want leaders to do for children?”. Young people responded through U-Report as well as UNICEF social media channels.
Almost one in three respondents from forty countries selected better education as their top priority – above ending violence, poverty, inequality or fighting diseases.