QF’s Doha Debates amplifies voices in youth-driven UN global dialogue event
September 10 2020 10:12 PM
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening session.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening session.

Young activists join Dear World Live programme on global response to Covid-19 at UN75 Youth Plenary

In a special edition of Doha Debates’ Dear World Live programme, showcased as part of the United Nations’ (UN) 75th anniversary Youth Plenary, young activists from Brazil, Luxembourg, and South Africa have discussed lessons learned from the world’s fight against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The programme, a production of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Doha Debates, examined the successes and failures of world leaders and global institutions in combating Covid-19 and identified changes that must happen in our communities and nations, and throughout the world.

Participants in the programme were Paloma Costa Oliveira, a climate activist from Brazil; Obakeng Leseyane, founder of South Africa’s EdConnect education initiative; and Felix Feider, a conservationist and environmental activist from Luxembourg.

Oliveira said that the coronavirus-related sanitary challenges in the developing world are enormous, saying: “How can you not give access to water that is treated, but at the same time say that you have to wash your hands?”

She said that in some parts of the world, “society is still filled with ego and individuality,” leaving many with a “failed system” for coping with the pandemic.

Participants at the Doha Debates Dear World Live UN75 Youth Plenary discuss various issues.

Urging individuals to play their part in ensuring good leadership during these challenging times, Leseyane said: “A lot of problems are deeply political, and they are deeply entrenched in the systems.

So if you're not happy about your particular institution and if you’re not happy with how your congress is functioning, if you're not happy with how your local municipality is functioning, engage.

Part of engaging is not just voting; it means you spread electoral education.”

Feider called for a combination of community activism and international solutions, saying: “This is a global problem and a global problem needs a global solution – it all starts with local activists on the ground.

“We need system-wide transformative change to move away from a system of decades of colonialism and exploitation of nature and of the poor and then move towards a system that promotes nature and promotes equality and justice and fairness,” Feider said.

The live programme was transmitted worldwide, with the top five viewing nations being Brazil, India, Turkey, the US, and Indonesia.

Doha Debates correspondent Nelufar Hedayat hosted the 30minute Dear World Live programme and moderated the entire three-hour virtual UN75 Youth Plenary, including the opening session with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; the president of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir; and the UN Secretary-General’s youth envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake.

The recently concluded first season of Dear World Live focused on the global response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The second season of the livestreaming programme, debuting this fall, will examine the struggle for racial equality around the world.

Dear World Live episodes livestream on Doha Debates’ Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels and at DohaDebates.com/DearWorldLive.

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