Young people from Latin America speak out on their vision of the Sustainable Development Goals

Young people from Latin America speak out on their vision of the Sustainable Development Goals

What do young people from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) think about  the challenge of industrialization in their region? How do they see their countries implementing or contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 9?

To find out, the LAC Bureau at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with AIESEC and the International Commission On Workforce Development, organized an essay contest. 

Over 140 young people under the age of 30 took part in it. The young authors wrote about industry as a driving force for poverty reduction, about protecting the environment, and exploring new energy sources, and about ways industrialization and economic activities can empower women.

Brazilian International Relations student, Telma Giovana de Freitas, said she believes that industry plays a crucial role in the overall development of her country. In particular, building sustainable and resilient infrastructure, which is the aim of Goal 9, can support economic growth and social development.

She wrote about the challenges facing the region and the ways to address them by drawing on the success of East Asian countries, highlighting the importance of industrial policy and the role of the State in this respect.

She also emphasized the need to preserve the environment. “It is important to note that, nowadays, it is not just the development of ‘high tech’ products that matter, the way you are producing it also matters a lot, the countries that manage to create green technology, will make a great leap forward, and LAC region should make efforts to excel in this matter, to become a reference in Green Industry,” wrote de Freitas, who won the first prize in the competition.

The other two winners were Jorge Luis Filio Flores from Mexico and Mauricio Tong Wong from Peru. The three students won a trip to Vienna and a stipend of EUR 800. They also had the chance to present their views to the representatives of the diplomatic community in Vienna.

"It was fascinating to read the essays of the young people from the Latin American and Caribbean region. I was impressed with the way they addressed different subjects and with their strong visions. Young people are essential to achieving the SDGs,” said Carlos Chanduvi, the head of UNIDO’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The authors of the top ten essays all won online courses for professional development given by the International Commission for the Development of Workforce.

"The recommendations voiced by young people in the essays can be integrated in the strategic agenda of the region," said Alfredo Raúl Chuquihuara, Ambassador of Peru.

Eric Appiateng, Staff Council President of UNIDO and one of the judges of the contest, said: “It is essential for UNIDO to know about the vision of the youth in Latin America and the Caribbean, because they have a unique view of the industrial challenges facing their region."

To read the top 10 essays, visit the event page

By ZHONG Xingfei