JyYK in a Conference of Foreign Affairs in Gothenburg

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A month ago the UN association of Jyväskylä had an honour to participate in the Swedish Association of International Affairs’, Utrikespolitiska Förbundet’s, annual Conference of Foreign Affairs together with the UN Youth of Finland. The conference, Utrikespolitisk Konvent, was arranged on April 10th to 14th in Gothenburg. The weekend included lectures, Finnish UN Youth’s workshop on the Post 2015 development goals as well as meeting the local UN youth.

The conference weekend began with Karin Enström’s – the former Swedish Minister of Defence – introduction lecture about the current security situation of the world. In addition, during the weekend there were plenty of other lectures, for example, about the foreign policies of Russia and the United States, about the conflict in Ukraine and about acts of different terrorist groups around the world. Nevertheless, for the UN Youth Finland the highlight of the weekend was to give a workshop on the Post-2015 development goals. We were glad to see that the participants were active and, hence, the discussion was fruitful.

In our workshop, we focused on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The workshop consisted of three different parts: at the beginning, we introduced the Post-2015 agenda, thereafter there were three parts of action and discussion and at the end, we summed up and discussed together. Our goal was to deal with the Post-2015 goals on three different levels: on the world political level, on the state level and on individual level.

In the first functional part of the workshop, we focused on the Post-2015 agenda on the world politics level. The workshop was based on a question, How much will be reached during the next fifteen years? The participant discussed whether every child has a possibility of education by the 2030 and if there is enough clean water for everyone in the world. The participants also pointed out a question whether the affluent countries have possibilities to assist reaching the goals. And if they do, are they lacking the willingness to do so? Thereafter, in the second functional part of the workshop, we asked the participant which ones of the Post-2015 goals are the most important for them? Even though the participants of the workshop thought that the most important goals were actions taken on climate change as well as providing clean drinking water for everyone, there was discussion about the differing interests of different states – compared the developing countries, the developed and affluent countries have different preconditions as well as interests to achieve the goals.

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As we did not want the workshop only to focus on the development goals on the world political and national level, in the last functional part we asked the participants, what concrete can individuals do to help achieve the Post 2015 goals? The participants came up with ideas of, for example, responsible consumption and reducing the use of plastic. Overall, the workshop was successful, the participants were active and we had really good conversations. I want to thank everyone who participated in our workshop.

In addition to participating the conference, we had a pleasure to meet the local UN Youth of Gothenburg. We were both enthusiastic to hear about each other’s activities and, thus, to develop our own activities even better. The UN Youth of Gothenburg were also interested in JyYK and wanted to hear what we do as a local association. During the inventive and enthusiastic discussion, we came up with an idea of cooperation between Finland and Sweden. Cooperation could be done, for example, in the social media – there will be interesting international projects in the future as well!

Altogether, the weekend spent in Gothenburg was amazing: the lectures of the conference were interesting, the Finnish UN Youth’s workshop was a success and it was a pleasure to meet the local UN Youth and see how enthusiastic they are! For me, it was an honor to represent there both our local association, JyYK, as well as the UN Youth of Finland. I want to thank both the board of JyYK for letting me represent us there as well as the UN Youth of Finland for arranging such an amazing cooperation project!

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Jenni Seppänen,

President of JyYK
Board member of UNYA of Finland



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