Mobilizing Youth in Achieving the SDGs: ADB’s 4th Asian Youth Forum Calls for Participation of Media Representatives and Online Influencers

Mobilizing Youth in Achieving the SDGs: ADB’s 4th Asian Youth Forum Calls for Participation of Media Representatives and Online Influencers

Recognizing that the current generation of young people will mature during the Global Agenda’s time period and that they will be the most impacted by the success or failure in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ADB Youth For Asia seeks to integrate the recently launched Youth for Global Goals (Y4GG) campaign, an initiative which aims to educate and mobilize young people to contribute to the SDGs, into the 4th Asian Youth Forum (AYF4) to celebrate the highly anticipated UN International Youth Day on August 12th.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in collaboration with PVBLIC Foundation, will host AYF4’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at the ADB Headquarters in Mandaluyong, Philippines, 10-12 August 2016. inviting media representatives and online influencers from Asia-Pacific to join the celebration.

During the three-day event, the DMZ will allow journalists and online influencers from around the region to participate in Live-Broadcasted action-oriented conversations about the role of youth in achieving the SDGs. Media representatives for AYF4 will also have access to exclusive interviews that will be conducted at the DMZ. All DMZ participants will be invited to an exclusive lounge equipped with WiFi, workspaces, a live stream of the meetings, and a space to host interviews and discussions.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon emphasized the importance of engaging young people in the world’s most pressing issues, stating:

On International Youth Day, I call on Governments, the private sector, civil society and academia to open doors for young people and strengthen partnerships with youth-led organizations. Youth can determine whether this era moves toward greater peril or more positive change. Let us support the young people of our world so they grow into adults who raise yet more generations of productive and powerful leaders.

PVBLIC Foundation and ADB encourage all journalists and online influencers to apply to this unique opportunity.

To apply to the 4th Asian Youth Forum Digital Media Zone, email

To learn more about AYF4, please visit


Media Contact:
Karolina Piotrowska
Communications and Media Relations
PVBLIC Foundation



Digital Media Zone launched as a new way of reporting on the United Nations high level meetings

Digital Media Zone launched as a new way of reporting on the United Nations high level meetings

A new way to communicate what is happening at the UN - the Digital Media Zone is a bridge between the UN and the general public, translating high level diplomatic discussions into an engaging conversation.

New York, 27 April 2016 – From April 19th until April 22nd, PVBLIC together with the Office of the President of the General Assembly hosted a Digital Media Zone (DMZ) in parallel to the high-level meetings at the United Nations, where media influencers, bloggers, and journalists from around the world engaged in active discussions related to the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. The Digital Media Zone Team hosted a live broadcast on April 21st together with UN TV. Partners presented at the event conducted interviews and produced relevant content to engage with the online audience.

On April 21st the Digital Media Zone reported about the High Level Thematic Debate on the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals hosted by the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft. This event served to significantly increase international awareness and political momentum around the implementation of the SDGs. It brought together global political, business and civil society leaders in New York to focus on kick-starting the SDG implementation. It also addressed the synergy between the COP21 outcome and the 2030 Agenda. Leaders were offered a platform to catalyse action, discuss concrete steps forward and mobilize potential implementation partners. Forest Whitaker -  Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation for UNESCO and SDG Advocate and Leonardo DiCaprio – UN Messenger of Peace, addressed the General Assembly on Thursday and Friday.

The following day, on April 22nd, Leaders from 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate change as the landmark deal took a key step forward. To keep the global spotlight focused on climate change and build on the strong political momentum from Paris, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited representatives of all countries to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change at a special Ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters that same day. The Signing Ceremony took place on the first day that the Agreement opened for signatures, and marked the first step toward ensuring that the Agreement enters into legal force as quickly as possible.

Media and partners at the Digital Media Zone included: Connect 4 Climate, UN Foundation, UN Development Programme, Mashable, +Social Good, Now This Media, UN Radio, SDG Action Campaign, AIESEC InternationalOrigin Magazine and

Most interviews and summaries from the Climate Agreement Signing Ceremony and the High Level Thematic Debate on the Achievement of the SDGs are available on the Digital Media Zone official YouTube Channel.


he Digital Media Zone was made possible with the generous support of Qualcomm Wireless Reach, Noa, and El Voyage.

Welcome to the DMZ: Technology + Communication = Change

By David Hoffman and Melissa Mahler.

PVBLIC Foundation’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) engaged media influencers for an insider look at the United Nation’s high level meetings focused on technology and communications.

3.2 billion people, representing 43% of the world population, are online today, leaving more than half of the world offline. Even with rapid increase in connectivity, there are serious gaps between genders and among countries. According to the “Measuring the Information Society Report” published annually by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), “in the developed world, 81.3% of households now have home Internet access, compared to 34.1% in the developing world, and just 6.7% in the 48 UN designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs).”

In September of 2015, the UN put forth a fifteen-year agenda of intergovernmental goals officially called the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They outline the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its associated 169 targets, including health, education, economy, infrastructure and climate.

In 1948, the United Nations’ General Assembly met to proclaim the “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It set out for the first time fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It declares humans rights to thought, consciousness, expression as well as work and education. Now in a new millennium, undoubtedly known as the age of digital information and technology, the UN must see access to digital communication and information as a way to enable the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” Almost exactly sixty-seven years later the United Nations General Assembly met again to discuss how Information Communications Technology (ICT) can support sustainable development.

In December, the PVBLIC Foundation hosted the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) to engaged media influencers for an inside look at the United Nation’s high-level meetings on Information and Communication Technology. Melissa Mahler and myself were among the media influencers offered an inside look and access to the leaders from different nations working on initiatives to increase Internet access to promote education, economic development, and communication as well as progressive policies on cyber security. “Could it be, at the point in time that you need to know something, you can find out in two minutes?” Sugata Mitra asks his audience during his TED Talk from 2013 titled, Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud. He reviles his research and experiments of self-learning in children. He boldly shows a different way, perhaps a future way, of learning that given opportunity and access to resources, such as the Internet and computers, learning can inherently happen.

Carlos Alfonso, a speaker for the UN Collaboration for Access and Connectivity in Developing Countries described some of the programs used in Latin American to increase connectivity. He talked about Uruguay introducing their Plan Ceibal that guarantees each child a laptop computer. It’s a direction in closing the digital gap inspired by Nicholas Negroponte’s non-profit project, One Laptop Per Child. The plan is also successful in providing resources cheaply by using large buying power to keep the cost of the laptop to only $100 USD per child per year. Uruguay is now working on the next phase of the Ceibal, which includes broadband access in all homes and schools. “Once connected, we must stay connected,” Mr. Alfonzo notes that there is always work to be done as the Internet grows.

Business today and in the future revolves around being online. Access to the Internet allows all citizens to be producers and distributors as well as consumers. Businesses can organize their financials and take credit online. When paired with mobile devices, this allows for a truly portable business. Businesses are increasing their need for faster and reliable broadband access while keeping their usage cost down. In the last ten years Africa and Latin America have been in the process of converting from satellites to optical fiber cable to enable faster connection speeds. In Latin America, the Joint Internet Society and Universidad de San Andrés report on the benefits of establishing more Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) with in the country. These IXPs keep the Internet growing on a more local level while solutions arise for the complex international systems. For example, “In Ecuador, international transit costs hover around USD $100 per Mbps per month. Local traffic can be exchanged at the IXP in Quito for as little as USD $1 per Mbps per month. Without an IXP, operators would exchange local traffic through international transit routes and the additional wholesale costs for local ISPs would be USD $7.2 million per year.” Keeping the cost low for local use is essential for new entrepreneurship and ecommerce in developing areas.

The most obvious part of ICT advancement is the increase in communication locally and globally. Communication on the Internet relies on the openness of the Internet to enable the human right of self-expression. It’s important to keep Internet free of censorship but also develop policies on web security. Repeatedly representatives shared thoughts on the importance of having human rights offline and online as the relationship between humans and machines grows. Giving more people access to communication tools can build more partnerships and embrace the diversity of the people. Representatives stressed the value of Internet locally as a way to enhance cultures instead of exclude them. Currently, 50% of websites are in English while that’s not the language of the most marginalized groups. Creating multi-language platforms and local relevant content is a fundamental part in including more people. Mobile communication devices are now widely available and include more groups of people than ever before. Developments have led to the Touch Free Smartphone that gives communication access to people with spinal cord injuries, ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other mobility impairments.

Overall the experience at WSIS+10 High-level Meeting Summit of Information Development was inspiring. Each nation sharing their progress and goals provides a great opportunity for nations to learn from one another. Increasing access to information and

knowledge for all is becoming a fundamental right and a critical component in building inclusive productive societies.

Link to United Nations WSIS

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