On the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President George Vella virtually addressed the World Youth Forum that is convening over the coming two days in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Forum was suspended for two years because of the restrictions posed by the pandemic and it reconvened this year with the theme of ‘COVID 19: A warning to humanity and a new hope’.
Speaking first among other high-level world dignitaries, President Vella commended Egypt for taking this initiative and welcomed the inclusive and diverse audience composed of hundreds of youth leaders from different continents. The themes identified for the discussion are both timely and topical, as they range from the post-COVID recovery, to the role of women, global stability and peace, climate change, water security, energy and the future of technology.
It remains very important to closely assess the impact that the pandemic continues to have on children and adolescents. Millions of children have come face to face with the devastating loss or serious illness of a close relative. Countless others are exposed to severe food shortages, lack of medical equipment and supplies.
At this crucial juncture, the international community cannot turn its back on the most vulnerable and added that the global family needs to identify a post-pandemic recovery plan that covers all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Youth, President Vella added, have a fundamental role to play in bringing about positive change and instilling a tangible sense of solidarity. He urged both young and old to act as equal partners in addressing issues of common interest such as social justice, ecological cooperation and security.
President Vella concluded his address by calling on international youth to leave no space for hate, xenophobia, ostracism, racism, or exclusion based on ethnicity, creed, gender, but to act instead, as agents of dialogue and trust.