The founder of Youth for SDGs, Prima Pupornchai or Prim, gave a speech to welcome the participants. Youth for SDGs 2021 have 207 students from 15 schools. But Miss Pupornchai stressed that we all gather today because of one passion; the SDGs. Youth for SDGs is a youth-led event that was founded because of youth like Prim and the participants, youth that want to change the world. In order to do that Miss Pupornchai gave advice to the participant. She stressed that there are 4 main questions to ask yourself which are ‘what?’, ‘how?’, ‘who?, and ‘when’. ‘What?’ is for what to change. The answer is to look at your passion, what is your passion and what drives you. As for how to change, the key is to remain consistent and hopeful. By keeping on working hard and expecting the results, that’s how changes can be accomplished. The last two questions are who to make that change and when to change. For these questions, the answer is you and now. Miss Pupornchai then presented her favourite quote by Andrzej Kolikowski; ’If not you, then who? If not now, then when?’
The keynote speaker for this year Youth for SDGs is Mr. Renaud Meyer. Mr. Meyer started his assignment as UNDP Resident Representative to Thailand in 2019, coming from Nepal where he was the UNDP Country Director since January 2015. Mr. Meyer stressed to the participants that they should commit to their passion. Furthermore, Thailand is very privileged in regards of COVID-19 pandemic when compared to other places in the world, their impact is very dramatic. However, it is still very important to show resilience. As for the SDGs, SDGs agenda is ambitious and it speaks to everyone. It is fundamentally about our human rights and aspiration (e.g. access to healthcare, education, decent job, clean air, peace and justice in governance). The agreement of SDGs is the first time that all member states of the UN join common goals. With 15 years to accomplish the goal, it might seem long but time went by very fast, especially when unprecedented events can offset the effort such as this pandemic. Mr. Meyer further explained that the first 5 years of those 15 years will be dedicated to raising awareness and benchmarking. The progress of each country can be viewed on SDGS website. Thailand has made progress so far but is still very far from the goal, especially goal 13: Climate action when our progress is actually backwards. Lastly, Mr. Meyer stressed that we have to show understanding. It’s not an option, it is a duty and obligation. The future depends not just on your action but your day to day activity. Therefore youth have to become actors, otherwise we would be going backwards on our progress.