“We have to be the generation that takes action”
At the end of August 2020, ReGeneration 2030 hosted its third annual youth summit with financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers. ReGeneration 2030 brings young people from across the Nordic and the Baltic Sea regions together to encourage active participation and debate about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The summit was planned and hosted entirely by young people for young people aged 15–29. It was attended by people from 16 Nordic and Baltic countries and self-governing territories.
12 local hubs connected online
This year, the summit focused on SDG 17 on global partnerships for sustainable development. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 summit was held both online and in 12 local hubs in Oslo, Stockholm, Mariehamn, Helsinki, Reykjavík, Krakow, Vilnius, Tallinn, Copenhagen, Kiev, Greifswald and St Petersburg.
Ida Karólína Harris, a 14-year-old climate activist, hosted the hub in Reykjavik. According to Harris, the summit brought young people together from different Nordic and the Baltic countries and helped them forge stronger links at national level:
Civil society has the freedom to act independently and to put pressure on governments and businesses to achieve sustainability. In the Reykjavík hub, we helped strengthen the pre-existing bonds between the participants to lay the grounds for future co-operation and action amongst young people in Iceland.
The importance of involving young people
The ReGeneration 2030 summit programme consisted of talks and workshops on global partnerships for sustainable development, interspersed with ice-breakers to get to know each other. A variety of stakeholders spoke at the summit, including academics, project managers and organisations working with sustainable development.
Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, took part in the summit and discussed the importance of involving young people in the political work on sustainable development. She stressed that the stakes are higher for the younger generation, which makes their involvement all the more crucial, and that they need to be involved on their terms.
It is not only important to involve young people, it is even more important to listen to them, pick up their good proposals and be able to implement them.
The young people attending ReGeneration 2030 emphasised the time pressure that younger generations are feeling. Ida Karólína Harris expressed this concern and emphasised the huge responsibility placed on young people: "The young generation is the future. We can't mess up and let the next generation fix it. We have to be the generation that stands up and takes action."
Chairman of ReGeneration 2030, Jonas Færgeman was positive about the impact and will power of the young people of today. He stressed that he had no doubt they will do everything in their power to meet the Agenda 2030 deadline. The summit culminated in a workshop during which all of the hubs and online participants took part in defining and preparing the work and projects to be carried out across the region next year. The workshop marked the end of what Færgeman described as a very successful summit. “This year proved once again to me that there is no end to the energy and willpower of young activists! You can’t help but be inspired by their efforts.”
Learn more about the summit and find out how to get involved:
Watch the short clip from one of the debates featuring Paula Lehtomäki:
The summit was attended by young people from Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Belarus, Ukraine and the Åland Islands.