ECPD Conference and Youth Forum in Belgrade

Submitted by admin on 18. November 2019 - 12:06

ECPD Conference and Youth Forum on UN Agenda 2030

The European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) University for Peace established by the United Nations, organized its fifteenth annual international conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on 25 October on “The UN Agenda 2030: To Transform the World”. This built on the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which mapped out the fundamental transformations required by 2030 to address the many interrelated problems that the world is facing. The conference assembled many experts both from the region and around the world, across many fields and the political, religious, academic and development domains. It aimed to achieve a deeper and wider understanding of the next essential directions to transform the region in order to build a more sustainable future. IEF President Arthur Dahl, a member of the EPCD Academic Council, prepared the concept note for the conference and served as its rapporteur.

The opening session reflected a balance of realistic appraisals of the present situation in the world, while acknowledging glimmers of hope and optimism in constructive efforts to respond. Federico Mayor, President of the ECPD Council and former Director-General of UNESCO, made an opening presentation by video. Other opening keynotes were by a Minister of the Serbian government; Francisco Rojas, Rector of the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica; Ouidad Bouchamaoui of Tunisia, Vice-president of the ECPD Council and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Erhard Busek, former Vice-Chancellor of Austria; and Arthur Dahl. This was followed by 32 presentations by academicians, experts and leading specialists on the different dimensions of sustainable development.

The conference was followed by a two-day Youth Forum for 80 young people from around the world presided over by Arthur Dahl. The theme was "Youth Power for the Common Future: Youth Mobilization to Redress Present World Trends”, using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for finding solutions to unsustainable world trends and existential risks like the climate crisis. After introductory speeches by many of the same keynoters as the conference, there were 24 presentations, mostly by youth participants, and evening workshops on dialogue processes and on fake news. The second day was devoted to small group discussions on topics the participants themselves proposed. A first round discussed a Green Economy, Ecosystems and Environmental Management, and Lifestyles, while the second round explored Racism and Migration, Education, and Dialogue processes and inspiration to change. The diversity of participants from many cultures and countries and different academic and practical perspectives was enriching for everyone. Each group summarized their reflections on a large piece of paper and jointly presented their results to everyone present. Participation was so active that the session lasted much longer than planned. At the end of the Forum, each one received a certificate of participation, and Arthur Dahl was granted the title Visiting Professor at ECPD. Each one went away at the end of the Youth Forum with a wider and deeper understanding of the challenges facing the world and the power of youth to address them.

Arthur Dahl's paper at the conference: The UN 2030 Agenda To Transform the World: Where are we now?

A complete report on the Conference and Youth Forum with photographs and summaries of all the presentations is available at

Last updated 13 December 2019