LGBTIQ youth appointed to two key UN initiatives

Geneva, 18 September 2020 - LGBTIQ youth need to be among those leading the way towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for all. This week, the United Nations has made important steps towards this appointing an LGBTIQ Youth representative to two landmark initiatives.

Firstly, the United Nations launched the 2020 class of 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  today, LGBTIQ youth voices will be heard among those driving action to support the 2030 Agenda.

Bulgarian activist Martin Karadzhov, Chair of ILGA World’s Youth Steering Committee, will be part of the group of changemakers – all aged between 18 and 29– who will be collectively tasked with activating millions of young people in support of the SDGs, both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks.

“Being a young leader for the SDGs is an opportunity to help break down barriers for LGBTIQ youth, advocate for our rights and amplify the voices of those too often side-lined and silenced on a global level,” Karadzhov said today.


In a second separate initiative, the ILGA World Youth Committee Chair is also part of the new High-Level Commission of advocates, experts and activists established to help turn into action the commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights made at the 2019 Nairobi Summit on the International Conference on Population and Development.

In 2019, during that summit, the world saw a strong call to focus on the distinct needs and rights of LGBTIQ youth – a population whose specific challenges have only been exacerbated further by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, youth queer activists around the world have stepped up to lead, often providing vital peer and crisis support for communities that their governments have largely disregarded. 

For LGBTIQ youth to be included among the young leaders for both initiatives means having a chance to be heard at the international level, and to have an active part in the decision-making and conversations that will impact their lives. But there’s more: it will also give them the shared task of helping mobilize millions of young people to take action, and collectively move towards a more just and inclusive future. It is an opportunity that our communities cannot miss.

A portrait of Martin Karadzhov, with his head framed in the circles representing the Sustainable Development Goals

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Note for editors

Young Leaders for the SDGs is a flagship initiative of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.  More information on the 2020 class  is available here

The ILGA World Youth Committee is a group of seven activists appointed or elected from every region of the world to support ILGA World’s work on youth issues. More information is available here

The Nairobi Summit on the International Conference on Population and Development is a high-level conference co-convened by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) and the governments of Kenya and Denmark in November 2019. It marked the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action which set out to empower women and girls.

The 2019 summit sought to mobilize the political will and financial commitments to implement the ICPD Programme of Action, focusing on achieving zero unmet need for family planning information and services, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls, and youth. 

The High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up is a group of advocates, experts and activists who will monitor and report on progress towards fulfilling the 1,250 commitments made at the Nairobi Summit, and make recommendations on issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. More information about the High-Level Commision, its members and activities can be found here.


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