160+ YOUNG LEADERS - 75 COUNTRIES - 1500+ VOICES - 1 GLOBAL YOUTH STATEMENT
SADD Attends the 2020 World Youth Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden
By: Presley Connor, SADD National College Advisory Council President
On average, 1.3 million lives are lost every year due to roadway fatalities. I’ll be the first to admit, that’s a pretty alarming statistic. But what’s even more unsettling is that this is the number #1 cause of death among young people ages 5 to 29. As a teen, that’s scary to think about - and I know millions of others across the globe share the same concern. That’s why I, along with over 160 youth delegates from around the world, gathered in Stockholm, Sweden at the World Youth Assembly for Road Safety as we committed to start #ClaimingOurSpace to safer mobility at the decision-making table!
Before attending the Assembly, each delegate was tasked with conducting a youth consultation with members of their community. These consultations outlined the concerns that youth have when it comes to using the roads. Upon evaluating the responses, the delegates developed the Global Youth Statement, which we collectively adopted upon arriving at the Assembly.
The World Youth Assembly hosted by YOURS in Stockholm, Sweden provided the incredible opportunity to network with other traffic safety advocates, brainstorm innovative ideas to motivate change, and create action plans for tackling our countries’ biggest obstacles.
Attending the Assembly provided a unique opportunity to engage youth with similar passions for change, specifically in the traffic safety realm. These delegates stimulated thought-provoking conversations that allowed for new ideas and creative approaches to flourish. Through workshops, notable speakers, and one-on-one conversations, I was able to understand the connections between traffic safety and the Sustainable Development Goals provided by the UN. It’s important that we each do our part to create safe and sustainable living environments, and that cannot be achieved without first ensuring safer mobility!
Aside from meeting so many others with a passion for change, perhaps my favorite part of attending the Assembly was representing the youth movement at the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which took place in the days following the Assembly. I was pleased to see how many policymakers and NGOs were dedicated to working hand-in-hand to address this worldwide issue. Even more so, the youth presence was seemingly unexpected but undoubtedly welcomed, which opened many doors for conversation between government officials and youth influencers.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to unite with youth across the world to create change now. If policymakers, roadway users, and the youth work together, we can make sure no one else becomes a statistic.
I know one thing is for certain - youth are the catalyst of change. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? It begins with us, and it starts now. We are #ClaimingOurSpace!