Egypt President, UN Chief, Jordan & Palestinian Leaders Adress 4th World Youth Forum

Egypt’s El Sisi preaches peace at fourth World Youth Forum; President credits economic reforms, national health projects for better coping with pandemic

HICGI News Agency – Updated at 0030 EAT on Tue, 11 Jan 2022

CAIRO – Egypt’s 4th edition of the World Youth Forum [WYF] kicked off, Monday with the participation of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, Lebanon’s Prime Minster Najib Mikati Crown Prince of Jordan Hussein bin Abdullah II

The forum is held under the slogan of ‘Back Together’, with the participation of young people from 196 countries in Sharm El-Sheikh. WYF activities are expected to take place until January 13.

2021’s WYF agenda includes number of vital topics, which reflect the features of the new reality after Coronavirus pandemic, that affected the lives of millions all over the world.

Participants at the 4th edition of WYF had the choice to participate in the opening session either physically or remotely via the virtual system due to COVID-19.

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The main session of WYF Kicked off shortly after the opening ceremony, entitled ‘Corona Pandemic: Alarm for Humanity and New Hope’.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Egypt on Sunday to participate in the he fourth edition of Egypt’s World Youth Forum.

President Abbas’ two day-visit comes at President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s invitation to attend the forum activities, the Palestinian embassy in Egypt said.

The Palestinian President was received by Egyptian Minister of Environment Yassmine Fouad, a delegation from the Egyptian Intelligence Services, and Palestinian ambassador to Egypt and the Arab League Diab el Louh.

Also, Crown Prince of Jordan Hussein bin Abdullah II and Lebanon’s Prime Minster Najib Mikati are participating in the forum.

The Crown Prince’s participation is the third time since the first launch of the forum in Egypt.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi delivers his opening remarks at the World Youth Forum on Monday in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh. Photo: The Arab Republic of Egypt Presidency
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi delivers his opening remarks at the World Youth Forum on Monday in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh. Photo: The Arab Republic of Egypt Presidency

Humanity needs to forge peace to overcome the world’s biggest challenges, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said on Monday.

He spoke at the opening of the fourth World Youth Forum, a four-day meeting that unites hundreds of young people from around the world to discuss ideas and exchange professional experience.

The forum is held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh in the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula.

Mr El Sisi said the gathering serves as a tool to exchange ideas “at this defining moment of human history”.

“Humanity has no way of overcoming the challenges its very existence faces and the current crisis except through good intentions and ending conflicts,” he said.

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Later in the day, the president told delegates that his economic reform programme, which began in 2016, had prepared Egypt well to endure the fallout of the pandemic.

He said Egypt’s GDP in the financial years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 had grown by 3.6 and 3.3 per cent, respectively.

Egypt’s financial year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the start of their talks in Monday in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.  Photo: The Arab Republic of Egypt Presidency

The reforms have centred on a sharp devaluation of the local currency, the gradual lifting of state subsidies on basic goods and the introduction of new taxes. They triggered steep rises in prices that hit the poor and middle classes hardest.

Mr El Sisi also praised Egypt’s handling of the pandemic, said a brief lockdown in 2020 and a subsequent resumption of economic activity coupled with safety measures had averted an economic meltdown. He also said his government’s stimulus programme and mega-infrastructure projects had helped the country to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

He also said a recent series of nationwide health initiatives to combat chronic diseases had helped Egyptians cope better with the pandemic. The president said up to 20 per cent of those who have been infected with Covid-19 in Egypt – nearly 400,000, according to official figures – could have died had it not been for those programmes. About 22,000 people have died of the disease, according to official figures.

‘Keep speaking out’, UN chief urges in message to World Youth Forum 

 In Glasgow, Scotland, people take part in a demonstration for climate action, led by youth climate activists and organized on the sidelines of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

© UNICEF/Howard Elwyn-JonesIn Glasgow, Scotland, people take part in a demonstration for climate action, led by youth climate activists and organized on the sidelines of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Although everyone has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on young people has been “especially heartbreaking”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday. 

In a video message to the World Youth Forum in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, he urged participants to help shape a better world after the crisis, in line with the conference’s theme.

“Building a better future starts today.  So, to the young people attending this forum, keep speaking out. Keep identifying the solutions and actions we need to recover.” 

The Secretary-General reeled off some of the devastating impacts COVID-19 has dealt the world’s youth.  

Calling for change 

More than 1.6 billion have had their education disrupted, while unemployment in their ranks has grown.   

Young people have also seen access to services such as health care and counselling dwindle, during a challenging period for mental health. 

At the same time, they have stepped up. 

“In the streets, and online, they’re calling for change — demanding equality, peace, justice and action on the climate crisis,” said the Secretary-General. 

“They’re supporting one another – in their neighbourhoods and on social media. And through events like this one, they’re providing ideas and solutions on how communities can rebuild, and emerge stronger from the pandemic.” 

Message to leaders 

One the forum theme of Back Together: The World After COVID-19, which the UN chief said is a reminder that there is no time to lose.

Having admonished young people to continue speaking out, the Secretary-General also delivered a message to leaders and policy makers in attendance. 

“As you look to recovery, look to young people,” he advised.  “Young people are an incredible source of ideas and innovative solutions.  Their needs must come first in policy and investment discussions.” 

Mr. Guterres said he looks forward to hearing the results of the forum, and to working with participants to shape a better future, beyond the pandemic. 

Peace, Development, Creativity 

Discussions at the World Youth Forum revolve around three tracks: Peace, Development and Creativity. 

The initiative was developed by a group of young Egyptians at the National Youth Conference that April, who proposed the idea of holding a dialogue with counterparts from around the world. 

Since then, three sessions have been held, with the last taking place in 2019.

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