Towards the start of summer, I got accepted into the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development’s (UNOSD) youth camp that trains and equips a select number of youth on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is an annual program hosted by the UNOSD alongside the United Nations Project Office on Governance(UNPOG), and the Korea Environment Corporation. The program commenced in Seoul, Korea for a one-day preliminary session and then proceeded to Incheon at Incheon Aviation Academy office for 3 more days. A group of 47 enthusiastic youths out of 300 or so applicants were convened. The group was very diverse with folk from different nationalities. The introductory lectures started with the rudiments of sustainable development goals before going knee dip in the 3 days we spent at Incheon. They were run by experts from the UN. A member of staff from UNPOG took us through ‘The use of Frontier technologies for public service delivery to realize the 2030 Agenda.’ We looked at how agile societies have taken to using technology to redefine delivery in the public and private sectors, how technology is changing the way we live, and the policy implications emerging from this. The case of Mpesa in Kenya- a simplified mobile money innovation that has promoted financial inclusion in the country, and the use of blockchain technologies by the World Food Program to give service to undocumented refugees in Jordan were some of the practical technological examples we looked at. We also looked at tackling climate change, disaster risk reduction, promoting decent work and economic growth, and other topics.
The friends I made and the interactions we had throughout the days were very fulfilling. Over the meals, group discussions, excursions, there was something to talk about. Say, what the other thought about the lectures, if any of the countries represented was facing the issue we had discussed prior, or what possible solution we could think of, to the bare trivialities. Over the course of training, I was part of an active and driven sub-group of members. Claire, our leader, a George Mason undergraduate student, led us well. She was smart and focused. And so were the other four. In fact we emerged the 1st runners up in a major inhouse competition, losing narrowly to the winning group.
Being a Master of Development Policy student, the summer camp was a blessing. The lectures got me to understand more about some of the subjects we had learned in class, and prepared me for others I was likely to come across.