Aashna Shah is the Community Engagement Manager of QS ImpACT. She attended the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Doha, Qatar from the 5th – 9th March 2023. Read more about her experience below.
If you’re a young person who’s looking to make an ImpACT in your community, you can form your own council and lead young people to make impACT.
The 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (UN LDC5) is a once-in-a-decade opportunity, where the 46 Least Developed Countries and the UN groups come together to develop a plan of action. This year marked the launch of the Doha Program of Action, replacing the previous Istanbul Program of Action. This new program focuses on 6 key areas for countries to reach their Sustainable Development Goal targets, these are:
- Investing in people in least developed countries: eradicating poverty and building capacity to leave no one behind;
- Leveraging the power of science, technology, and innovation to fight against multidimensional vulnerabilities and to achieve the SDGs;
- Supporting structural transformation as a driver of prosperity;
- Enhancing international trade of least developed countries and regional integration;
- Addressing climate change, environmental degradation, recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and building resilience against future shocks for risk-informed sustainable development,
- Mobilizing international solidarity, reinvigorated global partnerships and innovative tools and instruments: a march towards sustainable graduation.
As I made my way to the UN LDC5, in Doha, Qatar for this amazing opportunity, I was nervous and excited to engage with top-level parliamentarians, civil society leaders, and young delegates.
The conference provided a forum for robust discussions, and I gained invaluable knowledge and insights that will help inform my work going forward. One of the most impactful aspects of the conference was the diversity of perspectives and experiences represented among the attendees. I was able to connect with individuals from different backgrounds and regions, and this broadened my understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our industry globally.
As I work with young leaders from the LDCs, it was very interesting to see where their leaders see their country moving forward. The thing that stood out the most to me was the mention of youth being at the forefront to drive change. This is something that was exciting, as we at QS ImpACT work with young leaders all the time who are making ImpACT in their local communities. Giving young people a seat at the table, a chance to be involved in not just problem identification but also solution development is the way to go ahead.
As one of the youth delegates said, “young people are not the expenditure, they’re the investment for the future.”
It was an honour to share the room with parliamentarians, ambassadors, and ministers of the LDCs and be able to bring our communities work in front of them. They are looking for young people to join and mobilize to fully and successfully implement the Doha Program of Action. That’s where we at QS ImpACT come in. With a community of changemakers across the LDCs, we have the young people ready to take charge and be given the opportunity to come forward and help their countries graduate from being an LDC. This is the time for young people to raise their voices, come forward, and show their impact in their communities.
As the conference overlapped with International Women’s Day, we had all the women representatives, from young delegates to civil society leaders to parliamentarians coming together to share how important it is to have women given equal access to education, opportunities, and employment. It was inspiring to be a part of this strong, shared sentiment, that any community, city, or country cannot grow if their women are left behind.
Overall, the conference was a valuable and enlightening experience that left me feeling inspired and energized. I look forward to implementing the insights and ideas gained from the conference and continuing the important conversations that were initiated during this event.