Rebels of Change making the world better for the future

Creating a better future is impossible without the input of young people. This is why more than 100 students from different Austrians schools gathered at the Vienna International Centre and devised their demands for a better future.

VIENNA, 17 May 2024 – The drive and enthusiasm of the young people at the event was evident from the start. Students came together in small groups and discussed different topics such as human rights, sustainability, or global cooperation and agreed on three main demands. Later, in the afternoon session they worked on possible solutions to their demands.

The focus of the event, organized by Austrian Non-Governmental Organization Südwind, was youth participation. This is especially relevant as the United Nations is holding the Summit of the Future in September this year which aims to come up with multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow in the form of a Pact for the Future. The demands and solutions developed at the ‘Rebels of Change’ youth forum will subsequently be brought by selected participants to the Summit, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dialogue Forum in Austria.


Martin Nesirky, Director of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, welcomed the students and talked about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Summit of the Future. On the summit he said: “It’s a summit, not the peak, it’s not the top. The hard part comes after it, when we try to implement the ideas.” He emphasized the importance of youth participation and highlighted that the students’ efforts and ideas can help chart a path to a better future.

Additionally, Klaus Steiner, focal point for the Sustainable Development Goals in the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs, spoke about the important role that youth plays in implementing the SDGs in Austria. He pointed out that there are substantial challenges to implementing the SDGs and that as of right now, no country is on track to implement all SDGs by 2030. 

Another key speaker was the Austrian UN Youth Delegate, Jana Berchtold, who emphasized the importance of youth engagement, particularly because “50% of the population worldwide is under 30, however, only 3% are parliamentarians”.

Photo: Franz Hagmann/Südwind