Non-Aligned Movement recognises the role youth can play in modern societies. The Baku Summit of the NAM held in 2019 reaffirmed the importance of the inclusion of youth in the process of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs, and National Development Policies. On the side-lines of the Baku Summit, the first-ever NAM Youth Summit took place on 24-25 October 2019. 40 young people representing 40 different NAM Member States attended this event. The participants were divided into three groups, each dedicated to one of the “three pillars” of the United Nations: Peace and Security, Human Rights, and Sustainable Development.
Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Ramiz Hasanov noted that the NAM provides a broad and comprehensive platform for political consultations and cooperation among its member countries. In his remarks, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sports Azad Rahimov said that the first ever Youth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was an initiative of Azerbaijan. The minister highlighted the successful youth policy pursued by the Azerbaijani leadership. The Youth Summit supported the establishment of a NAM Youth Network which will enable the youth representatives of NAM Member States to exchange ideas, visions and perspectives on current challenges that they face in ensuring sustainable progress and how these difficulties could be overcome through concerted and adequate responses of their States.

The first-ever International NAM Model Simulation Exercise initiated by Azerbaijani chairmanship took place on 1-5 March 2021 and reiterated the support to the establishment of a NAM Youth Network which will enable the youth representatives of NAM Member States to exchange ideas, visions and perspectives on current challenges that they face in ensuring sustainable progress and how their difficulties could be overcome through concerted and adequate responses of their States.

The initiative of Azerbaijan has finally come to fruition. On October 5, 2021, the NAM Youth Network was officially launched. Jeyhun Bayramov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in his keynote address said that NAM Youth Network is expected to gradually transform to one of the most effective youth organizations at the global scale. The world today is home to the largest generation of young people in history – 1.8 billion. Close to 90 percent of them live in developing countries, where the Member States of Non-Aligned Movement constitute absolute majority. “Connected to each other like never before, young people contribute to the resilience of their communities by proposing innovative solutions and driving social progress. At the same time, they continue to face multifaceted challenges, including, among others, access to quality education, healthcare, and decent work, forced displacement, different forms of discrimination and marginalization, all of which impede them to achieve their full potential. The way how young people navigate their way and overcome these challenges is critical for the progress of mankind. Youth development and youth engagement are essential elements of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well”, he stressed on the significance of the NAM Youth Network “It is a distinct honour for Azerbaijan as the incumbent chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement to initiate the establishment of this Network at this historic moment when we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our Movement,” the Azerbaijan Foreign Minister remarked.

“Azerbaijan believes that the formation of NAM Youth Network with solid structure and clear, result-oriented vision will enable the NAM youth community to address the youth development-related challenges more effectively and to convey the unified messages of NAM youth to the international community in a more systematic way. NAM Member States expect the Youth Network to represent the interests of NAM youth at different international fora, in close cooperation and partnership with relevant UN agencies and youth-related institutions, and to help raising awareness among the youth about the important mission that NAM is carrying in light of the growing challenges to peace and security”, the Minister stated.

Photo Credit : https://twitter.com/namyouthnetwork/status/1445047705319972865/photo/1