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Chinese teen idol asks for youth empowerment for achieving sustainable development goals

(Xinhua)    10:15, April 11, 2019

UN-ECOSOC-YOUTH FORUM-CHINESE SINGER-YI YANGQIANXI-INTERVIEW

Chinese singer Yi Yangqianxi (front), who is a World Health Organization (WHO) China special envoy for health, speaks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua at the UN headquarters in New York, April 9, 2019. Yi Yangqianxi, a Chinese singer and a World Health Organization (WHO) envoy, said the creative power of young people could be a strong engine for efforts toward the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their empowerment is vital in the process. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Yi Yangqianxi, a Chinese singer and a World Health Organization (WHO) envoy, said the creative power of young people could be a strong engine for efforts toward the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their empowerment is vital in the process.

Yi, also known as Jackson Yee, has spoken about the promotion of health among young people at the Asia Pacific session of the UN Economic and Social Council Youth Forum, and reported discussions of the session to the plenary on behalf of his regional group.

The teen pop idol, a member of the famed Chinese boy band TFBOYS, said the he felt the forum was an open and interactive platform for young people to exchange ideas, with interesting hands-on activities.

The United Nations impressed him, a first-time visitor, as an inclusive and harmonious venue, with national flags of member states and staff members of different origins, he said in an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the forum.

Young people, with their passion and creativity, are the major force in building our future society, he said. "In particular, the millennials, me included, enjoy unprecedented freedom of choices in relative abundance of wealth and technology."

Yi, WHO China's special envoy for health, called for better empowerment of the young people so that they could contribute more to the global sustainable development. "Young people should not only be job-seekers, but also job creators."

Gender equality, education and empowerment are the top three key needs for young people, as shown during the discussions among the Asia Pacific representatives, Yi noted.

He told Xinhua that among the 17 SDGs of the UN 2030 Agenda, he is most interested in "good health and well-being," so promoting health among young people is the centerpiece of his engagement here at the forum.

Since May 2017, Yi started working with WHO in China to advocate a non-smoking generation and eradication of discrimination against HIV-positive children. In November 2017, he started his own fund to support the "left-behind children" in rural China.

After he shared his work and vision in promoting health at the Asia Pacific session on Monday, "a few youth representatives came over to me and talked about their views on this issue. I feel very encouraged," he said.

Turning to his interpretation of health, he said priority should be given to positive and optimistic state of mind as well as healthy habits and lifestyles.

"We need to start with our own personal action, make healthy choices" and "we can make an effort to reach out to those who need support, including children and teenagers," Yi reiterated his appeal made at the Asia Pacific session.

As a teen celebrity with a huge number of fans, he expressed his wish to continue advocating health awareness among young people through welfare works, playing his part in promoting a healthy society.

The eighth annual Economic and Social Council Youth Forum was held on Monday and Tuesday at the UN headquarters in New York, with the participation of representatives from youth-led and youth-focused organizations.

Themed with "Empowered, included and Equal," the forum sought to provide a platform for discussion on the importance of young people and formulate recommendations to advance the youth development agenda for potential inclusion in key processes and frameworks.


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