Delegate: Ms. Sundqvist
75. Ms. Sundqvist (Finland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that the world had become more interconnected than ever, through widespread dependence on global value chains and services that relied on foreign workers, and that the same stressors, in particular climate change, affected everyone. While overlooking the basic principles of social equality, societies were facing growing anxiety and hostility, which had been transferred from the international to the national level.
76. As a result of shrinking civic spaces and increased inequality, individuals from different backgrounds were segregated into neighbourhoods and bubbles of like-minded people. While the Internet had created new platforms for engagement and connection, the use of algorithms had further triggered the social polarization of opinions and lived experiences. The lack of understanding of “the other” led to dehumanization, demonization and securitization, with personal anxieties reflected in a growing amount of hate speech, in particular online, affecting young people in particular, as well as women and individuals affiliated with minority groups, and deterring their participation in such spaces. While inclusive associations and leisure activities played a crucial role in increasing social capital and building trust, emphasis must be placed on supporting civil society, including movements, campaigns and petitions, and on guaranteeing a safe environment in which to operate and protest.
77. The global Fridays for Future climate movement, now recognized at the highest political levels, was a good example of bottom-up political engagement. Best practices should follow on a broader scale, thus opening up room for horizontal discussion and moving away from short-sighted recognition of civil society actors to holistic acceptance of new forms of participation as a cornerstone of agenda-setting. Such practices would not only affect policy-making, but also lessen intolerance, increase belief in democratic institutions and potentially spark a new kind of emancipatory action. Most [*12*] importantly, it would strengthen trust among people and broaden social and political horizons.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/74/SR.2