Join us for the Shaping our Future Conference in Utrecht, organized by the City of Utrecht and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), in the run-up of the upcoming United Nations Summit of the Future.

In today’s world, the challenges we face as a global community are deeply intertwined with local politics and initiatives. Decisions made at the local level can have profound impact on issues such as climate change, social justice and economic equality. Ensuring that young people are actively engaged in local government strategies and initiatives is fundamental in building active citizenship and creating programs that fully reflect the needs and concerns of youth and future generations. 

This conference is designed for and with youth, with the aim of coming to a set of recommendations and innovative solutions to increase the influence of youth in intergovernmental processes through local governments. The event will feature plenary sessions with inspiring (young) speakers and rounds of break-out sessions addressing key themes including:

  • Climate resilience and sustainability

  • Equal opportunities for all young people
  • Education, employment and innovation
  • Impact and decision-making

The conference will be held at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht on Wednesday 12 June. It will approximately start at 10.00 hrs and end around 17.30 hrs. During breaks, lunch and reception there is plenty of time to network with the other participants.   


Click here to register. 


United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres has created the Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments that will provide input on various chapters of the Pact for the Future that will be adopted during the UN Summit of the Future in September. Mrs Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht, with the support of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), is responsible in the Advisory Group for the recommendations in the field of ‘Youth and Future generations’ (Chapter 4):

Youth can build active citizenship for future local governance. In doing so, it is important to define targeted policy goals beyond generic aim at ‘improving the engagement of young people’. Instead, investment initiatives must achieve concrete outcomes – such as increasing the influence of young people within a particular institution, or the youth access rates to an online tool. Other concrete suggestions include: surveys of local youth engagement channels to identify good practices; Organization of a conference on Enhancing Local Governance for Future Generations by the Advisory Group in June 2024, prior to the Summit of the Future. 

The Shaping Our Future Conference will serve as an opportunity to gather and validate input for the Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Local and Regional Governments, and to highlight practical policy solutions to increase the influence of youth in decision-making processes. In doing this, the Municipality of Utrecht and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities are collaborating with UN-Habitat and the Cities of London and Paris, all also involved in the UNSG Advisory Group.

The objective of the Conference is for local politicians and youth representatives to engage in meaningful dialogue on the role of youth and future generations in local governance. By strengthening the voice of young people at a local level, we wish to create a more transparent cooperation between policy/decision-makers and local youth. It is important not only to actively engage and listen to youth, but to also clearly demonstrate how their ideas can be integrated into local, national and international policy. The one-day conference will be hosted in the City of Utrecht and attended by mayors, local politicians, youth representatives and other relevant stakeholders.  

The one-day conference will result in recommendations on the promotion of effective collaboration and collective action in advancing youth engagement in local governance for the benefit of future communities, that Mayor Dijksma will present to the UN Secretary General in the Advisory Group in the lead-up to the UN summit of the Future in September 2024. 

Programme and time

Click here for the programme.