Changsha Initiative adopted at the 3rd International Youth Forum in China


Over 125 participants from 86 countries gathered in Changsha and Nanjing, China, on 31 March 2019 for the Third International Youth Forum on Creativity & Heritage along the Silk Roads.

During a week-long capacity-building forum, young participants had the opportunity to learn from one another in the spirit of intercultural dialogue and a celebration of cultural diversity to engage, to explore the capacity of culture, innovation, and the creative industries, to achieve sustainable development through the safeguarding of cultural heritage and social integration.

“The IYF is not your typical Youth Forum. We will not tell you that ‘youth are the future’. We will not ‘empower’ you. We will not ask you to ‘become’ agents of change. Our starting point is our real belief that young people are changing the world right now, and a certainty that you will continue to take this leadership role in the years to come,” said Ms Marielza Oliveira, UNESCO Representative and Director of the UNESCO Office in Beijing during the opening ceremony.

Throughout the event, young entrepreneurs, youth leaders, municipal, national and international governmental officials, from the cultural and creative industries were able to experience first-hand how youth can promote economic development and social progress, to see how contributing to innovation, creativity and heritage protection can drive sustainable economic development and encourage socio-cultural awareness and understanding.

As a result of the Forum, the young participants adopted by acclamation the Changsha Initiative, an action-oriented outcome document highlighting 10 concrete recommendations under an umbrella of three key areas:

  • creativity and innovation;
  • youth space for mutual learning and exchanging; and
  • capacity building.

These recommendations adopted by consensus reflect the thoughts of the participants on advancing creativity and promoting heritage protection and are a contribution to the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
After the Changsha Initiative was adopted, Mr Russell-Rivoallan representing UNESCO, thanked the participants for their dedication saying:

“The IYF3 could thrive as a living network of international like-minded individuals who, in the spirit of the Silk Roads, continue to build bridges, share knowledge, ideas and cultures. The IYF3 is a genuine representation of a 21st Century Silk Roads”.

Contact: Mr Russell-Rivoallan, UNESCO,