Youth Taking Actions to Implement the 2030 Agenda

Avatar Global Activist for Edu and Gender Equality
Salam Al-Nukta
Member since November 30, 2015
  • 25 Posts
  • Age 24

Syrian youth standing for the SDGs

Syrian youth standing for the SDGs

Our globe is home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10-24. The youth population is growing fastest in less developing countries, despite the hard circumstances, low living standards and, in some countries, war.

“Young people must be at the centre of the post-2015 vision for sustainable development to drive the future we want,” says Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director at UNFPA.

As a youth, and unlike many others, I was given the chance to put youthful efforts into one of UNFPA’s biggest events in my home country, Syria. Through that, I was able to see passionate people, like UNFPA’s staff, implementing initiatives to turn words into real actions. The question is, how many more people like them do we have?

On February 1st 2016 youth leaders and UN personnel opened the 5th ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) Youth Forum. I hadn’t had the chance to be one of the lucky few sitting in that breathtaking stadium among powerful people. However, I was able to participate virtually through my small 15 inches laptop screen and wifi connection.

Young people matter. We, young people, matter because you can’t plan for the future and not involve us. Yet, in a world of adult concerns, young people are often sidelined. We, young people, can and should take action because we haven’t learned to fear, yet. Because we have the power. And because we are innovative, skillful and passionate.

“When I was younger, leadership was reserved to men with white hair on their heads,” Samar Mezghanni, a Tunisian-Iraqi writer and activist, said at the opening of the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2016. Well, the case is not very much different in many places around the world. That is what I may call the dilemma of the 2030 Agenda.

Ahmad Alhendawi - the UN’s Envoy on Youth - in his speech highlighted the most frequently made mistakes when it comes to youth. For example, he emphasized that youth are not the future, but the present. Young people are living among us today. They are activists, workers and consumers. They should be involved in politics, decision-making, economic and sustainable development.

Moreover, youth are fed up with talks. This world’s youth need investments. And if the world fails to see that an investment in 1.8 billion young human beings is a worthwhile investment, then I don’t know anymore what a good investment is.

One of my concerns is that in spite of all the attempts we are making to advance the youth’s role and involvement in the world, many young people are still left behind. Because we are failing to reach out to them. We can’t achieve any of the 2030 Agenda goals if we don’t allow a youthful spirit to take over. This can only be accomplished by working with youth and not just for them.

Finally, what scares youth the most is not the lack of commitments. What scares them the most, is seeing powerful people in charge making commitments but failing to fulfill them.

On behalf of all youth I say: “I’m a youth. I’m skillful. I can learn fast. I have innovative ideas and a mountain of future plans to contribute to my country’s and the world’s development. I have leadership skills and I’m not afraid to take my chances. I’m a change maker and I want to make change happen.”

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