Youth Perspectives: Millennium Development Goals
“MDGs are really youth development goals”. - Oliver Felix, Swiss Youth Delegate
On the closing day of the UN’s High Level Meeting on Youth, I was able to attend the side event titled: Millennium Development Goals today and tomorrow ‐ youth perspectives on the MDGs and post‐2015 agenda. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the British Youth Council, Swiss Youth Delegate and the UN Volunteers comprised the panel. Ms. Bernadette Fischler, from WAGGGS, moderated the event. The panelists discussed, from a youth perspective, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), where we are now and where we go beyond 2015.
Snapshot of the MDGs:
In 2000, all the countries in the United Nations agreed on 8 goals; ranging from issues such as reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty by half to providing universal education
Most ambitious goals the UN has ever set
Goals are to be achieved by 2015
Find the full list of MDGs here: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/bkgd.shtml
Each of the panelists spoke around three ideas: why young people should be involved in the MDGs; recommendations on how to achieve the MDGs; and what can and should happen after 2015. All of the panelists agree that the MDGs cannot be achieved without the full, integrated participation of youth in the strategy moving forward.
Why young people should be involved?
Young people are those most affected by the development issues. One example given by the British Youth Council was around MDG #5, improve maternal health. Medical complications related to pregnancy are the number one leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19, who are mostly in developing countries.
What recommendations do youth have to achieve the MDGs by 2015?
Given that approximately half of the world’s population is under the age of 25, it is vital that young people participate in policy making on both a national and international level. Oliver Felix, from the Swiss Youth Delegation, stressed the need for good governance and global partnerships in order to achieve the goals by 2015. WAGGGS pointed to the need to recognize the role of non-formal education to help bridge the gap between those who have access to formal education and those who do not.
What can and should happen after the MDGs?
Each panelist stressed the importance of improved dialogue between youth and leaders. The British Council made the point that instead of asking the same questions we have been asking for years, it is time to focus on action. Young people from around the world are active and leaders, governments and organizations need to get involved with the youth. Also, the United Nations, civil society and youth need to start planning now for what happens beyond 2015.
How do YOU think young people can help reach the Millennium Development Goals?