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A Map to a brighter future: new UN report

16. 01. 2015

A report published recently by the United Nations, which aims to support governments in preparing to negotiate the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, recognises the key role of young people in the process.

The United Nations’ Secretary-General’s synthesis report: The road to dignity by 2030: Ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet, brings together different areas of the post-2015 process. It aims to jumpstart negotiations on Post-2015, before finalising an agreement in September. The report focuses on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and brings together the work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the process leading towards post-2015.

The report sets out six essential elements for the delivery of the SDGs: dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnership. The Secretary-General makes it clear that young people must help drive the sustainable development agenda to 2030 saying that they are the “torchbearers of the next sustainable development agenda.” The report goes on to note that: “it should now be recognised that no society can reach its full potential if whole segments of that society, especially young people, are excluded from participating in, contributing to or benefitting from development (…) the agenda must accommodate the voices of women, youth and minorities (…) remove obstacles to full participation by persons with disabilities, older persons, adolescents and youth (…)”

The Secretary-General emphasises the importance that should be placed on adolescents and youth, in the context of ‘leaving no-one behind’. The Secretary-General says that, “the realities of 1.8 billion youth and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed, and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda, will be a key factor for success.”

The report shines light on the development gaps left by the MDGs including the importance of decent work for young people. It highlights the need to build on these gaps, as well as some areas, where the goals were not achieved and where more work is needed.

Whilst the Youth Forum welcomes the recognition by the Secretary-General of the important role of young people within the post-2015 process, but it would be good to see more detail on how young people will be an integral part of it. The six essential elements composing the framework of the agenda are, of course, positive, but they lack clarity. We look forward to working closely with other youth organisations and stakeholders to help develop further the post-2015 sustainable development agenda throughout the coming months of intergovernmental negotiations.

You can see the full report here.