Recently, the ECOSOC Youth Forum concluded at the UN Headquarters in New York. Keeping this in mind, Mr Ravi Karkara (Co-Chair of WorldWeWant 2030 and Senior Adviser to the Assistant Secretary General, UN Women) and Mr Rohith Porhukuchi (Founder & President of Verdentum, Policy Specialist to the UN Human Settlements Program, and Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School ) wrote an interesting piece on how the youth can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, are an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets. The Goals are contained in paragraph 54 United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015.
In the piece entitled “Youth Perspective: Youth Action Guide on the SDGs”, Karkara and Porhukuchi essentially provides a guide to the youth, towards the achievement of the SDGs. Here, I briefly discuss what they have to say about each of the SDG and how the youth of the world can get involved in this. Let us look at each SDG one by one
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere- The writers say that young people can create awareness through traditional and progressive media, including social media. They can also write blogs, focusing on youth and poverty as well as youth in poverty.
SDG 2: End Hunger Achieve Food Security and Improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture- To achieve this goal, young people can get involved in their local communities by raising awareness about food security, participating in food drives, and helping support food programs at homeless shelters through volunteer activities.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages- For this, the writers suggest that the youth can start by learning more about health and sanitation, and taking precautionary measures to avoid spreading of diseases, as well as teaching these precautionary measures in their communities.
SDG 4: Ensure Inclusive and equitable quality education and promote learning opportunities for all- Students can encourage their peers to attend school, especially those from marginalized groups, and spread awareness on the importance of education in their community.
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls- There are many advocacy campaigns on gender based issues which the youth can join.
SDG 6: Ensure available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all-Young people can work with their local bodies to post signs next to water bodies, wells, and other water sources asking individuals not to pollute or waste water. The writers say that students can also implement rain harvesting at their homes and schools.
SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all- Young people can participate in setting up solar panels on their roofs and in their schools and universities.
SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all- The writers say that the youth can organize job fairs and workshops to help their peers sharpen skills necessary to be more employable in the market.
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation – Students can get involved with entrepreneurship incubators and platforms to push their ideas ahead.
SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries – Students can increase their exchange and dialogue with one another and foster peace and understanding. Students can collaborate on projects internationally that allow them to help build a sense of harmony between cultures.
SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable- The youth can create a hotline for individuals to call during late night hours to ensure safety and a ready group of volunteers to respond in case of an emergency or contact officials.
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns- Youth can start a compost project in their house or school to ensure that food does not go wasted. Youth can take up organic farming projects as well, attempting to reduce chemical usage in production and improve production and consumption patterns.
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts- Youth can start by carpooling and measuring and reducing energy consumption in their homes and schools. They can also join campaigns.
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development- Youth can petition to reduce over-fishing and pollution of water.
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss- Youth can organize local campaigns to reduce deforestation and can organize tree-plantations with indigenous varieties of plant life.
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels – Students can organize legal clinics with local lawyers to help members of society that require legal aid, especially members of marginalized and under-served communities.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals: Students can participate in UN surveys pertaining to the SDGs.
What I really liked about this piece is that it gave very concrete suggestions, aimed directly at the young people of the world, who will inherit the world, so to speak. It also provided ample resources and links to websites which can be useful for the youth. The youth of any country are one of the main drivers of change, and it is important for them to be mobilized in an effective and efficient manner, for countries and societies to really prosper and grow.
The full article can be accessed here
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