European Youth cries out: Sustainable Development Goals ambitious, but lack focus on youth

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The member states of the United Nations have this week agreed on ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, but youth has been neglected in the adopted document.

The post-2015 outcome document was adopted on Monday after intense negotiations and plenary sessions at the UN headquarters in New York. The Heads of State and high-level representatives are expected to adopt this document, which will provide a new framework for sustainable development for the next 15 years, in September at the UN Summit.

The European Youth Forum welcomes the ambitious proposal, which is an agreement on a universal, interlinked agenda that applies to all countries and brings together the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Its core aims – to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty, reduce inequality, achieve gender equality, improve water management and energy, and take urgent action to combat climate change should help to improve millions of lives – will help ensure the future of our planet for forthcoming generations.

It is disappointing, however, that the document does not prioritise young people and their rights. In fact, there is no clear reference to youth. Furthermore, member states failed to include very strong commitments for follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Whilst the Sustainable Development Goals outcome document should lead to significant improvements at national, regional and global level. There is still some work still to be done on the indicators framework and on pushing for implementation by Member States.

Joan Conca Domenech, Vice President of the European Youth Forum, comments:

With over half of the world’s population under the age of 30, now is the moment for world leaders to prioritise young people! Whilst we are pleased to see an ambitious universal development agenda, we call on UN Member States to prioritise youth in the final negotiations.

“The responsibility is now on world leaders; the success of the Sustainable Development Goals will depend on each and every country implementing them fully. We call on Member States to go beyond the simple adoption of the document and to make commitments for adequate support, resources, and attention to maintaining permanent, and self­organised spaces for the participation of young people within policy processes at all levels.”

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