From June 2-3, the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) organized a forum for youth organizations and young delegates to voice their opinions about ways to complete the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) before 2015 as well as visions for the U.N.’s post-2015 agenda.
The MDGs were set by the U.N. in 2000 and include eight goals based around eliminating poverty, such as reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, attaining a worldwide standard of primary education and halving extreme poverty levels, all by the target date of 2015.
With the target year fast approaching, the U.N. has already started formulating its next development strategy, and the discussions that emerged in the Youth Forum held earlier this week are valuable contributions to the debates.
Employment opportunities for youth were the center of one of the Forum’s discussions. Jobs in rising sectors like information technology were highlighted as areas with the potential to create many jobs for youth, with an additional focus in creating jobs that use sustainable development practices to help end global poverty.
Why focus on youth to help develop the post-2015 agenda?
Young people have just as much, if not more, potential to help realize development goals as innovative and inspired citizens.
Even though youth are always impacted by policy decisions, the demographics of the world we live in today call for a heavier emphasis on the next generation of leaders.
A U.N. report stated, “With half the world’s population under the age of 25, the current generation of youth is the largest ever, and specific targets focused on youth should be integrated into any future development framework.”
More than any other time in history, youth should have a say in future policy discussions. It is today’s generation of youth that will be carrying out the post-2015 U.N. development agenda and living in a post-2015 world; listening to their concerns should be a priority.
Martin Sajdik, the president of ECOSOC, said, “Youth are not only the future of tomorrow – youth are leaders, entrepreneurs, students, workers, care-givers and problem solvers of today.”
Hopefully the U.N. will continue to involve youth in discussions about its future development agenda, as young people have fresh ideas and the enthusiasm needed to end poverty in their lifetimes.
— Emily Jablonski